Saturday, July 16, 2011

Laptop Woes

Good Morning,

Please excuse the brief post this morning. I'm having computer problems,that nothing short of buying a new laptop, will fix. This morning, I find myself on an aged desktop my children have nearly beat to death with their homework.

How about I share a little of what I'm working on this week? The novel that follows Slipping the Past? Nathanial Miller's story? Oh yeah, I've been working on it. Please excuse typos and errors. This is a work in progress

Rough Blurb:  Pancho Villa, buried treasure, skin walkers and cyborgs, Nate never expected his life would lead to that.

Nathanial Miller hasn’t been himself for the last two months. Murdered, his soul captured, Nate wakes up to find he inhabits the body of his killer, but even that isn’t the worst of it. He has also inherited his killer’s psychic abilities, making him capable of reading someone’s past, future and thoughts, by hearing one spoken word. Now the voices in his head have convinced him that becoming a loner may be the only way he can keep from losing his mind.

Until she walks in his office and asks for help.

Paxton Silver is an expert in South American artifacts. When she finds a crystal skull in a drawer in the museum’s basement, an ancient alien evil awakens in the body of a Mayan mummy. Slowly, someone begins to erase her existence, her birth record, bank accounts, friends and associates. Knowing she could be next, she takes a chance on a business card she found on a local supermarket board and heads for the one man who will either destroy her or save her.

Drawn together because of a past-life they can’t remember. Nathanial and Paxton have to put the pieces of the puzzle together and find a missing treasure. On the run for a murder they slowly learn about their past lives and the story of a soldadera and a 13th Calvary soldier, enemies and lovers during the Mexican Revolution. Now remembering their past is the only way they can save humanity from spiritual extinction.

But will they be too late? The invasion has started. Earth is being captured one soul at a time and they need to wake the residents to the truth before it’s too late.

Rough Excerpt:

New Stratus City, the suburbs, 2053…

“Good evening, Mrs. Miller. You know why I’m here.” Enforcer Ian Saefa ducked as he entered and tossed a cube to the floor. A warrant projected up, floating between them. He dragged his finger through it, making it ripple like the surface of a lagoon assaulted by a storm.

“Where is she?” He let his gaze sweep the room, before he returned his attention to the woman. Small and fragile with red hair like her notorious daughter. Still a beautiful woman, regardless that the years had been hard on her. She shook her head.

“Nothing to say, doll?” He stepped forward and she stepped back. Her heart didn’t pound, her eyes didn’t widen. No, she had plenty to say, but he wasn’t going to hear it. Well, not without a little incentive.

Mrs. Miller stared back, cold, lethal, daring him to make her. He knew a challenge when he saw one and she’d just bitch-slapped him with one mother of a gauntlet. The corner of his mouth twitched. If she knew how hard she’d made him, she wouldn’t be so defiant.

“Let’s make this easier on you. I’m going to find her and it will be worse for her when I do. Why don’t you save her from that?”

Mrs. Miller narrowed her eyes and dropped an empty pill container to the floor. It rolled across the floor and came to a stop at his boot. Ian lifted his gaze from the empty container. She smiled. She’d certainly swallowed every last tablet. Death versus talking to him? Interesting, but merely an obstacle. If he had to force her, she’d talk. He strode forward and caught her around the neck with his hand. He shoved her against the wall and pinned her in place, careful not to cut off the air. Lack of oxygen and talking didn’t go well together. One word. He needed one word.

Anger bristled through her. He felt it stir. No fear, even though she should be terrified. Bigger men had fallen to less pressure than he’d applied to her. Her eyes dilated and zeroed in, cutting into him like jagged glass. Her defiance pushed his patience and she knew it.

“I’m going to hurt you, doll. You better start talking.”

She shook her head and he tightened his grip. Resistance! He reached up and touched a lock of her red hair. “You’re not bad looking for an older woman. Do you know what I could do to you?”

She continued to glare. She wanted him to choke her, keep her from uttering a sound. He could see it in her eyes, feel it in the air between them. Her heart began to slow and Ian knew it wouldn’t be long before the drugs stopped it all together.

But not before she gave up her secret. There had to be more to it. If she was wise enough to know a reader would come to claim her daughter and wise enough to keep silent, she certainly wouldn’t know where her daughter ran to. She’d never take the chance the information could be tortured from her. No, she was hiding a much bigger secret.

