Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

With the preparations for Thanksgiving next week, The Realms will be taking a break from posting new promo. Look for new chapters the week following Thankgiving.

Here's wishing happy holidays to those celebrating next. Even if you don't celebrate with the US - consider taking a moment to find all the things you are thankful for in your life.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Everlasting Bite by Stacey Kennedy

Today The Realms of Imagination is featuring

Everlasting Bite by Stacey Kennedy

Let’s start by telling the reader’s a little bit about yourself.
I love the paranormal romance/urban fantasy genre and love a series more!! Nothing can hook me in more than an adventure and one that keeps on going. I love a page turner, one where I’m up at a ridiculous time and my eyes burn because I can’t stop reading. Witty characters, dominant men, danger, action, romance and hot sex―oh my! 
I’m a thirty one year old wife, mom, house cleaner, cook, teacher, play-doh extraordinaire, swing pusher, toddler chaser after – who loves the outdoors, curling up with the latest flick, and if I’m not plugging away at a new novel, I’ve got my nose buried deep in a good book.

How long have you been writing? 
A short time compared to others.  I only got the urge to write stories in December 2009.  Since then, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind.  Even now, I give myself a pinch once in a while to make sure I’m not dreaming.

What's your writing schedule like?
I write whenever I can, which with two kids under the age of five isn’t easy.  But now with the kids in school, I have Mondays and Wednesdays to myself, and still get my afternoons when my little guy naps.  I take advantage of the time and don’t waste a moment of it.

Do you plot out your stories before you write or do you just work it out as you go along?
I’m not a planner.  I don’t write with a set idea because no matter what I plan, the characters’ voices always come through and demand I listen to them. So, I gave up trying to fight it!
When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?
It was one character who started it all for me.  The Magical Sword series heroine, Nexi.  I had no ambitions to write, but I loved to read.  And I’ve read lots!  However, one day her story came to me.  I sat on it a while.  Doubted I could actually write a book.  But her life just kept nagging at me.  She was quite persistent that her story be told.  So, one day, I wrote.  And the rest is history.

Were you a fantasy lover from way back or was this a genre you only recently turned your talents to?
Truthfully, Twilight introduced me to paranormal romance/urban fantasy.  I’d never read the genre before.  With all the hype on the series I succumbed and bought the books.  Of course, they were wonderful.  Yet, I needed more.  More romance.  More intimacy.  And that is how I was introduced to a whole genre of books, which I not only love to read, but am compelled to write.

What other genre/genres would you love to dabble in, given the choice?
I’ve got no urge to step out of the urban fantasy romance genre.  Maybe one day an idea will come to me that is within another genre, but for now, it’s only the supernatural that captivates me.

So, what's up next?
Lots!  I have releases coming out with Liquid Silver Books every month until February 2011.  Currently, I’ve got four stories in submission.  My poor computer has four work-in-progresses on it, and I have three series to wrap up.  Needless to say, it’s a fun time for me right now.

Big thanks for letting me stop by share my story and give you a peak at my newest release! 

Love is born between strangers, yet built upon a bond soul deep―one Alpha’s vow to protect his mate from looming danger, all the while, mending her soul and stirring her wolfish desires.

A vicious werewolf attack in Plymouth, Minnesota leaves a young woman violated, bitten and now, transformed into werewolf. But Rynn Murphy doesn’t have to face this transformation alone—she has her mate by her side. And the charming Briggs―Beta to the Patriarch, Valor―is eager to ease her into this new life and mend her battered soul.

With only weeks to adjust to her new fur, Rynn, follows Briggs while he assists in locating the daughter of the Montana’s Alpha, who was abducted from her home.  But this journey is not without danger. And soon, they discover the ones who have taken this young wolf do not want her found and will stop at nothing to keep her hidden. Or so it may seem, as bodies begin to drop around them, the murderous attempts start to appear more as a hit than a smoke screen—leaving only one question, who is the intended target…

An Everlasting Bite
The Blue Bloods Book One

The damp ground parted under Rynn’s sharp claws and the wind breezed steadily across her fur. Sounds of the world came sharp through alert ears. Quiet noises hidden to human ears sounded crystal-clear with these new senses of hers--brushes of air against the trees, bugs crawling along the earth, even a deer nibbling on grass a mile away.

She scanned her surroundings, her acute vision taking in everything around her. The sharp colors, shapes, everything was just so powerful as a wolf. It made everything brighter--more vivid.

Her four legs trembled as the force of magic swept through her in pure need to find her human form.  She reminded herself of her small framed curvy body, long brown hair, deep silver eyes, and cheeks she always thought were a little too chubby.

