Does anyone remember the old miniseries V from back in the 80’s? The one where aliens quietly invade the planet, pretending to want to make the planet “great,” starting with promises and slowly changing the promises to demonizing scientists, controlling the media, putting out all kinds of “alternative facts” to keep Earth’s population satisfied and subdued under a Nazi-like totalitarian regime that kept the citizens blind to the growing danger?

Yeah, me too. In fact lately, for some COMPLETELY MYSTERIOUS reason, I’ve been obsessed with it. So obsessed I actually have almost finished an old fan fiction piece I started years ago. (Don’t laugh so hard. Fan fiction is good practice for writers. Not only that, it’s a good place to play with different ideas, characters, and plot points to see if they work.)

Amid researching pistols, knives, and jeeps from the 70s and 80s (yup, I go that far, even just for fan fiction published anonymously on line with no real benefit to me other than that listed above), I realized something. I realized that I am truly, honestly frightened. The staff picks, the executive orders being fired like bullets from a machine gun, some dangerous, some heartbreaking, some that sound good on the surface (and those I want to study much, much deeper), and some that seemed to be done just because.

Staff picks that seemed designed to interfere with civil rights were all over the place. Look them up; minorities, the LGBTQ community, women, there are people on that staff against everyone but upper class white—very white, or sometimes more pumpkin-hued—males.

There are several issues I could mention that make me nervous. Personal attacks on Twitter (um, really? Yeah, that’s so encouraging in someone who’s supposed to be leading the country.) Abortion (not a black and white issue people, no matter how hard you try). Walls (don’t get me started on the stupidity of that mess).

But I want to keep this short, or I will be writing this post for the next year.

So what has me scared?

I thought it was horrifying when the media block on the EPA was announced. Controlling the information available to the United States population? That is something done by a totalitarian regime, a dictator. He shouts about “fake news,” but what he attacks are scientific facts. Yup, makes a lot of sense to me. Sure. Not.

Yeah, that one made me nervous. Putting a block on scientific information because you don’t like it, that’s exactly what the Visitors did. Controlling the media, that’s exactly what the Visitors did. I won’t even go into the Hitler/Nazi parallels, because that just makes me want to cry. Or scream and throw things, which isn’t good when the only things around me are my desk, my chair, and my computer. Guess which one I can lift?

But now. The immigration ban. I cannot. I just cannot. I don’t even know what I cannot, I’m so struck numb. To stop refugees who risked their lives staying where they were, risked their lives trying to leave, to come to our shores, OUR shores, AMERICA, where we actually SAY “give me your huddled masses,” in a simple attempt to LIVE . . . unconscionable. Ugly, Disgusting.

It’s supposedly not “technically” a ban on Muslims. Uh-huh. Well, it’s not a ban on ALL Muslims. If he (come on, don’t make me say his name) has a business interest in your country (I won’t even TOUCH the fact that he ISN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE ANY), you’re good, predominantly Muslim or not.

Vetting immigrants? Okay, I can work with that. But it has to be ALL immigrants, because NOT ALL TERRORISTS ARE MUSLIM AND NOT ALL MUSLIMS (strike those last three words) NO REAL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS. And there has to be an emergency rush, or waiver. People shouldn’t have to die because we’re afraid of them. They just shouldn’t.

Families should also not be kept apart, people held in airports when they were already approved entry. This isn’t my America anymore. I had hope that we were learning, growing up, maturing into the ideals this country was founded on but has never managed to reach. Race inequality, gender inequality, sexual orientation inequality . . . for a while we seemed to be moving forward, leaving the hate behind and showing at least hints that we could work together and let this country reach it’s potential.

I shudder to think how far backwards we’ve come in a few months.

