Friday, September 21, 2012

Snippet at 60%: THE HEALER'S KISS

At just over 60,000 words, the "The Healer's Kiss" is accelerating to the point where every scene is bringing a surprise. Some of them are even about other members of the crew.

The new lieutenant, Seta Trax, is an energy empath and a tracker. She has gotten quite suspicious about Malachi. In the snippet scene that follows, she has sought him out to ask some questions that have been on her mind. Malachi finds her confusion amusing, but he tries to be polite and not laugh at everything she says.

His kindness is partly because he knows Lieutenant Seta Trax's future is linked to the destiny of the rest of the Liberator's crew. But he also needs to stay in her good graces for other reasons as well. Hope you enjoy the snippet.

Excerpt from Chapter 14

As they stepped in the hall, Seta looked up expecting to see derision, but was met with a surprisingly neutral gaze. “I don’t understand this empathetic response you evoke in me. It’s like we’re from the same family or something. And I am also curious as to why you seem to evoke quite a different reaction in my dual birth sibling. Rena and I tend to share our opinions of most males.”

Malachi made a face trying hard not to grin as the thought of their discussions. How he wished he had hidden in their room as mist and listened.

“So you and Rena talk about me?” he asked.

Seta snickered. “Do not sound so hopeful. It was only in passing. Rena mostly refuses. You disturb her equilibrium.”

Malachi laughed at Seta’s word choice. How disturbed could he possibly make Rena feel? She had the power to bind him to Conor's form and make him feel physical pain. He was the one that should be disturbed. Yet ironically, the control he feared most was the one where Rena's presence fueled his lustful thoughts and made him willing to risk his host body for a taste of her.

“That seems only fair, Lieutenant. Rena disturbs my equilibrium as well,” Malachi remarked, uncaring if it sounded as sarcastic as he felt.

“I find your interest in Rena most fascinating. Most males turn away from her intense spirit which can spread itself over a whole ship. If you or the other intuitives on the Liberator have noticed an energy shift, it may very well be Rena causing it,” Seta said with a shrug. “Captain Warro didn’t like her being on the Paladin. He said she carried a vengeful spirit, despite her spiritual work.”

Malachi laughed again. He couldn’t help it. “Well, the Liberator is full of spiritually awakened people. Some are just as intense as Rena. In fact, being in a state of energy flux is a fairly normal occurrence around here.”

“Do you consider yourself a spiritual being, Medic? Do you—for example—adhere to the myth of the ‘creators of all’? Rena is adamant that they are real beings, or once were. She describes them as universal forces. I continue to believe they are largely myth,” Seta said.

Malachi laughed harder, even though he knew his constant smiling and laughing might be misconstrued as getting a little too friendly. It was difficult to restrain himself when the female in her innocence was so amusing. He found himself actually regretting what Liam and Ania planned to do that would erase that blissfully ignorant, but very appealing child-like state from her.

“I’m afraid I have to admit to sharing Rena’s beliefs in the creators. You may tell her I said so if you wish. Perhaps it might change her attitude towards me a little,” Malachi said, unable to hold back his smile.

“So politely put, Medic. I can tell you are interested,” Seta stated firmly. “Rena may choose not to notice, but I prefer to deal with the truth.”

“Yes—I can see that about you, Lieutenant,” Malachi said, smiling genuinely at the younger woman.

Watching her spirit stretch out to test trusting those around it was in itself a kind of marvelous process. Test a person by asking for a truth, and then pull away before an unpleasant answer was shared. It was what all creatures did and promptly reminded him of his own efforts in trusting Ania. Caught in his own philosophical web, Malachi could only laugh at himself.

“Forgive my laughter, Lieutenant. Your youthful view of us all is very refreshing. You remind me of Commander Jet at times like this,” Malachi said easily.

“Your words hide things. You speak as calmly as Rena, but I sense great anger resides within you. I commend you for your control in maintaining a serene countenance though. When I have such anger within, I tend to erupt and destroy things around me. Rena says I was cursed with a bad temper after our father sold us,” Seta said, wondering again why her father’s actions had ceased to appall her. Instead, talking of her father’s actions always felt like she was repeating a story about a stranger.

