Monday, August 3, 2020

Last chance! Don't miss out!

Final day! Don't miss out! Only 99 cents for Kindle.
Morning came with deep shadows. The triplets broke camp and descended Yggamay. They repacked the twine and discovered a mass of wild blackberries. Breakfast was sweet and juicy.
Tor extended his arm out, palm up. "Lead the way, Miss Goddess of the Terra-Firma."
"Ha, ha." But Terk took the lead.
"I believe the forest is getting thicker," whispered Tae an hour in. "I don't like all the shadows."
Tor took her hand and pulled her along as they followed Terk.
Tae continued to worry. "It's so dark in here the Danooks could be about."
"Sh," Tor warned. "The quieter the better."
"Too late!" yelled Terk as a large humanoid with elongated canines crashed through the undergrowth.
"Run!" Tor ordered, pulling out his long sword.
The girls raced toward an area ahead that looked brighter.
With one swift swing of the sword, the Danook's head left its shoulders, but three more creatures appeared on each side of the path from the darkness.
"By the gods!" bellowed Tor, and he took flight behind his sisters.
Far enough away to take a breath, Tae and Terk turned. Seeing their brother being pursued by half a dozen Danooks, Terk fitted a stone into her sling, and Tae nocked a broadhead arrow rather than the dart-like projectiles she used for small game.
Both fired, taking down a foe. Another arrow and another stone felled two more Danooks.
"Run! Damn it! Run!" Tor screamed.
The girls took off just as low growling started behind them. They flew into a canyon filled with light down the center, but with overhangs, which allowed shade and cover for Danooks unnumbered. The outcroppings sheltered a steep slope.
"Underground! They live underground," Terk said standing back-to-back with her sister and the two of them rotating a full three hundred sixty degrees. The stench of rot assailed them, and the fetid pant of the Danooks almost took their breath away.
Tor made it to the light. "Great! Just great!" he barked, seeing the gauntlet of Danooks. "Stay in the light and keep moving."
They ran.
The ground beneath their feet became sandier.
They ran.
The ground beneath their feet became squishy with sucking sounds on their moccasin-covered feet.
They ran.
The ground beneath their feet became a bog.
They began to struggle to move, sinking to their knees in sticky muck. The canyon sides closed in. One misstep and a Danook could grab them and pull them into the deep trenches on each side.
Terk stopped.
Her siblings plowed into her back.
"Move!" Tor belted.
"Look!" Terk cried, pointing up. "There it is! The Mound of the Obelisk."
On the canyon rim atop a dozen cylindrical boulders, stood a gleaming white obelisk.
"How does that save us?" shrieked Tae as a Danook's fingertips grazed her.
Tor roared, "Terra-Firma Goddess! Seal them off!"
Terk stretched her arms out to her sides, hands up with palms flat toward each canyon wall. Danooks clawed at her hands.
At first, tiny pebbles trickled down the walls. Then some sand. Followed by a trembling.
The triplets froze, watching the boulders on which the obelisk stood begin to sway, fall, tumble down.
"Move! Move! Move!" Tor commanded as rocks peppered them.
Forcing feet free of the quagmire, they managed five, six, seven steps as the first boulder crashed where they had stood.
The ground swallowed them.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Halfway there! Don't miss out!

We're halfway done with the 99-cent Kindle sale for Ain't No Mountain. Jump on the adventure before time runs out.


Gods or Children?
Death. Decay. Destruction. This is all the three people who topped the hill had ever known.
Salmyra was a world in ruin. For centuries the factions fought, until they all but destroyed one another.
Still, they fought. They fought for food. They fought for fire. They fought for fun. But none fought for or with honor.
Those who did not fight, traveled. They were constantly on the move, searching. Though the daytime sirocco scorched exposed skin, the nomads dared not move at night on their quest to find the fabled city of Lumenesca. They dared not brave the darkness when the winds stopped blowing and the cloud of dust no longer swirled in the sirocco but settled into a low-lying blanket that shrouded the land in death. No one journeyed at night for fear of falling prey to the Danooks, those rumored to have survived the flesh-melting weapons used in the final battle. Now, they could not tolerate the faintest light and desired man-flesh for nourishment—and legend told that woman-flesh was even tastier to them.
The three on the hill had once trekked across the world with their mother searching for answers. After a decade, she had finally found what she sought, and they had stopped. The past three years, they had been in one place. She called it Libretante.
Thirteen-year-old Tornabolt stretched his lean, wiry body and turned his head side to side. His granite-gray eyes caught his sisters', Taekeyla having aqua-marine irises and Terkoyze with deepest brown, as the wind stopped whipping his long chestnut tresses around his face.
"The nomads should be stopping shortly." He pointed at the sojourners. Each dressed in drab earth-tones and covered themselves from head to foot, with thin layers of gauzy material over their faces to protect skin and eyes from cutting sand grains. They pulled pop-bubbles from packs on their backs and set up camp where they halted. Each group rolled strands of heavy twine, barbed at intervals with bone shards, glass, sharp stones, or metal, as could be found, around the perimeter of their faction. The color of the pop-bubbles denoted which ideology they supported.
To Tornabolt's right, Taekeyla laid a hand on his arm. The wind had all but died, and the dust cloud began its descent, causing her long silvery-blonde hair to hang limp. "Mamere told us not to wander far, just close enough to watch the nomads."
Tornabolt's and Taekeyla's triplet and identical to her sister in appearance, except her eye color, Terkoyze said, "We should get back."
The girls' lithe bodies seemed to float as they turned around. Their tan gauzy skirts that had lashed around their muscular legs only moments before draped over rounding hips of developing womanhood.
In loose beige breeches, shirt, and vest, Tornabolt followed a step behind.