This country was founded on religious freedom, not religious oppression. It was founded on the very idea of the separation of church and state. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an Atheist. Yet to me the Bible (oh so heavily censored over the years, if it were re-translated more faithfully, most or all the references to homosexuality would be replaced by things that actually do harm, like pedophilia. But the Bible isn’t really where you get your bigoted ideas from, is it, now? Be honest. Funny how not a single person has been able to present a compelling argument showing me how someone else being gay, bi, trans, etc. hurts me. I have quite a few friends and a few family members who are, and it hasn’t hurt me, or converted me, or whatever it’s supposed to magically do, yet. But that’s an entirely different post.) the Quran, the Torah, or any of the assorted religious texts are the end-all-be-all of right and wrong. If those are our only guides to right and wrong, if our minds aren’t strong enough to accept the concept without the fear of some kind of Hell to keep us from evil, the whole world is screwed. As long as your religious practices do no harm to others (I’m staring hard at you, radical Christians), the laws of this country allow you to practice it, not abuse it. (You again, Christians.)

So. Getting off track, about writing, about this post, about everything. So I’m getting back on. America, I pray someday you can do the same.

At the moment, I’m expecting someone to pull his mask off and reveal the reptile beneath.


New Book

I had so many topics to write about for last week’s blog. So many I couldn’t decide. Family illness got in the way and instead of writing on my blog I spent those hours Saturday in the hospital waiting room and sitting in the awful chairs they put in the rooms for visitors. They are definitely trying to discourage people from staying too long.

So instead of trying to smash in everything I wanted to say, most of it having nothing to do with writing, I shall go back to my old trick of posting an excerpt. This is an excerpt from the first novel in my upcoming Sci-Fi series Starbird.

This is our first introduction to my favorite character in the series. I am considering a spinoff! Kidding. Mostly.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

A hush encased the room when she entered, but Lark ached too much to notice.  She simply sat at the nearest open table, rubbing her angry feet.

After a few minutes the stares began to burn into the back of her head and she glanced around, trying to be unobtrusive.  Men and women congregated in groups, dressed mostly in well-worn but sturdy khaki or olive green. The only real color came from the girls Lark assumed were waitresses or barmaids, who wore similar ethnic-looking dresses in every available hue. Judging from their surprised, less than welcoming expressions, this was not a tourist trap. One glanced at an older woman, who shrugged and nodded. Striding over to Lark’s confiscated table, she raised a disapproving eyebrow.  “Can I get you something?” she asked in perfect but nicely accented English.

Was being an American really that obvious? Yes, it probably was. “No, thanks,” Lark said, smiling nervously.

“You’ve got to have something or you can’t stay.”

“Oh.  Do you take American money?”

“Of course.”

Lark ignored the insulting tone, reaching for the wallet she was glad she’d thought to tuck in her vest pocket.

“All right.  I’ll have a club soda with a twist of lime, please.”

The server left with a grunt.

Lark paid the exorbitant ten dollars when the server returned, silently scathing as she set down the tiny glass.  Her stomach was churning from the smell of spicy food and alcohol mixed with not-very-subtle hostility.  She thought about leaving, but her feet grumbled at her.  Maybe she could find a map somewhere. If she could find her way back to the McDonald’s she’d noticed; the Jeremiah’s aura should lead her from there.

Yup, a map. That was the best idea she’d had so far. But first she needed a detour. Her eyes followed a large man into a small hallway at the back of the room. “Bathroom?” she asked the unfriendly server.

The woman scowled but gave a terse nod. Jumping up, Lark scuttled into the dark passageway.

The man had already disappeared. The first door she passed didn’t look promising, a heavy slab that seemed more suited to permanent closure than frequent use. She finally found what she was looking for behind a lighter door marked with the simple line drawing of a toilet.

Lark used the facilities with a grateful sigh. When she opened the door to leave, she almost ran into the man she’d followed, who was just exiting through the first fortress-like door.

Her eyes fell on the room behind him. She hadn’t intended to look, but a bright flash of gold caught the corner of her eye and pulled it in.

She pretended not to see the spotted skins, or the piles of tusks, teeth, and bone, or the assorted stuffed body parts in nearly every imaginable shade, keeping her step light and steady until a big tanned hand grabbed her upper arm.

Her eyes dragged themselves up to his, her face bloodless. He ran an unsteady hand through his dark blonde hair, face creased in a frown. “Bad timing, you. This way.”

His voice was slurred but his grip was sure. Lark was dragged into the restaurant and forced to sit back at her table.