“Yes. I can understand why being sold by your parent might prompt you to be upset,” Malachi said dryly, watching the female struggle with her confusion.

Strolling by the larger male’s side, Seta noted the medic’s energy did not feel like other males felt to her. There was something different, some missing aspect of normal masculinity, but also some additional constraint on what he exuded. He was, oddly enough, similar to Rena in that regard.

“My instincts cannot come to a consensus about your nature, but I do not need my intuition to know you are much more than what you seem,” Seta stated firmly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ghost Philosophy? Check out Jesse V. Coffey

Fellow author Jesse V Coffey and I met in 2011 when she read my free contemporary romance book. In her own writing, I've discovered Jesse is very eclectic in matters of genre and form. However, I didn't know until this year that she is a huge science fiction, horror, paranormal, and fantasy fan, as well as writer of it. Her latest book release is a ghost story that I'm happy to feature here as the first of hopefully many guest author posts.

You can find out more about Jesse at her website:
She also hosts the Edin Road Radio blog.

Book Description

Nothing like being the "new kid on the slab," as Rip Porter quickly finds out when a robbery goes wrong. Thanks to four shots from a policeman's gun, he wakes up in the The Final Glory Cemetery, home to an assortment of ghosts, ghouls, and poltergeists. No sooner is Rip interred than he finds his final resting place isn't as restful as the brochures would lead him to believe, thanks to his rather different neighbors.

Meet Nattie Birnbaum, Rip's erstwhile Guardian; Gracie, the Welcome Committee of one; Chester, the checkers champ and resident in charge of the comings and goings of the residents. It's a cozy neighborhood and Rip is going to find out how he can fit in. Welcome, Rip Porter, to the first day of the rest of your death.

Excerpt from SALT OF THE EARTH
Buy From Amazon

"Uh huh," Rip answered, pretending to understand what the hell this coot was talking about. "Well, it's been a real trip, old boy, but I'm outa here."

"Hmm. Well, no, I don't think so."

It was enough to stop Rip in his tracks. "What do you mean?"

"Well, that's what I do," the codger answered, more smoke puffed as he spoke. "See, being your guardian angel, it's my job to explain the rules before you get welcomed, meet the folks."

"Explain . . . rules?"

"Rules, son. We have to have a few rules, an image to maintain. You're in one of the best haunted cemeteries in New England."

For a brief moment, Rip felt as if his eyes were going to bug out of his head. It was really funny, in a way – he'd always heard the expression, but couldn't quite picture it. He didn't have to anymore. He could feel it.

"Haunted . . . ceme— ceme—"

"Cemetery." The old fart had the nerve to grin at him, the cigar still billowing the smoke clouds. "The Final Glory Cemetery, to be precise."

There it was. No denying it any longer. The reason he had no wounds, the white room. If he'd still been breathing, he'd have heaved a huge sigh of annoyance. As it was, he only uttered the epithet.


"No, just a certain amount of compost for the flowers," the old fart answered with another blinking grin. "You know, I don't like to brag, but we have the best gardens of any bone yard in the whole state."

Rip shook his head. "You gotta be kiddin' me. Please say you're kiddin' me."

"About the gardens? I never kid about gardens. Or flowers. I love flowers. Beautiful things, lovely smells."

Rip rolled his eyes. "Look, I ain't dead. Okay? It ain't happenin'."

"Oh, you're dead all right," the old man answered cheerfully. "Hell of an end, too. Blam-blam-blam-blam in the chest. Four slugs, a bit messy. Lovely funeral. Nice family you got."

"Shit," Rip answered.

"And this lovely girl sang that Ave Maria. Shubert, not the Gounod. Not a big fan of the Gounod. Now Shubert, he knew how to make an Ave Maria."

"Oh, God."

"Loved that movie. That nice young John Denver person. And God, what a character!"