The pills she’d swallowed were for a mental illness. Her doctor was an idiot. Mrs. Miller wasn’t ill. She was a seer and knew the future. There wasn’t a medication in existence that could erase the voices and visions. He ought to know.

“You’re not just protecting your daughter, are you? You can slip the future and know something else—something you don’t want me to know. You don’t have to talk to me, love. I can read a scream as easy as a word. This doesn’t need to get personal.” He cocked his head and waited.

Thrum, thrum, thrum. He had the adrenaline pumping now. Fear wafted off her. She wasn’t afraid of what he’d do to her, but of whatever secret she was protecting being revealed. Ian smiled.

“How much can you take before you snap, before you whimper or beg me to stop? I think you’re tough, doll, but not that tough. I can be really convincing. Let’s negotiate.”

She brought her knee up and ended negotiations. Pain slammed through him. His grip slipped. She broke away and ran for the door as he dropped to his knees. “Now it’s personal, bitch,” Ian growled. Every muscle in his body screamed. His guts knotted and it felt as though a thousand daggers twisted inside.

No, doll. It’s not going to be that easy. Not tonight. Not ever. She just earned a spot on his trophy wall. He sucked in a breath, pushed the pain away and teleported in front of her.

Mrs. Miller slammed into his chest. Ian snagged her hair and yanked her head back. “Now you’ll find out what happens to people who piss me off.” Her eyes watered. “You shouldn’t have done that, love.” He tightened his grip. She bit her lip to keep from crying out. Blood trickled down her chin.

Ian spun around and pulled her into the kitchen. He glanced around and found what he sought. “I love to cook. It relaxes me.” He grabbed a meat mallet. Perfect for tenderizing any meat, fingers included. “I’m going to start with your fingers.”

He released her hair, grabbed her wrist and slammed her palm down onto the butcher’s block. “Do you know how many nerves end in your fingers and toes?”

She looked away and toward the clock. The bitch wasted time, probably in hopes she’d drop dead. Not going to happen. Not yet. “Last chance.”

Ian waited a few seconds. He raised the mallet and paused to stare at her. She turned toward him and somewhere found the guts to smile. Everything in that look dared him to do it.

So he did. He brought the mallet down full force on her index finger and she cried out. Quiet, very soft, but enough to broadcast what he needed.

Ian inhaled deeply as her thoughts filled his head. Of course he’d have to take her soul, she knew too much. The one she protected knew too much. He’d go down too. “I knew this wasn’t all about your daughter.” He pressed his hand over her heart and pulled her soul free.

Her soul! The fucker took her soul. Nate sat up, eyes wide open. Blood pounded through his veins and his heart slammed against his ribs like a jackhammer, driving the breath from his lungs. A trickle of moisture meandered down his spine. He swallowed, kicked the sheets away, shoved both hands into his hair and pulled his knees to his chest. No!

She didn’t kill herself. All these years—all this time he’d believed she’d committed suicide. He’d never known. Where was she now? Where did Ian put her?

He swung his legs over the bed. His innards twisted. “It was a dream.” He tried to convince himself, but he knew the truth. Why now? Ever since he’d inherited Ian’s body he’d been dreamless. The voices kept REM away and made drifting off impossible.

Tonight that all changed. What had awakened the small bit of the beast? Ian’s soul had been fragmented and destroyed, all but a small sliver that had been missed. It sat at the back of his mind and fed him dark thoughts, but never came forward, it wasn’t strong enough. It had felt like nothing more than an ugly thought.

Until now.

It reveled in the death of his mother. He felt Ian’s delight. He’d felt his hunger. Nate reached up and touched the brand that now burned. Ian’s energy felt stronger, harder to hold back. God, he was in trouble. He’d no one to talk to that wouldn’t trigger the voices and visions—an anchor to sanity.

Nate froze. Except her. He’d hadn’t heard, seen or felt anything when she’d spoken to him. Well, that wasn’t one hundred percent true. He’d felt something. He’d gotten damned hard and it had taken hours and an ice shower for it to go away. Everything about it was unnatural and if he’d learned anything lately, it was also fate.

He needed to talk. He needed to work through the dream without outside visions interfering. He needed to freaking think. Most of all, he needed to see Paxton.

She’d left her purse in the office. When Jocelyn hadn’t been looking, he’d rifled through it and had taken the opportunity to learn something about her. He should be ashamed he’d snooped, but he wasn’t. She was in trouble and needed help. But she wasn’t the only one. He needed her help.

Nate glanced out the window then at the clock. Three in the morning, a little early to drop by and return her handbag. He could go to her house and wait for her to wake. He sure wasn’t going back to sleep.

“I am not Ian Saefa. I am not a monster.” He eyed his reflection in a large mirror that leaned against the wall. He kept it to remind him of what resided inside him and what he could become. He hated looking in the mirror. It always seemed like someone else stared back, and frankly, it creeped him out. His gaze traveled to the corner to where a note had been scrawled across the silver surface.

“Know thy enemy.”

First thing when he woke, Nate looked into it and would recite the message over and over. Evil still resided in this body and he wouldn’t allow himself to forget, nor would he become the monster Ian Saefa had been.

“Know thy enemy.” The black eyes in his reflection bore into him. Ian. That energy wrapped him in a stranglehold, filling his head with cold thoughts, urging him to do things he would have never considered doing before—terrifying things—gruesome things—things that made him question if he was no longer sane. “Know thy enemy. Know thy enemy.” Nate leaned in. “Fuck you, asshole.” He stepped back and flipped the mirror on its stand so he could no longer see him.

Ian might have left him a hell of a body, as he was built like an Olympic athlete and not bad looking—but he also had that whole Boogieman thing down. Yeah, Ian had worked that to perfection. It was in the eyes—the windows to the soul and his windows weren’t any place a sane person would want look. What had looking into those eyes done to Paxton? He didn’t want to scare her. He needed her—more than she could imagine. He rubbed his face again.

She seemed terrified of him, but at the same time he’d seen something else. It went beyond terror, the way she’d looked at the brand, the way she’d studied it. Interest? Curiosity? No, there was more to it. He had to find out what. His cock took notice at the thought and insured he’d be taking another ice shower before the morning was over.

For the first time since he’d inherited Ian’s body, he wanted to get into someone’s head and know their every thought. Funny how the thing he despised so much, was the very thing he wanted most. He wanted to know what Paxton had been thinking about him. No, wanted was too casual. He needed to know.

A ghost from his past once told him that there were greater forces at work in the world than he could possibly imagine. He’d but dipped his toe in the pool and he still couldn’t grasp it all. What if those same forces were at work again? Something brought Paxton to him—the one woman he couldn’t read—the one woman he could be around. He could see the desperation in her eyes, but she’d fled so fast he didn’t get a chance to ask what she’d needed.

Had he scared her away? He had to admit that Ian was the last person most would want to meet face-to-face, but he wasn’t Ian. That asshole was gone—mostly. He had to show her he wasn’t who he appeared to be, that she could trust him.

He ran his fingers along the scar tissue, knowing he couldn’t do anything about the brand. The previous owner of the body made sure of that. A tat could be removed.

The brand—impossible.

Nate rose and strolled to his closet. However, he could attempt to look less scary. What did a reaper wear just to pop in and say hi? He flipped through several shirts and pants to stop on a pair of black dress slacks and a red button up shirt. He yanked them off the hangers and pulled them on.

Yeah, black and red were real calming. No pastels or khakis in his closet, but at least the red shirt didn’t have a picture of the grim reaper flipping the bird, or big bold letters across the front that said “My Best Friend Went to Hell and All I Got Was This Lousy Tee-Shirt.” Not that they were intended to scare, they weren’t. They were supposed to be ice-breakers—jokes, purely meant to ease tension when people saw him.

Nate snorted. Yeah, that’s what his shirts did. Nobody this day and age had a sense of humor. His tee shirts sent people fleeing in terror like Godzilla stomped the city block. One look and they ran, cried or started babbling like idiots.

“Well, Paxton, I hope you like breakfast with your coffee.” He hoped she liked surprises too, because he planned to drop a big one on her. Six foot nine inches of surprise. He’d leave the Louisville. On the streets, there wasn’t anyone badder, and he really didn’t need his bat to prove it. She might be a bit intimidated by it anyway.

The idea was to present a calm, respectable image.