The blonde sat beside her, another man with the nearly pure black complexion of the locals dropping on her other side. The blonde was a bit less intimidating, with glazed eyes under the shadow of his scruffy hair and smelling of strong liquor and sour milk.  The smaller—though not much smaller—man was frighteningly sober.  “So,” he said, his English as perfect and musical as the street vendor’s had been. “New here? On vacation?”

“Not . . . exactly,” Lark whispered.

“Sounds new to me,” the drunk one slurred.  “Thirsty, too.”

“Very thirsty,” the first man added.

“Looking for a nice place for a drink,” Lark agreed quickly, desperately wishing she could read auras more specifically; she knew neither man had anything good planned for her, and the ringleader, hard as she tried to concentrate on him, had an aura that kept close and tight to his body, someone used to keeping secrets.  She couldn’t guess what answer would be safest.  None, probably.

“Nice place,” the sober one repeated.  “Mm hm.  For more than a drink. Our boss is going to be real interested.  Come with us, please.”

“Interested?  Why?”

“You’ll be our guest until Mr. Brown gets back.  He’ll be interested in exactly what kind of drink you’re looking for, and from whom.”

“Let’s go,” the blonde said. Each man took an arm, lifting her from the chair.  The sober one gave her a jerk, making her gasp.  The gasp turned into a squeal when a small form fell from somewhere above and landed on his shoulder.  Sharp little teeth found his ear and he shrieked, batting at it.  The creature lost its perch and landed feet-first on the middle of the table.

Lark and the drunk leapt in opposite directions, both screaming in startled horror.  The rat, a huge representation of his species, bared wedge-shaped teeth.  Its nearly-naked tail scraped along the table as it scurried towards the blonde.  With another shriek, the man backed into the table behind him and fell, crushing the nearest chair under his bulk.

The rat looked at Lark.  She was frozen, waiting for it to leap and bite.  Instead, it blinked bright black eyes at her and sat up on its hind legs, nose twitching in a way that seemed very self-satisfied.

Lark glanced upwards at the ceiling beam it must have leapt from.  “Well, that was some jump, Sir Rat,” she said.  “I don’t approve of your methods, startled me too, you know, but thank you.”  She eyed the men, who were edging closer.  “What kind of establishment are you running?” she screamed at them, holding out her arm.  “Come on,” she whispered aside to the rodent.

The rat seemed to understand what she wanted and scrambled onto her shoulder.  Lark bolted.

“Get back here, you nutcase!” the not-so-drunk bellowed, lunging after her.

Lark couldn’t really argue the “nutcase” comment.  She had to wonder why she was talking to a verminous rodent, and not just talking to it, taking it with her.  She risked a glance in its direction; its gaze was curious and somehow thoughtful.  She wasn’t particularly afraid of rodents and despite its size, this one seemed more like the pet shop fancy rats she used to keep than the wild specimens she’d been taught to keep away from.  Its eyes were clear, its coat sleek and shiny, and the white splotch on its chest gleamed.  Perhaps it was the camaraderie of shared dislike for what was behind her.

The creature certainly smelled better than her pursuers, like clean kitchens and warm dough.  “Easy living, huh?” she panted.  “Hang on.  They’ll do worse to you than to me.”

Lark thought she wouldn’t have a problem outpacing the muscular men, but a hand caught her arm, pulling her to a stumbling halt.  It was the blonde, showing no sign of intoxication.  His partner was gone; either he’d fallen too far behind, or more likely was gathering reinforcements.

Gazing into her captor’s face, she tried to look brave, but there was nothing comforting about his ugly mug.  She thought he might be smiling but his face was too shadowed by his hat and coat collar to see very well.  Except for his eyes, and something about them made Lark want to scream.  She wished she’d paid closer attention to him in the tavern, when he’d seemed by far the lesser threat.  Not now.  His aura was . . . off.  The colors around him swirled in a dim, sickly pattern.  This man was far from well, and he really enjoyed his work.

“Come on.  I don’t have the patience for this.  Follow me.  It’ll go easier for you if you come willingly.”