This was the most difficult part about being a werewolf and the control over the wolf within her was a struggle. Of course, it would be since she’d been thrust into this life only a few days ago. She shouldn’t be so hard on herself. Still, it came with frustration that the shift came as a challenge.

It didn’t help much that Rynn’s focus was off--still reeling from a conversation she had only an hour ago with new friends, Nexi and Kyden. To the supernatural world, they were Guardians.  Well, Nexi was part Witch too.  They’re also part of the Council’s Guard--the leaders of the Otherworld. As Guardians, they policed the supernatural races that live within the Earthworld.

The memory of the shocking conversation replayed in her mind.

Nothing about Nexi was normal. Sure, her to-die-for body, dirty blonde locks, country home girl features were all the same, but it was her hazel eyes that sank Rynn’s heart. The spunkiness that lived within them was gone--darkness and despair was all to be seen. Something wasn’t right.

“Nexi?” Rynn questioned, as she examined her further.

What was going on here? This wasn’t how she remembered Nexi. The Nexi she met was full of zest, happiness, and extremely strong in confidence, not the anguished woman before her.

Sure, she didn’t know her all that well--they’d only met a few nights ago after the brutal attack in her hometown of Plymouth, Minnesota, that now allowed her to stand on all fours.

After she first experienced herself in fluffy form, she was too frightened to shift back to her human form, too terrified to accept that this was now her life. Then came Nexi who shared her story, which in turn, showed they had very similar paths.  Both were normal young women who came from rural cities in the United States who had awakened to the world of the supernatural.

The connection with Nexi was instant. The bond of friendship allowed the fear to settle in Rynn and kept her to calm enough for the magic to release her back to human form, which was an entirely desperate situation.

If she hadn’t been able to shift back, the wolf within her would have taken over, which would have caused her to go mad. Crazed by the animal inside her that would need to seek out blood and kill. If that happened, Valor would have to destroy her.  Needless to say, Nexi was a Godsend.

Rynn was happy to note that Valor had no intention of harming her.  As the Patriarch, ruler over the Alphas of the United States it would have fallen on him to take care of her. He fit the part of Alpha too. He was big and powerful with strong shoulders, thick dark hair and dark eyes that demanded you kneel at his feet. Rynn often wondered if that was the power he held over her as a wolf, or if that was just his thing. She still hadn’t figured it out.

Rynn knew enough about Nexi to know something was off. She searched deeper into Nexi’s eyes for any sign of the woman she had met. Finding none, she glanced at Briggs, bewildered. “Something is terribly wrong. What’s happened?”

Kyden cleared his throat, drawing Rynn’s gaze to his. Kyden was always serious but calm. He wore his warrior look well. It wasn’t just his sculpted body and strong cut features--it was his aura.  Tonight however, he seemed weakened--distraught. “It has become known that Nexi is the destined to Magnus.”

Briggs interjected before Rynn could comprehend Valor’s words, his brows raised in surprise. “Magnus, as in The Lord of the Underworld?”

Kyden gave a firm nod, his jaw clenched tight.

Rynn didn’t understand any of this. “But I thought...” she hesitated, remembering the past few days. The last she heard, Nexi had accepted Kyden as her mate. They were to be bonded soon--a marriage of non-supernaturals. She cleared her mind and asked, “Aren’t you being bonded soon?”

Kyden nodded again. “Indeed we are.”

Rynn glanced at Briggs who looked desolate. “What does that mean?” She couldn’t comprehend any of this.  Nothing made sense.

“Destined bonds overrule the bonds of the heart,” Briggs replied, his eyes sad.

That was all that needed to be said for Rynn to understand. Nexi’s time with Kyden would soon to be over. She could see the heartbreak in every pair of eyes around her. No matter how much Nexi loved Kyden, wanted him, her soul wouldn’t allow it.

Rynn wanted to know more, but it wasn’t her place to interrogate them. A sense of dread filled her as something else bothered her. Rynn glanced at Briggs, needing clarification. “There is an Underworld? Like demons and scary things like that?”

Briggs nodded hesitantly.

She suspected he never told her because she was just coming around to the idea of there being an Otherworld.  Home to Werewolves, Vampires, Guardians and Witches. Even though, the only ones allowed to live there worked for the Council directly, all others, including the werewolves, lived in the Earthworld.  The Otherworld was nothing to be afraid of and she’d seen for herself that what existed there was good. But she knew enough to know anything that lived within the Underworld couldn’t be good.  Even if she didn’t know for sure, the horrified expressions around her would have told her as much.

Still, she couldn’t wrap her head around it all. She needed more answers.

“And you are going to be mated to their leader?” As Nexi gave a soft nod, Rynn’s mystification turned into disparity. She had enough common sense to understand that this is about as bad as it gets.

