Once a week, every Tuesday, an excerpt from one of my books, chosen for no special reason.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

from The Enchantress' Secret


John Cordova is a neighbor of the hero of my next book. A Yaqui and a Vietnam  veteran, with his own secrets, he is a friend that Nick will need.

The Enchantress' Secret should be available for eBooks the end of May or first of June.

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   Before she could answer, there was a knock on the door. Nick rose and walked to it and ushered in an old man who looked faintly familiar to Denali. “Do I know you?” she asked before Nick had a chance to introduce them.
   “Ain’t seen you in a lot of years but yeah. I remember you with a lot of blonde hair at one of the deer dances, with your grandma and sisters.”
   “John.” She smiled. “I do remember you. Good to see you again.”
   “Maybe not so good. I saw the policeman here again. Didn’t want to disturb you two but got to worrying what that meant.” Nick poured them each a glass of wine, as Denali told him of the new murder.    
   “It’ll be in the papers tomorrow probably. Hopefully not with an arrest of a possible suspect.”
   “There any reason they’d suspect you?” Without telling him how he had found out, Nick told him that he had known the girl and where.“Oh yeah, that one,” John said as he sipped the wine, his eyes narrowing as he considered. He looked from Denali to Nick. “She was around here, lurking in corners, putting herbs above your door.”
   “I never saw that.”
   “You wouldn’t,” John chuckled. “I took ‘em down. Blasted little witch wasn’t going to get you that way.”
   “What kind of herbs?” Denali asked.
   “Let me think. Bay, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, verbena. She left a potion once. I took it too. Threw it in the garbage.”
   “Why did you do that?” Denali asked.
   “Because she meant wrong by my friend. I wasn’t going to let her use the flowers wrong neither.”
   “Why didn’t you tell me?” Nick asked.
   “I knew you didn’t believe—so what would be the point?”
   “And you do believe in it?” Nick asked with disbelief.
   “Might. Just better not taking a chance. You know she took your picture too.”
   “No, I didn’t. I never saw her.”
   “Maybe she had an invisibility shield,” Denali suggested looking at John thoughtfully, “but you penetrated it.”
   John took a big swallow of his wine. “Guess I did.” He looked at her. “You’re a witch too. I knew that first time I saw you but the real deal, a good witch, one born to it, ain’t you?”
   She nodded. “As was my grandmother and great grandmothers. It is on both sides for my sisters and me as the one side has the Yaqui shaman magic. Like you”
   He smiled. “Powerful combination. Dangerous in the wrong hands.”
   “We understand that. Do you do magic, John?”
   He shook his head. “Not since… No.”
   “But you did once.”
   He looked uneasy. “Maybe but no more.”
   “But if there was a storm coming, you might again if the need arose.”
   The old man looked at her and then shook his head. “Don’t want to.”
   “I understand that. It’s a lot of responsibility but sometimes, it has to be done ... for good.”
   He sucked in a breath. “I’ll leave you two.” He looked back at Denali. “Glad he’s got you until he’s ready to understand all that he faces.” With that he was gone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

excerpt from Diablo Canyon

image purchased from CanStock
The paranormal, first of The Hemstreet Witches series, due out the end of May or first of June is not my first foray into the world of the unknown. In 2002, I wrote Sky Daughter, set in Idaho. The premise of it and the one that came out in 2014, Diablo Canyon, is that we don't know all that is on earth. 

The following is an excerpt from Diablo Canyon when humans come up against something they aren't prepared to admit exists, let alone know how to fight.