“No,” Lark whispered.

“No?” the man repeated.  “You can’t say “no” tonight.  Especially not to me.”  He walked towards her and she matched him backwards step for step until she realized he was herding her into the dark entrance to an alley or side street.  She tried to dart around him, but he caught her arm in a steel grip and she saw the glint of a metal blade clutched in his opposite hand.  He slammed her into the rough wood of the nearest wall and held up what looked like a switchblade.  “You should have chosen my boss.  You’ll never say no again,” he whispered.

The rat on her shoulder tensed, digging his needle-tipped claws in for a fierce leap that sent him sailing onto the man’s chest, where he clung to the rough fabric of his kakhi vest, squealing wildly as he climbed to a better vantage point.

Shrieking, Lark pulled back a fist, punching the man full-force in the gut with her free hand.  The man grunted and bent double, his grip loosening enough to let her tear away.  Heaving himself the final few inches upwards, the rat scratched and bit ferociously at the back of the man’s neck.  Her attacker let out a howl, scrabbling to get his fist around the creature.

Grateful for the distraction and hoping it wouldn’t become a sacrifice, Lark ran for her life for the second time in a matter of hours.  No fair, she thought.  He’s even bigger and crazier than Tony.  An impact from behind sent her sprawling across the dirt and a scream exploded from her lips to echo off nearby walls, ringing back and forth across the street.  A heavy weight crashed on top of her, holding her down while strong fingers gripped the back of her shirt.  Her palms stung from their contact with the street and her breath was half gone, but the scream kept coming as the hands reached for her neck.

Throwing herself sideways, Lark almost managed to dislodge the man who straddled her hips, but he was too heavy and too powerful, holding her face to the ground and yanking at her collar to expose her throat.  In desperation she pulled herself up on her arms and rolled, throwing the man off balance.  She saw a small shape fall from his head and allowed herself a split second of relief that he hadn’t killed her little friend.  Raising one leg, she kicked as hard as she could when the madman lunged, catching him in the chest with enough force to knock most of the breath out of his lungs.  The man stopped, gasped, and bared his teeth at her, his vest flapping like great wings as he raised the knife . . .

Then another figure was there, dragging her assailant away.  Lark rose to her knees, ready to run again, feeling the rat hook his claws into her trousers to scurry onto her shoulder and hide under her hair, squeaking.  She saw her rescuer and his psychedelic aura at the same time as she caught his spicy scent, and could have cried.

Te hauled her attacker to his feet by the collar of his coat, snarling.  The dark and the shadow from the brim of his hat made his eyes look almost black. The man sneered back and slashed down with the switchblade, forcing Te to jump back.  The stranger hissed at them and fled.

Te tensed as if about to follow, paused, and turned instead to help Lark to her feet.  “I thought I told you to stay close. What were you trying to do, save the animals?” he said, pale and angry.

Lark’s jaw clamped tight. She might not be able to do anything, but others could. Turning, she tried to dart after the fleeing man.

Te caught her by the arm her attacker had already bruised.  She winced but tried to jerk away, her wild gaze aimed down the street as she struggled.

“Where do you think you’re going?” an exasperated Te cried.

“If I can get a name, something, I can report them . . .”

“How?”  Te yelled.  “Who would we tell?  The United States embassy? Oh, yes, wonderful idea. Get yourself arrested for illegal entry into a third-world country, no passport, no travel records, nothing. That doesn’t look suspicious, no, not at all. I won’t be able to get you out and neither will Melena since we’re all here illegally. I am on this planet illegally. Even if I trusted the Jeremiah enough to try landing him in a jail cell, you’ll be on lists. Lots of lists. You’d be found.”

Lark met Te’s accusing glare for only a moment before she dropped her eyes with a deep blush.  “You could have waited for me,” she whispered.

“You could have listened to me,” Te retorted.

It’s still in the editing stages so I can’t promise every word will stay the same, but this should be close to the final scene. Hope it was at least a little fun.

Carry on, all. Keep writing, keep reading, keep hoping. Peace, and goodnight fellow wordsmiths!