“We have to do something to help you.” Nexi had been nothing but kind to Rynn, she saved her life, and Rynn felt compelled to do the same. She glanced at Briggs. “What can we do to help her?”

Briggs sighed, and the simple sound said it all . Nexi didn’t stand a chance at overcoming this. Rynn breathed deep, tears filled her eyes.  Instead of comforting her, Briggs stepped toward Nexi, reached down and embraced her. He hugged tight and looked at Rynn, “Nothing I’m afraid, darlin’.”

Just as his grip tightened, Nexi stiffened immensely and Kyden ripped Nexi from his arms, latched onto her.

Kyden glanced over Nexi’s head. “She needs the connection.”

 “He can’t let me go,” Nexi whispered.

Rynn’s stomach clenched in horror. It was already that lost. The full reality of the situation hit.

Nexi was losing herself without Kyden’s contact.  Her mind drifted from the love they shared. Rynn would have thought it strange, if she’d hadn’t felt it for herself.  The mate bond was powerful. Her own connection with Briggs showed her that. She understood what was happening--it wouldn’t be long before Nexi’s heart belonged to another.

After a moment of silence, Kyden said, “We have some news of the attack on Rynn.”

Briggs gave Kyden a curious look. “The attack on Rynn?”

Rynn was equally confused. She assumed the wolf had attacked her, bit her, then left her there when he was finished. She wasn’t expecting there to be more.

Before she could ask, Nexi whispered, “It was the beginning.”

“The beginning of what?” Rynn exclaimed.

Kyden looked at Briggs. “A revolution in the Underworld.”

“Against Magnus?” Briggs inquired.

Kyden nodded. “You know of the Warlock, Pye?”

“Aye,” Briggs replied, then looked at Rynn.  “He’s a powerful Warlock who wants to rule the Underworld, but has never succeeded to gain control.”

Kyden continued, “To dethrone Magnus, Pye needed to further his strength. His followers bewitched wolves to kill women of a pure nature.”

Rynn blushed. It was true that the night of the attack, the man had stolen the one thing that would forever scar her soul. He stole her virginity--her purity. “So...” she said hesitantly, reminded of the horror of that night, and also trying to piece together this new information. “If they needed their virginity, why did they...” she paused again and gulped deeply. “Take it away.”

“It was the process. By taking the woman’s virginity, they were draining the purity of the soul. It’s how they gained power from it.” Nexi replied.

Rynn placed her hands on her heart, confused. “But I still have my soul.” She glanced at Briggs. “Don’t I?”

Briggs wrapped his arm around her. “Of course you do, darlin’.” Then, he looked at Kyden. “Why did they go to such measures as to overtaking these wolves, and not just do it themselves?”

Kyden embraced Nexi tighter, and she melted into him. “If the Witches were not killing themselves, Magnus would not know Pye was plotting against him. It was a decoy.”

Rynn couldn’t put it all together. “Why then? Why do I still have my soul?”

“Magnus destroyed the wolf attacking you before he could drain you,” Kyden replied, his tone cold.

Rynn glanced at Briggs, who looked equally befuddled. “Why would he do that?” She never met or heard of this Magnus. Why would he help her?

Rynn glanced back at Nexi as she continued. “Magnus knew of Pye’s plan and intervened to stop him. He knew of my relationship with Valor and helped Rynn so that I would be close to Valor.  Then, he stole Dante’s soul knowing that I would do anything to get it back. He agreed to return it to me, only if I destroyed his only threat in the Underworld, Pye.” Tears filled her eyes, her lip quivered. “Now, of course we know that wasn’t the only reason he wanted me close.”

Briggs growled deep and low. “To know the danger that was caused because of Magnus’ desires.”  He growled again.  “And Dante’s life could have been lost.  Now, you…” His voice drifted away, sadness filled his expression.

Rynn remained silent.  What could she say?  This was horrible.

“Valor had not made me aware that Dante was in danger at the time and said nothing of it until he returned with him intact. As he told to me, Nexi had killed Pye in return of Dante’s soul.” Briggs clenched his teeth.  “I should have been there to help her, Maybe I could have changed the outcome so Nexi wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Nexi shook her head.  “There is nothing you could have done.”

Rynn put a hand on Briggs’ arm. As he glanced down at her, some of the torment running through him eased, immediately.

He looked torn as he said, “If Magnus hadn’t concocted this plan of his, Rynn’s life would have been lost the night she was attacked but now, Nexi is losing hers.” He finally looked away from Rynn and glanced at Nexi. “This comes with mixed feelings.”

“I know,” Nexi replied just as soft. She reached forward, kept her hand connected with Kyden and hugged Briggs. “I wouldn’t change any of this if it meant Rynn survived.” Her gaze hit Rynn’s. “Remember that.”

Pulled back into the present, Rynn’s heart throbbed in pain for Nexi and Kyden, probably because she could relate. She had someone taken from her too.

Her Grandfather, Pops, had been stolen years ago by the crippling horror of Alzheimer’s. It’s the reason she took all this werewolf business in stride. There wasn’t only herself to think about here. Rynn wasn’t selfish.

Besides, thanks to Valor, Pops now resided in an upscale hospital in Utah. That reason was why she sucked up this wolf stuff and accepted it. He’s somewhere better and nicer. That was her priority.

When she was four, Pops stepped in to raise her when her parents decided being junkies was more important. Did they object? No. Why would they? Drugs ruled their lives.

Pops was the kindest, gentlest soul on earth and treated her like a treasure growing up. Now because of his disease he couldn’t even remember her. He was like a vacant vessel. Gone forever, yet still alive. A cruel disease in every way. Death would’ve been better, but Rynn would never admit to that. She needed him. Loved him.

Still, she hadn’t had the chance to go and see him yet, since she was too unstable as a werewolf. The danger for him was too great if she shifted before his eyes. She wouldn’t risk his life. But it didn’t make it any easier to deal with. She missed him with an ache in her heart that left her empty.

Luckily, someone had made it his job to fill that ache. Her mate Briggs, who nuzzled his damp nose into her side.

It’s a strange thing to meet your soul-mate and instantly fall in love, but that’s exactly what happened. Briggs couldn’t have said it better in the conversation with Nexi and Kyden--your destined mate overrules everything else.  Trust is born in the very moment you accept it.

Not only is he sweet, but also sexy as hell. She couldn’t have chosen a better mate for herself. Letting fate take the wheel wasn’t a hard thing to do.

He brushed up against her again. The contact with his nose on her side was an instant connection to force the change within her. Her breath caught as the pure rush hit, sending her elongated vision to become foggy. The sharp scents around her returned to normal levels, and her hearing hushed as she found her human form.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t anything painful about the transformation. Just more of a shift in senses--everything weakened as a human. Within seconds of the blast of magic, the change occurred.  No bones breaking or muscles tightening, it was over before Rynn even knew it began. As an added bonus, after the shift, her clothes appeared back on her body. How that worked, Rynn still hadn’t figured out, but she was glad for it. Walking around in her birthday suit didn’t hold much appeal.

When her eyes opened, she found Briggs’ smile. His yellow eyes were tight with joy, his sharp angled face was cocked to the side with his brown hair spiked messily, and his lips were soft and inviting with a perfect curve.

He made everything all right--everything less scary.  She felt right where she belonged. No matter what happened, she would always have him to make life good. Sometimes hearing how quickly love can be taken away, as she’d seen with Kyden and Nexi, made her appreciate just how lucky she is.

 “Getting easier to shift isn’t it, darlin’?” Briggs asked.

Rynn gave a half-hearted shrug. “A little, but I think it’s because of your touch. I doubt I could do that without it.”

“My contact is just helping filter the magic through our bond, stabilizing you. Don’t worry, it will come. Just give it time.”

Time. That was the thing. They’d spent days working on controlling her wolf and getting to know each other, considering they were together for a lifetime.

A long lifetime at that.  That’s just another surprise she had to swallow. Werewolves were immortal, which meant, she was too. Having Briggs around made the acceptance easier. A thousand life times with him wasn’t hard to take.

He said that he’d be everything she needed or wanted, and he sure lived up to it. His focus was for her alone and it’d been a long time since she had someone to depend on.

After a sigh of settlement, she glanced out to the beauty around her. Valor’s log ranch style house was her home now, located in Cache Valley, Utah, set deep in a valley surrounded by evergreens and uninhabited land.

She couldn’t argue it was a big step up, and one she’d become quite used to. After Pops got sick, which was close to her eighteenth birthday, she ended up living on her own. Needless to say, it is far from glamorous.

The money Pops had gathered through his life was scarce and only provided for a year of his care. With the few hundred left over, she moved into a one-room suite at Hotel Shit Hole with lovely neighbors such as drug addicts, strippers and runaways.

As friendly as the runaways were, she couldn’t connect with them. She would have given anything to have a family that loved her. And even more, ones who remembered her.

So that was her life. Working at a coffee shop, restaurant and a bar to keep the bills paid at the nursing home, keep her fed, a roof over her head and clothes on her back. Mindless work, but she needed the money and slapped a smile on her face every day. No matter how sad she felt inside.

Now, experiencing all this, going back to the slums didn’t appeal to her and there wasn’t a single thing she missed about Plymouth, Minnesota.