Rip could only nod. For a dead man, he was working up a hell of a nauseous state—

"It's not nauseous, son. You're dead. You don't get nauseous."

Rip tossed a dirty look to the coot. "Stop diggin' in my head, old fart!"

The old man waggled his cigar and took a few more puffs, a mischievous look on his face. "Now. You're in a very respectable non-denominational cemetery, son. Means none of that solid dickering over whose God is the best or any of that silliness. We all believe as we believe and we're dead together in peace. Which means, you should forgive me saying so, but we want you should have rules to die by."

Rip looked into the brown, mirthful eyes. "Wait, wait! Who the hell are you?"

"Rule number one, that's your home. When you're not out in the neighborhood, you're in your home. Simple. That's where you stay dead. We try to give a little of the comforts of home, but you'll be able to decorate however you want."

"Wait, how do I—?"

"Rule number two, remember that we are a haunted cemetery. You'll be expected to spook the odd make out artist and gravestone rubber. The tourists expect that and we don't like to disappoint the little darlings. Remember, they are our bread and butter. So to speak."


"Rule number three, you're expected to do a little community service while you're here. You'll want to move on eventually, but for now, this is where you lay your bones and you need to give a little back to the community." The self-styled guardian angel tipped a wink, adding, "We'll discuss how you can do that after you've settled in, met your neighbors."

Rip stared openly, managing a weak nod.

"Rule number four, your counselor will be by to set up your therapy." The aged face turned grave. "Seriously, son – and I cannot stress this enough – for you to move on to your final reward, you need to go to counseling." He gave a friendly wink. "You'll thank me later."

Rip nodded again. "What . . . when . . . how . . . who . . . ?"

Suddenly, there came the sounds of voices from every direction. Rip watched as diaphanous bodies rose up from the stones and crypts, each one talking or laughing. He heard voices calling out names of friends, who answered with cheery hellos. There came an "Oh, Trudy," from one corner, and a "quick, Marvin, guess what I heard," from another.

"Holy Mother of God," Rip muttered, staring wildly around him.

His eyes came back to rest on the old man, who seemed to be waiting patiently. When he had Rip's full attention, he took the cigar out of his mouth. With a grin, he doffed the fishing hat from his head and gave a deep bow. When he stood again, he walked over and put an arm around Rip's shoulders. With hat in hand, he gestured to the crowd beginning to walk their way.

"Son, my name is Nattie Birnbaum. I am your guardian angel and this is our neighborhood. Welcome home, Robert Isaac Porter. It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Snippets at 30%: THE HEALER'S KISS

So I'm 42,000 words into THE HEALER'S KISS and having a blast with what is happening in the story right now. Boca is being trained for the mission, but is having some issues. For starters, Dorian is trying to get to let go of her anger and fear so she can meditate.

“Ensign Ador--your spiritual issues will not be resolved by hiding out in my meditation room paralyzed by your own inaction. You should be asking yourself why the Creators would compel the non-committing Greggor male so strongly to mate with you when it is well known Chiang does want such an alliance. He persists in his unnatural celibacy because he fears you will reject him if he seeks relief from other females. Now I am not saying his lack of ease is your responsibility—” 

Dorian stopped, laughed, and reconsidered. 

“Well, actually I am saying it’s your responsibility. You can ease each other without a full mating. Sirens are the not the only ones who can do this. Sumerians are just as capable, but you must learn to think more clearly about your situation in order to see the divine truths in it.”

“I cannot do as you suggest. Chiang will not stop at partial bonding. I have sensed it,” Boca choked out. “I cannot--will not take the risk of permanently binding myself to another controlling male. You might as well put my controller back in another Lotharian owner as for me to even partially mate with Chiang.”

“That is your fear talking. The Greggor cannot not control you if you don’t let him,” Dorian said easily. “No male can.”

Boca pulled herself up until she was stiff as a board. “I am trying to hear you as a spiritual teacher. It is very hard. What exactly are you suggesting I do?”

“Make a bonding agreement and insist he keep it,” Dorian advised. “Then end his celibacy and yours. Give yourselves some peace in this one matter at least. But I warn you that if you are true mates, vibrational sharing will only soothe a short while. You will both need and crave the full physical connection. It will become an even bigger distraction than you feel now.”

“What if I cannot bring myself to make an agreement with him?” Boca asked.

“Then I believe you will fail on this mission. Ensign Karr is not experienced enough to handle himself among arrogant Lotharian males who view females as objects to own. In his training, Chiang wore a Xendrin collar for a long time. He understands how it is to be both slave and master,” Dorian said sincerely.

“But how can I trust him?” Boca exclaimed, too irritated to still her tongue or her thoughts. “Males say whatever is needed to get what they want. No male in my experience has treated me differently.”

“If you cannot face the Greggor’s affectionate ownership of you bravely, you will never succeed in facing the Lotharians more sinister one again. Do you not see? Fear of Chiang is an emotional mirror of your captivity—and I suspect of your previous mating as well,” Dorian said finally, speaking the truth he hoped she was ready to admit. “I don’t think Lotharius was the first time you were treated as a sexual slave. What say you to that charge, Ensign?”

And Gwen, who knows full well the kind of mission returning to Lotharius is likely going to be, isn't happy with Boca getting beat up by the ensigns all the time.

“Bring them back. I can handle another hour of fighting,” Boca said.

Gwen shook her head. “No, you can’t. I admire your perseverance. It shows you’re a natural survivor. This isn’t about your physical strength giving out, even though I know damn well you’re ready to collapse. Stop trying to fool me because it isn’t happening. This is not about acting like a warrior, but rather about truly being one.”

“What must I do then?” Boca demanded. “Give me a task to improve myself. I intend to go to Lotharius. I am capable.”

“What would happen if Chiang walked in here right now and yelled at you?” Gwen demanded.

Boca’s gaze went immediately to the door. When she moved it back to Gwen, the female was shaking her head.

“That reaction is exactly what I mean. There are all kinds of fear,” Gwen told her. “And we both know just how bad it hurts is to be strapped to the wiring table while they poke wires through you and listen to your screams of pain.”

Boca nodded and looked away.

“Yeah, the wires hurt, but they weren’t half as bad as not being able to stop them from removing Zade’s energy from me. It was the mental and emotional violation that caused the most damage. All I have left from the wiring torture is a scar on my thigh, but I hold a clear memory of myself weeping over Zade,” Gwen said.

“But they did not break you. You were cursing the doctor when we rescued you,” Boca declared.

“I guess that depends on your definition of broken. They broke me mentally because I wasn’t strong enough to deal. I wept over Zade full of regret because I was still in damn denial over our mating when they captured me,” Gwen explained. “The Lotharians will destroy you because you have nothing inside you strong enough to survive that process. If you have to endure the process of having Chiang’s energy removed from you, you’d go right back to being the victim you were when first captured.”

“With all due respect, I must disagree with your assessment,” Boca said, hoping her voice didn’t sound as unsure to Gwen as it did to her. “I survived the removal of Rogan’s energy. I would survive losing Chiang’s, especially since I never wanted to share his in the first place. It would be easier this time, not harder.”

“I think that’s a bunch of Klageldon dung. I also think Chiang is the reason you can’t fight. You better show me something different tomorrow,” Gwen informed her. “If you don’t, I’m damn well asking Synar to send Ambassador Onin instead, no matter how much I detest her.”

“But Commander. . .” Boca began, only to stop when Gwen held up her hand.

“Our discussion is over, Ensign,” Gwen said firmly. “Fix your energy before you return to my mat. Dismissed. Now get out of here while I work off some steam of my own.”

Okay. I hoped you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the first half of the book. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go help Boca get a good night's sleep. She's going to need some serious help. Tomorrow, the crew is getting tattoos. Oh, and the new lieutenant has arrived. Yeah, that sure didn't turn out like I thought it would.

Maybe I will post a couple more snippets later. Let me know if you're interested.