Image is the cover to my free short story, that link and others below.




Author Website (Enchantment’s Endgame) (Book two of this series coming out in the next few months)

Facebook page

I’m Baaa-aaaack

Wow, it’s been entirely too long. Perhaps not for you, but definitely for me. Discouragement is the only excuse I can offer, and I can’t even call it a poor one. Awful. Terrible. Horrible. No good. And more than that.

I can’t even use illness as an excuse as I am still somewhat ill. Perhaps injured is a better term. I can say, fellow writers and coffee addicts, that swallowing your coffee, despite what you might think, works better than breathing it. It does not work faster that way. Caffeine does not enter your bloodstream more quickly. It is truly most unpleasant. The doctor said it would take three weeks to clear out of my lungs and for the irritation and cough to quit. Of course that was before I caught a cold in said doctor’s waiting room. While wearing a mask and using sanitizer. So please be careful. My addiction tried to drown me. Beware the throat tickle while trying to swallow. Beware the cough-sneeze-whatever-it-was while your mouth is full of warm liquid.

Yet here I am after an embarrassingly long absence. And you thought you were rid of me. Bwahahahahahahahahah.

Cough cough cough coughcoughcough ahem ahem.

Perhaps it is the antidepressant giving me moments of feeling more like my real self. Truly people, if you are having problems, ask your doctor for help. It is a treatable condition, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Nor is it the “nothing” that so many people think it is. If you are too paralyzed to live your life, please, please, don’t just tell yourself you’re weak, or that you’ll “snap out of it,” or “it’s just the blues.” I still have work to do, but taking that first step has already helped, and I’m back to the indie writer’s fight.

Okay, that’s enough lecturing for one blog. But I do mean it.

Not that I’m not still discouraged. To sell books, you need to promote. To promote, you either need to pay for advertising or (in too many cases for the free options) have a minimum number of reviews. To get reviews you need to promote. To afford paid advertising I need to sell books. To get enough reviews to qualify for free promotion, I need to promote. Can I scream yet?

I know, I know, stop whining, shut up, get out there. Not easy for a confirmed introvert. There’s a reason I’m a writer. My fingers are much more fluent than my tongue. Calling me socially awkward is . . . hmm, pretty accurate, actually. Selling myself is even worse than selling my books. My first assumption is always that a new acquaintance will not like me. I try telling myself “hey, you have friends, so obviously that’s not true,” but I’m not good at taking my own advice. So getting involved in guest blogging and such things is less than easy. Also, it feels like I’m being pushy and begging to try and ask. I’m also not exactly on the physically attractive side of the social fence, so the planned “official” author portrait I’m planning terrifies me. I like being behind the camera lens, not in front.

Yeah, I need a publicist. One that will work for a percentage of royalties. I know I’m not the worst writer, or even near the bottom of the list, but a salesperson I’m not. Dammit, Jim, I’m a writer, not a professional advertiser! All right, that didn’t come out as amusing as I’d hoped.

Anywayseywhoo (oh yes, I am coming off the caffeine hard and fast), I will leave you with those thoughts. Complaints. Observations. Whatever you like to call them. Goodnight, dear fellow readers and writers, and please remember what I said. If you are struggling yourself or know someone who is.

Love to all!
And links to follow, including for a free short story!

Book Links

Free Short Story

Another Excerpt and a Bit of Preaching

Hello again my few but faithful followers. Followers, ha, it makes me sound like some cultish priestess in a B-rated fantasy. Bwahahaha hack hack cough wheeze.


Well, after my last rather snarky post, it’s time to get back to the writing. It seems it no longer costs money to create an author page on Amazon, so I have been actually engaged in pursuits beyond my rather slow typing. I only wish I could find a way to make me seem more exciting.

Which is why this blog is not about me. It is another scene from the sequel to Magic’s Guardian, The Hunt, though it features some familiar characters. It’s a sequel after all, with an overarching story arc that will involve all, so they had to make an appearance. Besides, I missed Puck.