The siblings picked up their pace as grunting and snarling caught their ears. "Danooks!" said Tornabolt, pointing out two large human-like figures emerging from a clump of cacti surrounded by sagebrush. The creatures' large eyes and somewhat pointed noses and mouths gave their faces a distinctive dog-like countenance.
Frantic trills from the nomads not yet fully camped spurred the teens into a full-out run. The two Danooks they had spotted had caught their scent and pursued them in hopes of fresh, tender flesh.
Loud wailing accompanied the triplets as they closed the heavy wooden door of the partially-razed building they called home. Although out of breath, a pleasant aroma took their minds off their near escape of the Danooks' waking.
Illuminet Ignis turned from lighting the single tallow with its wick of twisted animal gut. "You three cut that too close."
"We're all right, Mamere," Tornabolt said with a reassuring smile. "What's for supper?"
"Roasted boar shoulder with mushrooms and onions. I shot a large one today. I'm salting the rest." She popped him playfully on the head with the fleece mitt she held. "Don't try to change the subject, Tor. I didn't walk all those leagues with ropes around my waist tethered to your arms in order to keep you near me so that we could find this place for you to be so careless. Don't risk your lives again."
"Mamere," Terkoyze said, "how can you be sure this is the place you sought? More than half of it is crumbled in ruins."
"The scrolls, Terk." Illuminet waved a hand around them. Cubbyhole after cubbyhole was filled with scrolls.
Taekeyla rolled her eyes. "Which you read every day and make us read every day."
"You three are special, Tae. Soon you'll come into your powers and here is where you'll learn to control them."
"We know, Mamere," said Tor in a placating manner. "We are supposedly the Elemental Gods reborn."
Terk added, "Mamere, you do realize that any folk we journey with think you're crazy. Nobody believes in gods anymore. Look at this world. What kind of gods let this happen?"
"The kind that was usurped!" Illuminet snapped. "Soon when your powers manifest, you'll understand. Then, you can help your father."
The triplets looked from one to another. They had never known their father. They were unsure if Illuminet knew who he was. She had always insisted he was of some great importance. More likely, according to anyone who knew her, she had either been seduced or given herself to a member of a warring faction to stay alive. She had conceived, and in an attempt to maintain some form of sanity and make the children she bore feel wanted, she made up a story. But they had always felt loved.
Tornabolt, the one who resembled his mother most in appearance, but only in facial features, asked softly as his mother served plates and passed them out, "Mamere, who is he? Do you know?"
"Yes, but I cannot tell you. I am forbidden until your powers appear."
Terkoyze snorted. "Yes. We've heard a thousand times. Tor will be able to control the wind and weather. Tae will bring forth life-giving liquid. And I will bless the terra-firma—but only if we succeed in helping free this father that has never once laid eyes on us."
"Stop it!" Tor rebuked his sister. "You will not speak to Mamere with such disrespect."
She hissed and turned away from her brother.
Taekeyla asked, "Mamere, if we are these three Elementals, where is Fire?"
Illuminet sighed. "First, children, I was not seduced or raped as many say. I was chosen." She rolled her hand with her fingers in a wave-like motion until the top of her hand was on the bottom and her palm made a small cup. A tiny ball of fire flickered to life, but it did not burn her. "I am Fire—and Light. But that's all I can tell you." Amber eyes glowed a momentary red, and lava-like locks fell over her shoulders as Illuminet bowed her head. "My power will not be full-strength until…" She trailed off and dipped a piece of unleavened bread in the juice of the boar. She chewed slowly and swallowed. "And your father has seen you. Eat and rest. Tomorrow I need to send you to another sector. You will need to camp, and I cannot go with you this time."
''Where are we going, Mamere?" Tor asked.
''To your father. But you will need to follow the map I'll have for you to the letter. The Mound of the Obelisk is your goal."
They ate in silence.
The meal finished, Illuminet cleaned up while the triplets prepared for bed and a trek the next day. She came to each one's mat to kiss their foreheads.
"I'm sorry, Mamere," Terk said.
"All is forgiven. Sleep, my children."
She snuffed the tallow and lay on her own mat. Sleep. Dream. For after tomorrow, I might never see you again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Only 99 cents

Just 99 cents for Kindle through August 4th.

Ain't No Mountain

Three teenage triplets, Tornabolt (Tor); Taekeyla (Tae); and Terkoyze (Terk), in a post-apocalyptic world are told they are Elementals reborn and embark on a quest to find and free their father—a deity that sired them.

Once they meet their father, Yarwhin Ignis, a supernatural being, just short of an actual god, their powers gain strength. Their mother, Illuminet, is the missing Elemental, but she cannot use her powers until Yarwhin is free.

Yarwhin has been imprisoned in an obsidian cavern, which siphons his power. Only the triplets can travel to distant worlds to find enchanted artifacts that hold his powers. Once all four mystical items are in his possession, he can break free of the cell somewhere in oblivion and track down his own brother who imprisoned him and caused their world, Salmyra, cataclysmic upheaval.

Their search takes them to other worlds and puts their very existence in mortal danger. Once their powers manifest, they realize that alone they are nothing. Only together can they overcome the evil that almost destroyed their world.

Ain't No Mountain chronicles Tor's quest and is the first book in a series of four in the Gods and Children series.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Playing Gremlins

(1994) Playing Gremlins

"They hate bright light…Never feed them after midnight…Never get them wet." If you're not familiar with those lines, you need to watch the movie Gremlins. Bight light kills the creatures. Feeding them after midnight changes the sweet little Mogwai into monstrous Gremlins, and water makes them multiply!
Still, it's a cute, fun little movie that my kids watched. I never dreamed my two older boys would imitate scenes—one in particular. After the Gremlins changed to their evil form and multiplied, they went wild and swung on ceiling fans.
Up front up making dinner, I suddenly heard this god-awful noise and screaming. I raced to the boys' shared bedroom.
The next to oldest son was wailing and holding a blade to the ceiling fan. They were playing ''Gremlins"! It was so NOT funny.
When Dad got home, he was livid. At that time number two son received three dollars a week as an allowance. As punishment, he had to give back two until he could pay for a new ceiling fan.
Fast forward ten years…
As Matt, number one son, and I drove to school when I changed his place of attendance to where I taught, he said, ''Momma, I have to confess something to you."
I glanced at him. ''What have you done now?"
''You remember when Nate and I were playing 'Gremlins'?"
''I swung on the fan first. Maybe I cracked the blade before Nate took his turn."
My mind boggled. After ten years, the boy's guilt nagged at him that hard. Neither of them had ever said Matt went first or at all. It was so NOT funny that I almost chortled. I managed to eke out, ''Well, then I guess you owe Nate fifteen dollars, half of what he paid Dad."

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Only One Bullet

A Facebook friend asked the other day if anyone had ever forgotten where they put something for safe keeping. Here is the story of a time I did so...

(1988) Only One Bullet

It is said that animals can sense things in the environment that humans cannot. Perhaps, even in the spiritual realm. I don't know for sure, but I do recall one time my critters made me believe.
First, I'll say loud and clear that I believe in the right to bear arms. Don't even try to take my gun.
That having been said, I also believe in responsibility when it comes to weapons. With this strong conviction, after my son, Matthew, was born, and even though he was still a baby, I insisted that our little .22 Ruger be unloaded. A clip was kept ready to insert into the gun, but it was kept in a different place.
I have to admit that there are times I can be extremely scatter-brained. Ditzy is the word my ex-husband used for me once. I'm also directionally challenged—I can get lost in a shoebox. I have a story about that coming very soon. But this tidbit focuses on my flightiness and my dog's and cats' ability to see what I could not.
Matthew and I continued to live in Hattiesburg for over a year and a half after his birth before our house finally sold. The only "friends" I spent much time with was a ninety-seven-year old lady, Mrs. Shows, who lived across the street and Shirley Viehweg, the woman who watched Matthew while I worked. She lived a good half hour out of town and was old enough to be my mother, but Matthew and I had dinner with her every Wednesday evening. The couple of friends I had at work didn't spend time with me outside business. And I went to the gym with my friend Jan Ulmer twice a week. We sometimes stopped to eat at Rocket City Diner, near the gym.
The loneliness I felt before the birth of my child still weighed heavily on me. I kept Matthew's crib in the master bedroom. Sometimes, I let him sleep in the bed with me, lying on my chest while I rested on my back since I was terrified he'd smother on the bed or I'd sleep too hard and roll on top of him. He was a big baby, weighing in at ten pounds, four ounces at birth, but he was still a baby, and I would do anything to protect him—including shoot an intruder if need be.
Matthew's father usually came home late on Saturday nights, and after Matthew was born, he would get up very early Monday mornings to leave for Jackson; whereas, before he'd leave Sunday evenings.
Oh, Matthew and I had some adventures. Like the time I was coming home from Shirley's about eight p.m. on a frigid February night. Yes, I finally had a car, once I discovered I was pregnant. We purchased a candy-apple red 1972 Super Beetle Volkswagen from Alan's uncle. I travelled east on Highway 98, when the car gave a God-awful shudder and loud cracking noise. I limped the vehicle into the emergency lane and put on the hazard flashers. This was long before cell phones. Some rich folks had car phones, but I wasn't rich. After a long wait and no one bothering to stop to see if I needed help, I bundled Matthew up and we started walking. Thank God! We got just a few yards from the car when a forest-green Jaguar pulled behind us. A nice man, whose name I cannot remember after all this time, got out and offered to give us a ride. He had a little girl about four years old in the back seat. He transferred Matthew's child safety seat to be beside his daughter and drove us home. Oh, the lovely smell of that leather. If I ever win the lottery—that's the kind of car I want. The crankshaft had broken on the Bug.
Another time in Matthew's and my little Beetle Bug that proved a challenge was another cold night, before or after the other incident, I don't remember. I pulled into a parking place at Cloverleaf Mall, got out, locked my door, and went around to the other side to get my little man out. Oops! His door was locked. I clearly saw my car keys on my seat. One of my ditzy moments on steroids. Another nice man appeared and helped me get into my car.
But the one crazy incident my son slept through had nothing to do with the VW, unless some sort of German dämon was hiding within the framework of the auto and slipped inside my locked-up-tight house. 
I would never have worried about Chen Li, my Pekingese, barking in the middle of the night. A scampering squirrel could have set him off. But when your dog is snarling with his hackles up and your three cats, Satin, Scarlett, and Skittles, are all hissing with arched backs—something is truly amiss.
I got up and peeked out the window. I saw nothing but pitch blackness. The streetlight was even out, but there was no bad weather. I didn't want to turn on a light, just in case someone or something was outside, trying to get in. I heard nothing though, except animals in frenzy. The hissing quickly became yowling and all four animals jumped on my bed.
I gathered Matthew and placed him on the bed with the critters. Then, I got my Ruger. And put the clip in…oh, wait! Where the hell did I hide that clip?
For the life of me I could not remember where I'd put the clip—just not the same place as the gun. Okay, the box of ammo was in the other side of the headboard of the bed, but not the loaded clip. (The headboard of my king size waterbed had a mirror in the center, and two sides with a little shelf in two bookshelf-like sides and a little boxlike cubby with a lift-up lid.)
I did the only thing I could think of since the phone was on the wall in the kitchen and I wasn't leaving my child or my fur babies to get to it. I put that one bullet in the chamber, pulled Matthew to me while I sat against the wooden headboard, and waited. Oh, I prayed. And after about half an hour, the animals all settled down and found places to sleep—on the bed with the baby and me.
I kept that gun with the one bullet right beside me the rest of the night.

The next day showed no sign of a prowler outside. All my doors and windows were locked. And I found the clip, but it was so NOT funny sitting there in fear with only one bullet between whatever or whoever had terrified my animals and my child and me.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thank God for Daddies

I suppose if I write a memoir, it should start at the beginning. You can read more when The Little Book of Things Are so NOT Funny You Have to Laugh is finished.

(April 14, 1960) Thank God for Daddies
I have nothing at all against the name Mary! My maternal grandmother's first name was Mary (Mary Oseola, called Ola). My mother's first name was Mary (Mary Magdalene, called Magdalene). My daughter's first name is Mary (Mary Catherine d'Aubigné, lovingly called Mcat). Lord help me! My first grandchild's first name is Mary (Mary Anna d'Aubigné, called Sugar Plum, Wiggles, Mary Anna.) No, Mary is a fine name.
It was the middle name my mother wanted to give me that makes me cringe even today. OLINE (Pronounced Oh-Lean). Oh, my God! Can imagine in today's society how many times someone would have called me ''Online''?
Now, I know Momma wanted to honor her mother with a quasi-name like Ola. That's a sweet gesture. Why do you think there are so many Marys down the line? But Oline? That would have been reason to hide in shame. It would have been so NOT funny!

So, thank God my daddy wasn't drunk the night I was born. His name was Jesse Edward Taylor. I am so grateful his wisdom prevailed in naming me. Janet Elaine Taylor. I had the same initials as my daddy, the one thing I can brag about that he did for me. JET! I could soar high in the sky, streak across the firmament, leave a trail behind me. I only hope that I have done that and will continue to do so.