Briggs sighed deeply, drawing Rynn’s gaze.  He focused on their joined hands. As of late, this uneasiness in him grew. If she hadn’t been able to sense it through their mate bond--which was just an added bonus, saved the unknowns in the relationship--she’d see it written hard on his face. “What’s wrong?”

He glanced out to the paddock of horses that rested alongside Valor’s home. Then, he looked back to meet her gaze. “I have a duty that I need to return to.”

 “You have to go back to work?” Rynn asked with hesitation. She understood that he worked for Valor. Briggs was his Beta--what that all entailed she still wasn’t sure.

His nodded softly. “Valor has been kind to let me have a few days off so I can be with you and tend to your needs, but it is necessary that I return in my duties to him.”

Fear tingled through her and tension filled her body. She couldn’t be without him. This crazy situation was only okay with him beside her. He couldn’t leave her alone--ever.

Without warning, a familiar sense of power sucked her breath back into her body. Her stomach clenched, her entire body shivered as a loud moan escaped her mouth. Her senses sharpened.


Briggs’ smile was kind as he looked down to her now fluffy form. “Now don’t go doing that.”

This was a perfect display of why seeing Pops was out of the question. When her emotions ran high, she’d shift. A big no-no in the werewolf world.  They never shifted in front of humans. Their existence a secret for obvious reasons, since humans are curious creatures, and who knows what they’d do to werewolves if they captured one.

Briggs caressed her furry head slowly, giving her a chastising look. “You’ll come with me wherever I go.”

Rynn leaned into his hand. Instantly, it calmed and settled her nerves. His touch felt wonderful. But it was only good, if he moved slowly. If he rushed it, it was game over. She was still shaken by her attack and touches still scared her.

Had she dealt with it? No.

Did she want to? No.

Was she going to have to? Yes.

But not right now.

Briggs’ voice was low and soft. “Come back to me now.”

Rynn closed her eyes and let the magic release. Calmness washed over her as she focused back on her human form--remembered her features, the senses a human holds--the weakness of it. Briggs’ touch helped. His contact seemed to steady the magic. Force it out. It took a few minutes, but she eventually shimmied back to herself.

“I get to come with you?” she whispered, glancing down.

He placed a finger under her chin, lifted her gaze to meet his. “You think I’d leave ya behind?”

The look on his face told her how ridiculous that notion that was, but how could she think otherwise. “I did.”

His fingers left her chin, softly caressed the edge of her jaw. “I know you haven’t had anyone to count on in some time, and those that you should have been able to count on have failed you.” Fierceness flashed through his eyes. “I will not be one of them. You can trust in that.”

She sighed, from the pain of truth those words held, but also from the knowledge that she could always depend on Briggs. It was nice to have that to rely on.

A growl rose from deep in his throat. “It disgusts me to hear of your upbringing.” He shook his head in revulsion and dropped his hand from her face. “Those parents of yours.”

“It’s not really their fault, you know,” she replied in earnest.  “They can’t help it. Drug addiction is a disease. I don’t hold anything against them for it.”

Briggs’ jaw clenched, his eyes narrowed. “You are very kind to offer them forgiveness for mistreating you. No matter how you look at it, that is exactly what they’ve done and in the eyes of some that can never be forgiven.”

His eyes flashed angrily.  “Especially by me.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ultimate Duty - Marva Dasef

Today The Realms of Imagination is featuring:

Ultimate Duty by Marva Dasef

Let’s start by telling the reader’s a little bit about yourself.

How long have you been writing?

I lot of writers answer "my whole life." I doubt that. At least, I didn't come out of the womb with pen and paper in hand. Would have been interesting if I did.

What's your writing schedule like?

Being retired, I write when I feel like it. When I am working on something new, I treat it like a job with comfortable working hours and long lunches. In other words, I write every day for some number of hours, but I don't set a daily goal of any kind. The only time I did that was in a Nanowrimo a few years ago. That 50K ended up as a 38K kid's adventure, which I self-pubbed.

Do you plot out your stories before you write or do you just work it out as you go along?

I have been known to write fairly long outlined summaries. Most often, I stray from the outline and become a pantser instead of a plotter.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

I didn't write fiction except as assignments through school. A Creative Writing course in college got me to thinking. But those thoughts were put aside as I focused on technical writing, which made me plenty of money over the years. I did write a couple of short stories, but never pursued publication. When I retired I dragged out the few stories I had written to see if they were worth salvaging. One of those stories was "Pressure Drill." I rewrote a bit and sent it out. It was published not once, but twice. I liked the character and wrote another story about her. This also sold. Eventually I added enough to make it a novella titled "First Duty." It was published by Sam's Dot Publishing in 2008. When the contract expired, I decided to not renew it (it's still being sold at The Genre Mall) because I was thinking of a lot of good stuff to add including a few steamy love scenes. That made it adult reading. I then sold it to Eternal Press, and here we are now with the new and improved "Ultimate Duty."

Were you a science fiction lover from way back or was this a genre you only recently turned your talents to?

SF is my first choice in reading, although I enjoy fantasy and paranormal as well. When I was 15 or so, a friend of my brother's gave me a copy of "Stranger in a Strange Land." I was hooked, lined, and sinkered.

What other genre/genres would you love to write/dabble in, given the choice?

I've written just about every genre already. I found some genres I won't write, like women's literature. To be honest, I have no idea what "women" want to read as far as contemporary non-genre books. They bore me, so I couldn't write one if I tried. I'm dallying with the idea of steampunk, but I'd have to read a lot more before I'd feel confident.

So, what's up next?

A mystery/suspense novella titled "Missing, Assumed Dead" is scheduled for July 2011 from MuseItUp. MuseItUp also bought the first book in a middle-grade fantasy series about a witch who can't spell right. It's titled "Bad Spelling" (get it?) and is scheduled for October 2011. They also have books 2 and 3 and I'm hoping they'll take the entire series.

I have some ideas for a sequel to "Ultimate Duty" and another book in the Witch series. My beta readers have clamored for a follow up starring the witch girl's brother, a half-vamp, half-warlock smartass with huge magical talent. You can guess the sibling rivalry there.

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds.

Excerpt 1:

Remy and Garrett arrived at the outer wall path that led to the dock ports. Remy hoped at least one shuttle was still attached to the station. She dropped to the floor and peered down the slope of the passageway. Two guards stood at the entrance to bay 5. Luckily, they faced the opposite direction. Remy slid back and pointed silently, then held up two fingers. Garrett nodded and pointed left and then at himself. Remy nodded.

With no way to get any closer unseen, they must use speed instead. Both stepped back a couple of paces, so they’d hit the corner at full tilt. A nod from Garrett, and they sprinted through the twenty meters separating them from the guards. One guard turned to look only when Remy and Garrett were close enough to attack. The guard yelled, "Halt!" as he raised the barrel of his blaster. The second guard turned with a confused expression and didn’t manage to raise his own weapon before Remy reached him.

Remy felt her mind and body slip into fighting mode. Time slowed for her, and she noted every detail of the guard’s stance. She leaped high in the air, her legs coiled like springs. The second guard finally lifted his rifle but never had the chance to fire. Remy drove both feet into his abdomen, slamming him against the wall with the force of her strike. In the low gravity she landed easily on her feet crouched and ready. She crossed her arms against her torso, grabbing the guard’s belt with her left hand and prepared to strike with her right. The man’s eyes widened when Remy’s backhand arced toward him. The force of the blow across his jaw sent him tumbling to the floor.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2012: Timeline Apocalypse - Bob Nailor

Today The Realms of Imagination is featuring

2012: Timline Apocalypse by Bob Nailor

Let's start by telling the reader's a little bit about yourself.

How long have you been writing? 

Over 40 yrs but only seriously for the last 10 yrs.

What's your writing schedule like? 

Hectic. I'm retired and most people would think I have more free time than ever (and I also was under that delusion) but I'm busier now than when I worked full time. I'm still trying to figure out how I did everything back then. As to when I can, whenever I'm not busy, but usually I find late evening to be the most productive. Let me slap on headphones, turn on some music and just type away.

Do you plot out your stories before you write or do you just work it out as you go along?  

I have a general plot outline with chapter concepts, etc. I also attempt to make a character list. BUT, I never, ever use stone and always buy extra erasers. In one novel I wrote, the chapter expanded and exploded into 8 more chapters before I got back to the original outline. It was great and I couldn't write fast enough to find out what was going to happen next. The upside to that was an extra 20k of words.

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer? 

It was back in high school.  I was the kid everyone hated - I loved to write thesis and the teachers always expected my essay answers to be quite wordy. I wrote my first short story to submit -- and it took quite a few years to get over the rejection from Children's Highlights.

Were you a fantasy lover from way back or was this a genre you only recently turned your talents to? 

Oh, wow. Fantasy. I started out with some kids sci-fi in grade school, then moved to Tarzan books in Jr. High. In High School I was introduced to the fantasy and sci-fi side of Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) and the rest is history. Strangely, I avoided Lord of the Rings for years since most of the people I heard discussing the book seemed so high faluting and searching for deeper meanings in the book. I picked up the Hobbit, started reading it that night and went back to buy the triology. I finished all four books in less than 2 weeks while I was in the Navy. I kept my paperbooks and was the guy flying with a suitcase full of them when I went home. My collection of nearly 400 books spanned over 30 yrs before it was lost to flooding.

What other genre/genres would you love to dabble in, given the choice?

Good question and I have already dabbled in adventure, horror, and romance, but fantasy and sci-fi are my first loves. I would love to
write a main stream fiction best seller but my mind isn't in that area
most of the time. Give me fantasy.

So, what's up next? 

Currently doing NaNoWriMo (10 yrs) and working on an Amazonian vampire story.  I have a fantasy series I'm cleaning up and hope to get it to a publisher by next year. Not to mention all the other novels I've written in the last 10 yrs doing NaNoWriMo.

Thanks for letting me have this opportunity.  Bob.

It is Wednesday, December 12, 2012. In nine days the Mayan calendar ends and an apocalyptic disaster will befall mankind. Ironically, the fate of the world is in the hands of Barry Hargrove, detective non-extraordinaire, who is in search of a relic he knows as the Baton of Time, and whose importance he does not fully comprehend.

After going to the museum to discover the theft and thief, Det. Barry Hargrove finally finds himself in southern Mexico at Palenque. There he meets a Mayan street urchin named Juan and then meets a sultry newscaster, Lucia Camal. He finally connects with the thief, a well-to-do doctor. When they join forces, suddenly the past is alive as the gods, K'ul'ulkan and Ah Pukah come into existence. Det. Barry Hargrove was sent to retrieve an item he knows only as the "Baton of Time" yet now he is searching for more as the ghostly chief, Chac Tun B'alam demands them to find the stolen artifacts. When Barry doesn't immediately return with the item, the museum gets upset.

A local shaman, hotel worker, mysterious housekeeper and young Mayan woman and her daughter all become pawns in the game to align things in preparation for the end of the Mayan calendar.

Chapter 1: The Call

Mayan Date: 8 Chuen 14 Mac ~

"O Mighty Sun God, K'inich Ahau, we honor you at this last of time. May this offering of flowing blood, sacred of the royal line, guide you on your path across the sky. May your light shine upon this house and its residents.

Give us your happiness and allow our enemies and those who incur your wrath to drown in your light. We have seen the shadow strangers and stand ready to accept, if they are friends or do battle, if enemies, as you desire."

     Prayer of Chac Tun B'alam
     Ruler of L'akam Ha

Metro City: 1:04 p.m., Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

I entered my apartment and locked the door behind me. The television, still on from earlier in the morning, blared the news of all the impending disasters. A volcano exploding on some distant island in the Pacific, forcing natives to be evacuated. Another earthquake had shaken most of the Andean mountain range. A huge solar flare which would cause major outages was due in about a week; there had been two smaller ones which offered some very spectacular light shows. Three planes had been hijacked and were currently circling London, Paris and Los Angeles. An epidemic of huge proportions, reminiscent of the Biblical plagues, was ravaging Egypt. The stock market was dropping. Doom and gloom was the hot topic. Like always, I let the television become background noise.

I shook my head disgustedly. My involvement level with all this end-of-world hullabaloo had become pretty low. Everyone seemed to be on the bandwagon. Besides, I had issues of my own and I felt most of these catastrophes could easily be explained. The stock market dropped back in 2008. It took some time but it rallied back up and once again had stabilized in the mid-1100s by the end of 2010. It wasn't the full recovery everyone had hoped for, but it was a stable one. The volcano exploding wasn't anything new; it had blown back in late 2009, a mere three years ago and was therefore, in what I like to call, a still relatively volatile status. Peru and Chile have had quakes since the beginning of time so this wasn't anything strange for them. As far as planes go, of late, it seemed to be the "hijack of the week" with different dissidents claiming it as their coup. This time it was animal activists and the newly formed al Kadaun People's Republic. So this week's radical groups had their bragging rights until the next hijack. The solar flares weren't anything to fret since we'd been having a lot of them of late. If the 'big' one actually did happen in about a week, it would be  what I call a fortuitous moment for the Fates. The Egyptian plague thing seemed new but why the sudden panic? Simple. Toss it into the fray. It was just part of the hoopla about the world ending in a couple of weeks; December 21, 2012. I still vividly remember the frenzy at the turn of the century with the 2000 scare. Some people went hysterical fearing the end of the world strictly because a simple electronic device couldn't deal with a four-digit year. People really needed to get a grip on reality.