Court life was slow, stuck in a season of late spring blooming with flowers and fruit and honey. Days consisted of gathering food, the few chores not accomplished by magic, and practicing to control her powers. After—how long had she been here now? She couldn’t remember, not that time was always a sensible thing here—even with Maclyn at her side, Terra was growing a little restless.
In a moment she was wishing for the quiet peace. She winced when the Circle crackled, flashes sparking across the shifting colors. A rumble too rhythmic for thunder made her stiffen. The bear stirred and a low growl whispered from between her lips.
Puck grabbed her arm and shook his head, his eyes on the Circle where a massive black horse and an equally massive rider materialized.
Terra wasn’t happy to see the helmeted, leather-clad figure who dismounted, but she was held back from her instinct to attack not by Puck’s hand or Maclyn’s murmured warning, but by the tattered bundle the big man cradled so tenderly in one tree-sized arm.
“Please,” he said as Oberon and Titania joined them. “Please, I request the services of your Healer. I will pay whatever price she sets.”
Rosebud turned to leave but Thistledown and Lomas were already hurrying towards them.
“Please, she’s badly hurt,” the huntsman said, sounding breathless.
Even confronted with the sight of the limp woman he held, the words prickled Terra’s anger to life. “Why would we help a bloodthirsty barbarian like you?” she hissed. She ignored Titania’s raised eyebrow and Maclyn’s hasty nudge. “After what you did to the gryphon and her family . . .”
“Family?” The hunter’s brow wrinkled. “We never saw her family. We trapped her after finding her alone.”
“But she showed us her memories. They were slaughtered.”
“Not by us, I swear it. Even at his worst the Huntmaster wouldn’t do such a thing.” He frowned. “The other Court assured us they had no intention of harming the beast.”
“That may have been true, by your definition of harm, but she fought with us. They killed her,” Maclyn told him, deathly cold.
“Things get worse,” the hunter muttered. “You have no reason to believe me, but I am truly sorry. She was a worthy opponent and a magnificent creature who did nothing to bring about her fate. But please,” he said, holding his bundle tighter. “She had no part of what happened. She fell and her leg was crushed by a boulder. She lay there alone for . . .” he shuddered and shook himself. “She’ll die without help.”
Oberon and Titania stayed silent. Terra’s eyes kept falling to the sad figure hanging limp in his arms. “Maybe, Your Majesties, just once . . .” She withdrew under their glare.
Hooves pounded the ground so hard they all felt the impacts. Flyght skidded to a halt beside Terra, Tempest and Puck’s usual partner Desert Willow flanking her. /She must not die!/ Flyght said, rearing and squealing.
Oberon crossed his arms. “The Hunt is not welcome here,” he said, growling almost as darkly as Terra.
“May I speak to your Healer?” the hunter asked, bowing to Thistledown.
Titania glanced in the Healer’s direction. Thistledown nodded.
“Speak,” Titania said.
“I offer an Obligation,” he said. “An unnamed Obligation.”
“That could be a high price. I could ask anything,” Thistledown whispered.
“I know. I will pay it, anything in my power.”
“It’s up to you. If you want to accept his payment, you may,” Titania told her.
We need to hurry,” Thistledown said decisively, looking relieved.

So my old friends haven’t been abandoned yet. I’m sure this, and every other scene, will have some heavy editing before it sees the public eye, but it gives you an idea about the depth of feeling Aidyn is only starting to see from the big guy. I know, I know, awww how romantic. I have been told in no uncertain terms that my stuff is “chick lit,” and I’m okay with that. I’m a chick after all, even if not a very girly one most of the time.

So keep writing, keep looking for that publishing deal, and never stop, and above all don’t let anyone tell you, especially another author, to stop writing. Yes, that still bothers me. Rude, unethical, and stupidly self limiting since practically every professional author will tell you one of the best ways to learn to write is to READ, READ, READ. Which has never been a problem for me, or any of the writers I personally know. I think it’s natural for a writer to start as a reader.

All right, enough of the soap box today. Have a good night my readers, writers, publishers, agents, whatever part you play in the world of books is important. Remember that.

As usual, I almost forgot my links.
Book through Barnes and Noble:
Book through Amazon:
Free Short Story: