Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's out! It's here! FINALLY

From The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker:
“Come, dear, it’s nearly time.” Josephine rustled in the garment box to reveal a pearl tiara, set with blue glass flowers, and a veil of pale blue. Percy gasped, as if it were the final touch of absolute reality. “Yes, my dear, he really is going to marry you,” the Frenchwoman promised softly. “He really is.” Marianna was quiet but smiled.
The train hooked and the crowning veil set, Percy stared in the mirror and her eyes watered. She had applied just the faintest hint of rouge to her cheeks and lips, and had lined her white eyelids with the thinnest grey, which caused the ice blue slivers of her irises to jump forth. Feeling beautiful, she plucked her phoenix pendant out to hang not against her skin but proudly in the open, a mark of the fate-forged bond of long ago.
The journey across the Athens courtyard was a spectacle of whispers and gaping mouths. Josephine and Marianna looked like proud family, escorting her. Percy could hear faint strains of a stringed instrument from inside the chapel, and fainter still, the ghostly trace of what she could only liken to an angelic choir.
If The Guard wondered why none of the harmless, gamesome spirits of Athens had wafted into the chapel, it was because they were all clustered at the outside door, awaiting the bride. A living gentleman stood among them, a handsome youth with wild, curly hair and a dimpled grin, blissfully unaware of the floating dead nearby.
“Oh, Percy, you are incredible!” said Edward Page, the young lad smitten with Marianna, who slid her arm onto his with unconscious ease. “Congratulations! As surprising as this is, congratulations on this most auspicious day!”
“Go on, you two.” As Percy stepped away from view, Josephine ushered the young couple through the doors. Marianna turned to blow her friend a kiss, and they shared a familiar giggle—the last of their maidenhood.
There was a box at the door, and Josephine opened it to place a cluster of perfect white lilies wrapped in blue satin in Percy’s trembling hands. Percy smiled at the bouquet, and at the misty-eyed Josephine, before returning her attention to the dead who’d come to see her wed.
“Leave this to us, Percy,” said the boy with the soft brogue who usually kept to the main foyer chandelier. “We know you’ve no father to give you away, and so we wish to walk you down the aisle.”
“Thank you all,” Percy murmured, her eyes glimmering with tears. “That’s very kind of you.” She turned to Josephine. “You may go on, thank you. The spirits wish to present me.” The Frenchwoman sighed in appreciation and slipped into the chapel.
The spirits encircled Percy. While she felt the air around her grow freezing, she was lost in the excitement on their faces. Their entire spectral strength amassed, they were just able to manipulate the door. Percy came in full view, and the crowd was rendered breathless. A ghostly radiant goddess, she moved forward, floating in loving and spectral procession to the haunting sound of Jane’s strings.
Percy and Alexi were stunned by the sight of each other, overwhelmed by the magnetism that seized their hearts. He stood awaiting her at the base of the altar, and energy surged between them as they took hands. Percy took her place opposite him and, to her, the rest of the chapel disappeared.
This is another of my favorite authors. I have had to wait a whole year for this book!  I loved her debut novel and from what I read, this is a good follow-up novel. If you, too, liked the first one, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, check out If you haven't read the first one, get both! They are a bit gothic, paranormal, historical, and a whale of fun reading!


Blood Spirit

“Why you?” she asked.
I paused. I could see she was upset, angry, her eyes flashing. It was in the set of her body, the set of her mouth and the tone of her voice. I understood her anger and I also understood her fear; it was well justified.
“Because I can, because we both know what it’s like,” I told her.
It did little to soothe her, but she knew, as I did, that I would do what had been asked.
“You are a rancher, you have a family,” she continued stubbornly, trying to plead her case.
“That’s right, and I’m responsible for the safety of you, Matthew and Will, and the people who depend on us for a living,” I responded. “As long as this is happening, none of you are safe.”
“Then let’s leave, let’s go to Tennessee or Virginia.”
“I won’t leave our home and you should know by now, I won’t run.”
A few days before, Sheriff Dan Brooks had ridden to the ranch.
“Buck, I need some help,” he started after we sat at the table in the dining room. “You know the situation with the Indians.”
I nodded. It had been a rough year, and it was only half over. In January, Brit Johnson had been killed by Kiowas. His search for his family, taken in the Elm Creek raid, was legendary. It had taken a couple years, but he never gave up. His death came along a lonely stretch of road when some twenty-five Kiowas had attacked four wagons. It was believed he had been the last to die.
Some two-and-a-half months before, a dozen men had been attacked near Rock Creek, north of the ranch. My foreman, Juan Carrera, and two men had been with them, gathering cattle. Some forty or fifty Comanches and Kiowas had attacked. The men were pinned in a shallow wash with the Indians above and with a clear advantage. The raiders killed eight of the horses immediately and the riders entered the wash without their rifles.
Before the day was over, eight of the twelve were either wounded or dead, I knew most of them. Tom Crow died there and Bob Haskins and Tom Riley, both my hands, died before full dark. John Lemley and Shap Carter died over the next two days. Juan had managed to survive without a scratch as did Ed Graves and two others.
“There was a black man there who ran the attack on directions of the war chief,” the sheriff continued. “And there were some whites in that group.”
I had heard about the black man. The chief had sat his horse on a small knoll above the fight and sent word to the black man, telling him where to strike and when. But I had not heard about the whites.
“I don’t know if they were captives or renegades,” he told me. “But I have some information that at least one of the men was Ned Willis.”
I had heard of the Willis brothers. From Jack County, northeast of Palo Pinto County, the several brothers had been implicated — and even identified — in Indian raids. A raid in Jack County by Comanches had led to the identification of Bill Willis by eight-year-old Edith Cameron. She had identified the man as the one who had killed her mother and robbed the family of twelve-hundred dollars. It had been some fourteen years since that raid.
Although taken to court, he had been released. The clan was as vicious as the Comanche and Kiowa raiding parties with which they ran. Some years later, after being arrested in south Texas, the whole bunch had been taken to Austin where three of the brothers had been summarily hung. But the others had survived, their whereabouts and activities unknown.
“I was appointed last year to replace Madison Veale,” said Brooks. “The judge told me to start cleaning things up and I promised I would. Right now, both deputies are looking for horse thieves and rustlers and whatever else comes up.
“Everybody knows your reputation. My concern is, Ned Willis is as blood thirsty as the savages he runs with. The rangers are doing what they can, but they’re stretched thin and the military ain’t much better off. There have been enough women raped and killed, enough men have died. I want this sonofabitch, alive or dead, but I want him.”
“Why him, why now?” I asked.
“I was told he intends on riding into this country and cut a wide swath of revenge,” Brooks explained. “His family lived poor and died poor and he sees successful ranchers and businessmen as the cause of their troubles. Fact is, they were lazy, lawless bums. I’m tellin’ ya Buck there won’t be a man, woman or child safe — not yours, not mine, nobody.”
“That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
“It don’t to me either,” he said. “All I was told was that his folks was run off along with his family. And, from I hear, folks wasn’t none too nice about it.”
“I don’t know, Dan,” I said. “I’ve got a family, I’ve got a ranch and Catherine will throw a tantrum like this country’s never seen.”
“Dammit man, I know all that. But you know what can happen as well as anyone. I need you, the county needs you, hell, Texas needs you.”
I wanted to think about it. Catherine and I had been married just a few short years. Since my run in with Henry Albertson in Palo Pinto, I had worked the ranch, building a future for my family. The last thing I wanted was to get into a man hunt for Willis and leave the ranch for what could turn out to be several months. And there was always the chance of getting killed. And I told Brooks so.
“I understand Buck, and I can’t say I blame you, but the next ones could be Catherine and the boys. Do you want to face that chance?”
I had reluctantly agreed.
~ * ~
“So, that’s it then?” Catherine asked, tears beginning to show in her eyes. “You’re just going to traipse off and leave us here with me not knowing if you’re stretched out on an ant hill somewhere?”
“Look, you and the boys are my life. Without you, there would be no meaning. I’d be out there somewhere, trying to live, but with no purpose, no reason to continue. Our time together has changed my life. If something happened to you and the boys, what do you think I’d do?”
Her eyes softened as she came around the table and hugged me. Tears were in her eyes as she looked up.
“I know, and that’s how I feel about you. I’m scared.”
“I know you are and I am, too,” I said. “But I’m more afraid of not doing anything.
“Look, why don’t you and the boys go to Virginia to visit your family for a few weeks? You haven’t seen them since you came to Texas and I’ll know you’ll be safe. You can catch the stage, travel to Galveston, get on a boat and be there before you know it.”
“How can I go knowing you’re out there?”
“There’s nothing you can do here. Juan can watch the ranch and take care of the cattle.”
An hour later she said, “No. If you are going to do this, I will not leave. I can be as stubborn as you — and you should know by now, I won’t leave my home. When you return, we can go — as a family.”
I knew then she would not budge. She had enough Irish in her that once her mind was made up, there was no further discussion.
The next day I told Juan of my leaving.
“Are you crazy, jefe?” he asked.
“Maybe,” I said with a little smile. “I had hell with Catherine, don’t you start.”
He rolled his eyes.
“I can guess,” he said with a mild laugh. “She is one tough woman. I’m surprised she didn’t scalp you.”
Juan and I discussed what needed to be done and the measures I wanted him to take to guard the ranch. It was not needed, for the tough little vaquero was as savvy about Indians as he was about ranching, horses and cattle.
~ * ~
I left the ranch two days later, the parting all too bitter, leaving Catherine and the boys behind.
I headed for Jacksboro and Jack County. Fort Richardson was well garrisoned and I hoped I might catch some word of Ned Willis. I crossed the river upstream of Dark Valley and continued northeast. It had been some time since Will Blocker and I had traveled the route, and it had been much colder. Albertson had taken Catherine and Matthew and we had traveled through snow and cold, searching for some trace of their passing.
The country was rough, but it was late spring, wild flowers dotted the terrain — Indian blankets, black-eyed Susans, and occasionally bluebonnets.
But I kept a sharp eye. There were hills and washes that could hide any number of warriors and they would have no mercy on a lone white man. There were still outlaws as well, rustlers, robbers, murderers. They had always been a threat, and since the war, it had only gotten worse.
I crossed Rock Creek and camped in a small wash away from the water. There was plenty of grass for Blaze.
He had been given to me the year before as a birthday present from Catherine and the boys. She and Juan had found him. He was a sorrel with a blaze and three white stockings, part mustang and part Morgan. He stood some sixteen hands at the shoulder. Juan had a magic hand with horses and trained him.
The buckskin I rode during the war and the many miles to Texas was old. She was enjoying the lush green pastures of the ranch. At times I missed her, for she was as cautious as I when traveling and as eager to get the job done, whatever it was.
Blaze was enough mustang to be wary and enough Morgan to have unlimited stamina. He was one of the best horses I had ever ridden. Juan had done a wonderful job, using the magic he possessed to make him a special mount.
I cooked some bacon and heated beans on a small fire near the wall of the wash, ever aware of the sounds and the attention of Blaze. The mustang in him would alert me to danger. And I had time to consider Catherine and the boys.

Thus begins Blood Spirit with Buck Landers, a man who wanted nothing more than to live in peace, but whose skill with a gun and courage to face impossible obstacles would be called upon time and again. Scheduled for release this month, it can be ordered through or drop me a line for a signed copy.

Do you like Texas?

Do you like Texas history? in the 1800s? Fiction (better known as "Westerns") Well, I do and I am happy to announce my friend, Mark Engebretson, has a new one out! He put a teaser out that makes me want to read Blood Spirit asap!. It's a follow up to Spirit of the Snake.

POD book publishing for professional writers
Do you have to read Sprite of the Snake first? Nope. You can get a copy from Unlimited Publishing. Where are they? Click on the name and you are there.

Sunday Stealing

The Question Meme

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing. Sunday Stealing originated on WTIT: The Blog authored by Bud Weiser. Here we will steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent memes. You may have heard of the expression, “honor amongst thieves”. In that age-old tradition, we also have our rules. First, we always credit the blog that we stole it from and we will “fess up” to the blog owner where we stole the meme. We also provide a link to the victim's post. (It's our way of saying "Thanks!") We do sometimes edit the original meme, usually to make it more relevant to our global players, to challenge our players, sometimes to select that meme's best questions, or simply to make it less repetitive from either this new meme or recently asked questions from a prior featured meme. Let's go Today we ripped this meme off a blogger named Haruechan at the blog Haruechan's Journal. She states that she took it fromdiek09. But, it was probably stolen there as well. So, of course, that will be as far as we go. Tracing back our theft's thieves might take some time. Link back to us at Sunday Stealing!
Sunday Stealing: The Question Meme 

01) Are you currently in a serious relationship?  I HOPE SO


03) What talent do you wish you had?  GRACE

04) If I bought you a drink what would it be?  THAT WOULD DEPEND ON WHERE WE ARE AND MY MOOD.

05) Favorite vegetable?  CORN ON THE COB

06) What was the last book you read?  WOLF HALL

07) What zodiac sign are you?  LEO

08) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.  MY DAD PIERCED MY EARS WHEN I AS 5.


10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?  NO, MY NEW PRIDE IS A ONE PERSON CHAIR!

11) What is your favorite sport?  FIGURE SKATING

12) Do you have a Pessimistic or Optimistic attitude?  OPTIMISTIC

13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?  GET YOU TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF.

14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?  GETTING KISSED BY A BUS...KILLED MY FAVORITE CAR.

15) Tell me one weird fact about you.  ME

16) Do you have any pets?  YES

17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?  I WOULD BE SURPRISED

18) What was your first impression of me?  YOU SURE ARE NOSEY

19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?  DEPENDS ON THE CLOWN

20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?  I WOULD STILL HAVE MY FRECKLES

21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?  DEPENDS ON THE CRIME

22) What color eyes do you have?  ARMY GREEN

23) Ever been arrested?  NO

24) Bottle or can soda? IF I AM THIRSTY, I WOULD NOT CARE

25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it? MAKE A HARTY DOWN PAYMENT ON A NEW CAR

26) What's your favorite place to hang out at?  MY MOM WOULD SAY "AFTER THE T"

27) Do you believe in ghosts?  NO

28) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?  DEPENDS ON THE MOMENT...AT THIS MOMENT IT IS ANSWERING SILLY QUESTIONS

29) Do you swear a lot?  MORE THAN SOME, LESS THAN OTHERS


31) In one word, how would you describe yourself?  WEIRD

32) Do you believe/appreciate romance?  YEP

33) Favorite and least favorite food? LOTS OF FAVS BUT OKRA AND ASPARAGUS ARE THE PITS!

34) Do you believe in God?  I'M NOT SURE

35) Will you join us this week for Wednesday Wickedness? 
(Bud has on a mission to make this Wednesday's most popular meme. Please play this week so I can stop promoting it.)  MAYBE...IF I CAN REMEMBER TO CHECK IT OUT.

Thank you for playing this week on 
Sunday Stealing!Please leave a comment or link when you have posted. Feel free to stop back and visit other player’s posts. Have a great week. See you next Sunday!

Saturday: 9


Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme! Saturday 9: Changes
1. Tell us about one thing that you'd change about yourself if you could.

I would be able to walk in high heels gracefully.
2. Mattel decides to make a Barbie-like (or Ken-like) doll of you -- what would be the most important accessory or accessories they would absolutely have to package you with in order to portray your lifestyle?   A TERRIER TYPE DOG.
3. Hey, do you like surprises? If yes, what kinds? YES...IT WOULDN'T BE A SURPRISE IF I TOLD.
4. What was the last snail mail that you received that was significant?  A WEDDING INVITATION.
5. If you could pick out a brand new nickname for yourself, what would you choose and why? I WOULD NOT...I LIKE THE ONES I HAVE.
6. John Edward's mistress was on Oprah this past Thursday. She stated that no third person can break up a marriage, so it had to be broken before the two started doing the nasty. Do you buy that? NOPE
7. Do you think it is okay to keep secrets from your s/o?  YES, OTHERWISE I COULD NOT SURPRISE HIM.
8. Have you ever played Truth or Dare? If yes, what's the weirdest dare that you did? NO
9. What, in hindsight, the stupidest thing that you have ever done? NONONONONO! I AM NOT GOING THERE...TO MANY AND TOO STUPID!
Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us on next Saturday for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your weekend!