I ambled into the kitchen and stood there staring at the cupboard contents, mulling over the possibilities for lunch. The can of chicken rice soup looked like an easy fix but a bowl of chili with rice sounded a little tastier. Of course, that meant more work. I grimaced, closed the cupboard doors and moved to the refrigerator. I opened the frig and took inventory: leftover fried chicken, some gamey tuna salad, a chunk of cheese with growing culture, three boxes of take-out, two beers and a partial bottle of cheap wine. Reheating a meal was faster than fixing one. I grabbed a beer and the top take-out box. Lunch surprise, I thought while lifting the lid of the container. I stared at the contents; it was still a minor mystery. Chinese. There was fried rice, broccoli, a dark sauce and chicken. I didn't see any seeds so that eliminated Sesame Chicken.

I thought back. Saturday night, Don and Elaine had set me up with a blind date; I think her name was Sheila. She'd ordered something with chicken. I shrugged my shoulders. Whatever it was, I popped it into the microwave, pushed some numbers, pressed 'Start' and then twisted the cap off the beer bottle. A refreshing slug of beer gushed down my throat; it was crisp, cold and satisfying. The TV in the living room caught my attention so I ambled into the room. Flopping into the recliner I almost spilled the beer.

"...and now live from Mexico."

The screen blinked from the news anchor, Jim Mc-something-or-other to an image of a young woman standing near a pile of stones.

"This is Lucia Camal and I'm standing near the Temple of Inscriptions here at the Palenque ruins. We are watching the latest development of a new cult, which I'm told has quickly grown to very large proportions. Part way up you can see a scuffle as the followers of this cult are trying to hold back the authorities. We've been able to ascertain that at the very top, a self-proclaimed high priest of the Mayan religion is preparing for the first of many supposed sacrifices to K'inich Ahau. This is in conjunction with the Mayan calendar coming to an end next week."

The camera panned up to the figure near the top.

"He has a goat, which I was informed he will be sacrificing to the sun god."

A man, dressed in a dark body suit with a white skeleton printed on it and a skeleton mask strutted about the top of the temple, his robe of bold blue, black and white feathers flowed in the wind. He held a dark object that glittered in the sun. It was a knife - an obsidian knife. He raised the knife above his head using both hands, and then plunged the black blade into the animal with a single swoop. There was some movement then his hands came up, clasping a bloody mass. Blood oozed down his arms.

"Oh my god, he ripped the animal's heart out–"

The screen blacked out and reverted to a caught off-guard news anchor flipping a pen into the air while his feet rested on the desk. He grabbed at the pen, fumbled it and watched it roll to the edge and fall off. In his hasty attempt to sit up, Jim Mc-something-or-other nearly fell out of the chair.

"What? Uh, yes, folks, we'll have more information after this word from our sponsors."

Jim Mc-something-or-other slapped on an insincere smile for the camera while straightening some papers on the anchor desk. The commercial cut in.

The phone rang, startling me from the hypnotic view of the screen. I sat back in my chair, reached over and grabbed the receiver.

"Hargrove Detective Agency," I snapped before realizing I wasn't at the office.

"Mr. Hargrove?" A timid voice asked. "Ah... er... are you Detective Barry Hargrove?"

"Yes," I replied and frowned. "Can I help you?" In the kitchen I heard the microwave chirp. It had finished and was waiting for me to remove the food.

"Hello. My name is Dr. Alvarez Martinez," he said. "I am in... If you could... Would you be willing to accept a case, Mr. Hargrove? I realize this is very short notice."

There was a pause. A case? He had definitely piqued my interest. I mean, after all, it was work. Things had been a little slow at the office, so anything would be a start. Of course, I was curious as to why he was calling me at home. Then I realized I'd put the office phone on call-forwarding.

"Sure," I said nonchalantly. "Exactly what are the details of the case?"

"Perhaps we could discuss this at my office," Martinez said. "Is there any particular time which would be convenient for you? Later today? Maybe tomorrow?"

"Any time after nine tomorrow will work." I replied. "Of course, I could stop by this afternoon if that's better." I still had no idea what was happening or where I was going but it sure sounded like I'd be taking the case. That was a good thing. The sooner I started, the sooner I collected some much-needed money.

"Nine thirty tomorrow would be fine," he said and proceeded to give me the address. "Oh, wait. I have a meeting at nine forty-five. Hmm?" There was a pause. "You said this afternoon? Could you be here by two thirty? I realize that it would be tight but–"

"See you then, Dr. Martinez," I replied cutting him off while scribbling his name and address on the newspaper in front of me.

"Fine. Fine," he said absently. "See you then."

"G'bye." I slammed the phone into its cradle.

I glanced at my watch. 1:20 p.m. I didn't have much time. I grabbed my coat and keys and left the microwave chirping: a hot dog from a street vendor was a better bet than that mystery container of salmonella in the microwave.