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    The obstacle in the middle of the road at first made no sense to her. It was at the turnoff to the ranch and looked like an enormous bear, a bear with only a few patches of fur. There had been stories from her childhood of a naked bear monster. The stories connected to Devil’s Tower where a huge, almost mystical bear’s claws had formed the grooves in the tower.
    She braked the truck to a standstill, sure what was coming toward her had to be her imagination. She blinked hard. It didn’t go away. It was now only about twenty feet from her truck. She couldn’t back up fast enough to avoid it and sat praying it was a mirage.
    Then she saw the dust from their road and knew the truck, driving recklessly fast, had to be Pace. She couldn’t let that bear attack him. She blared her horn, to alert Pace to what she was seeing.
    He had to have seen it, but he kept coming without any attempt to brake until he careened right into the bear, sending it sprawling and causing his own truck to slam to an abrupt stop. Pace leaped out, with the 30.06 up to his shoulder, as he shot the bear. It didn’t drop.
    “God,” she screamed, “please not him, don’t take him.”
    It was then she became aware another vehicle had come to an abrupt halt and a beautiful woman was running toward the bear. Was she out of her mind? The woman was screaming something she couldn’t understand, but the bear responded by turning toward her.
    The woman leaped in the air, faster and higher than any human should have been able and slammed out with her right leg, hard against the side of the bear’s head causing it to stagger back. The bear turned toward the woman as she danced away smiling and again landed a kick to the bear’s head.
    Myra saw what she was trying to do. She was drawing it away from her and Pace-- proving an annoyance-- if she wasn’t actually hurting it. It danced up onto its hind feet, batting at her. She nimbly avoided its paws as she landed another hard kick. Nothing could be real. It had to be an aberration, only it wasn’t.
    A fourth vehicle slammed to a halt, with a man leaping out. Dirk Langston threw a rifle to his shoulder. “Girl, get away from it!” he yelled. The woman looked toward him, and this time leaped away from the bear.
    Dirk began firing as she realized Pace was again doing. The bear yowled with pain, dropping to all fours. It seemed confused as to whom it should attack. Turning from enemy to enemy, more bullets struck it. Slowly it collapsed to the roadway and lay in a heap that seemed to dissolve before her eyes.
    Myra got out of her truck running to Pace. A wave of gratitude surged through her-- so strong, she nearly fainted as she saw him stalking toward her, strong and not harmed. In an instant, he had her in his arms. “Are you all right?” he asked as she tightened her arms around him.
    Not letting go of her, he turned to look at Dirk. "What the hell was that?"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

From the coming paranormal book

It's always challenging to find an excerpt that is interesting but doesn't tell too much of the story-- but without some of the story, the excerpt isn't doing its job. This one is from the first book in the Hemstreet Witches Series. It ended up the general length I had hoped (under 58,000 words) is a contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, western, suspense, romance... I probably need to get a few less tags there.

Here's a sneak peek at its probable cover. I say probable because sometimes there are subtle changes when we live with them awhile.


I am already starting to line up the next book in the series. They are a lot more western than I had expected but I should have expected it. They are set in Tucson but also out into the desert and at a ranch which has come down through their family. Some of the books may have more city in them, but the next one will have even less and travel north for some of its story to the Verde Valley. 

Here's a clip from The Enchantress' Secret which will likely go to beta readers within a week and if that goes well (this is out of their normal romance genre reading), I could see it out by the end of May... and me well into writing the next one. Nick is a painter and Denali a witch. John Cordova is a Yaqui who has drifted away from his family.

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   John took a big swallow of his wine. “Guess I did.” He looked at her. “You’re a witch too. I knew that first time I saw you but the real deal, a good witch, one born to it, ain’t you?”
   She nodded. “As was my grandmother and great grandmother. It is on both sides for my sister and me as the one side has the Yaqui shaman magic.”
   He smiled. “Powerful combination. Dangerous in the wrong hands.”
   “We understand that. Do you do magic, John?”
   He shook his head. “Not since… No.”
   “But you did once.”
   He looked uneasy. “Maybe but no more.”
   “But if there was a storm coming, you might again if the need arose.”
   The old man looked at her and then shook his head. “Don’t want to.”
   “I understand that. It’s a lot of responsibility but sometimes, it has to be done for good.”
   He sucked in a breath. “I’ll leave you two.” He looked back at Denali. “Glad he’s got you until he’s ready to understand all that he faces.” With that he was gone.
   Nick took another long draw on his cigarette. “Strange,” he said as he looked at her through the smoke.
   She smiled. “He’s a good witness as to the problem with Cynthia. I am afraid that if she kept photos of you, they will show up in her home. She may have talked to her girlfriends and who knows what she told them.”
   “I see the writing on the wall. I’m being set up.”
   “It seems that way.”
   “You think by someone who used the women or created their motivations?”
   That was pretty insightful but she supposed she should have expected it from someone who had been a SEAL and used to espionage and attacks. “It could have been either. I hope my family will know more tonight.”
   “Me too as I don’t relish being in a prison cell for things I didn’t do. I think I can safely say with the publicity my art career will be in the toilet.”
   “If the publicity gets out.”
   “It’s pretty salacious to not. Nothing about this is good.”
   “Well there is one thing.”
   “And?” He was looking in a bleak mood and she couldn’t blame him.
   “You have a good friend in John Cordova. He has adopted you it seems.”
   “And you. You adopted me too.”
   She smiled at that. “Oh no, my motives aren’t any purer than Cynthia’s.”
   He grinned. “You though have had encouragement. Do you need more?”
   “Oh no, I just am thinking you need to stop sleeping alone at night.” She laughed.
   “Ah, my alibi... the witch.”
   She laughed. “You might prefer to say the Hemstreet heiress.” With that, she moved across the room and sat back on his lap. “Shall we take off from where we were?”

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From Dark of the Moon and Diablo Canyon


 covers-- first for the combined novel and second the novella in which this scene happens
The second paranormal that I wrote started out as a novella and grew into three novellas. In it, three spirit guides got a point of view-- actually fun to write. Eventually the three novellas also became available as one novel. The novellas remained without the spice and the novel went behind closed doors for the whole relationship. Each novella stands alone but the first one is probably the hardest to read as it's very unconventional since it came directly out of one of my dreams

The issues I ran into when writing Diablo Canyon are arising again with my first in what will be five short novels. In it, I haven't yet given a spirit its point of view but am thinking about it. If I do, it'll be the demonic side probably but it's still undecided as other than when the human and spirit side interact, I don't need the other point of view. I might write two versions when the rough draft is finished just to see how it goes.

The following from Dark of the Moon is a fairly long excerpt. I had the first part of it earlier as an excerpt as I much enjoy this scene but it's a tad long to have both in the same blog. Pace made a great hero since he could see and talk to the other side, as he is doing in this scene. I've known a few humans who claim they also can. Who knows. I consider life mystery and when I am writing a paranormal, mystery is what I feel most.


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“How much do the three of you know about the Damons and Cole’s stepbrothers?”

“Are they the reason Cole wanted someone like you?” Justus asked as he considered what he had heard and put together.
“Ostensibly.” He took a long draw on his cigarette. “I am not sure he knows all the reasons, and I sure as hell don’t. There is though something more here; isn’t there?” He looked toward the south, toward from where the negative energy was coming. “It isn’t just about human interactions.”
“The words you use make you seem pretty educated for a hired gun,” Remus said watching for the reaction.
Pace’s smile was cold. “I am not hired to use a gun.”
“Like unless it comes up, huh?” Remus said aware he’d irked the man.
“It’s never why I am hired.” He didn’t deny the need had occasionally arisen. He looked to Remus as though he was a man who could use one if required. Remus decided he should placate him. “Didn’t mean to offend you.”
“Like hell, you didn’t. You wanted me to get mad, and then you’d learn more. Well I told you what I know. What do you know?”
“Spirit guides aren’t told everything either,” Justus answered. “We get pieces, but if the humans close us out, we are left watching like anyone would. We wait for a chance to be helpful.”
Pace snorted. “At least, anyone who can be invisible and pry into the thinking of others without their knowing.” He took another long drag on the cigarette blowing out the smoke.
“That makes us sound bad,” Justus said in an aggrieved tone. “We are here to help. You know that.”
“If you’re such great helps, Justus, what do you know about the bear that’s been picking off Farrell cattle?”
“Bear? Nothing about a bear.”
Remus looked around nervously. Sometimes it was hard for him to remember he wasn’t flesh and blood. He had nothing to fear from a bear.
“Unless it’s a spirit bear.”
“You may not read human minds, but you’re all too good on ours,” Remus protested.
“I suggest the three of you head back to Myra or whoever you are supposed to be helping. I have a place to go and don’t need help,” Pace said as he finished his cigarette and snubbed it out on his saddle’s pommel before putting it in his shirt pocket.
“Hold it,” Racine protested. “I’d like to know something about you before I go.”
“Shoot… figuratively speaking, of course.” Pace grinned for the first time and Racine saw that devastating smile of white teeth against tanned skin. My God, even as a spirit she could appreciate that level of masculine beauty.
“Why don’t you have a guide?”
“You not too advanced in your work, I take it.”
“That is not true and was insulting.”
“I’d then expect you to know that humans don’t need guides all the time depending on their level of enlightenment. I actually do have one, but he’s got other things to do. He’ll be around if I need him.”
“I think you will need him,” Justus said.
“Then he’ll be here.”
“Mind telling us his name in case we run across him.”
Pace laughed as he brought his leg down and put his boot into the stirrup. “You won’t wonder if you see him. He looks like an old cowpuncher most of the time.” With that he spurred his horse lightly and took off toward the south.
“I hope he’s not going into the canyon,” Racine said.
“He didn’t invite us along,” Justus reminded her. “And we do all have other places to be.” He jerked his head to the north reminding her of her own charge.
“All right but that talk of a spirit bear scared me. What is a spirit bear anyway?”
“I suppose we should find out,” Remus said with a thoughtful expression as he considered where he might do that.
“You really think there might be one around? No one ever told me anything about something like that potentially here. Of course, there’s a lot nobody tells me,” she finished with a rather fetching pout, Remus did think.
“Welcome to the club, as humans say. I will find out,” Justus said as he, Remus disappeared toward Bozeman, and Racine headed for Myra.