Tired

I’m preparing for a move. That can be exhausting enough but this move will be a little different. We will be moving to our property and living in an RV/tents this summer while our house is being built. I’m trying to figure out all the things we will need and the things we won’t need so it won’t take up valuable space.

It should be an exciting adventure. I’m just trying to make sure our family is as ready as they can be for the change. I am looking forward to less screen time as a family. Hopefully we can go on some fun hikes. The boys are hoping to find elk horns, since we have a herd that moves through the property.

Me . . . I’m a little worried about the cougars and bears. I’m trying to build a chicken coop that will hopefully be predator resistant.

Sadly with some of this change I’ve been a little slower than I planned on getting the second book of Soul Conquest out. I’m very close. Hopefully once we are settled in I will have lots of time to finish getting it ready to send to my editor.

Now back to cleaning and packing.

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The Secret Keeper–last half of the story

Ten hours later Tearden was on a plane to America. He’d always wanted to travel but had never had the money. Now he was going on somebody else’s dime. By the way the men kept glancing at him when they thought he wasn’t looking, he couldn’t tell if they didn’t trust him or feared him. The Nicolae hadn’t been a people to fear for the last few centuries. Before that peopled feared they would come and steal their daughters but that was a thing of the past. So it must be that these men don’t trust me, he concluded.

I guess I did lie to them, he thought as he looked out the plane window. But I don’t trust them yet either. The last thing I want them to know is that I inherited a few gifts from Dracul as well.

“We’ll be landing in a few minutes.” David said from the seat next to him.

Tearden was suddenly nervous. I hope I haven’t made a mistake, he thought.

An hour later he was about to enter a building that he could feel had over 60 Nicolae inside. David and Nicholas had implied they had only captured one of the Nicolae. Tearden was led to a room on the fourth floor. There were several men staring at an empty room through a window. A greying man stepped forward.

“You must be Tearden. We’re glad you could join us. My name is Bill and I’m in charge of this investigation. In a couple of minutes we will be interrogating one of the Nicolae. I’ve been informed by Nicholas that that’s what you know them as?”

Tearden nodded. The door to the room opened and a tall muscular soldier brought in a middle aged dark haired man that was undoubtedly Nicolae. The soldier directed him to sit in one of two chairs that sat on either side of a metal table and then stood against the wall. Bill nodded to one of the men and they left the room Tearden was in and then entered the room with the Nicolae.

“Hello Danny, my name is Nick and I’m going to ask you a few question. Are you aware of the consequences if you don’t answer?”

Tearden had never seen a Nicolae look so scared. Not in all of his ancestors memories. “What consequences is he talking about?” He asked Bill.

“For the moment just observe. We’ll discuss things later.”

Maybe this was his purpose. He and his ancestors had always wondered why they were able to access the memories of those that had died before. Every contact his ancestors had ever had with the Nicolae he had knowledge of. He could feel when one of them was near and even pinpoint their exact location. Tearden knew much more about the Nicolae than he planned on letting the Americans know about.

I can make a difference, he thought. Maybe I can help them . . . maybe they’ll let me join them.

Tearden focused back on the interrogation.

“How many of you are there?”

“I don’t know.”

“Tell me how many you know about then.”

Danny paused and licked his lips, obviously nervous. “I can’t tell you how many I know about.”

“Why not?”

“Only our king can give you information relating to us as a people.”

“How about you give it to me anyway.”

“Please . . . I . . . can’t.”

Nick, the interrogator, nodded toward the window and Bill turned to one of the men standing behind them and nodded.

“Go ahead August. One cut on the arm.” The man as he tapped a device in his ear.

Tearden quickly turned back to the interrogation and watched as a cut mysteriously appeared on Danny’s arm.

“Please, stop hurting her! I’ll tell you everything I can!”

“Okay, how many Nicolae do you know about?”

Tearden could see the panic on Danny’s face.

“I told you I’m not able to tell you. If I could . . . I swear I would.”

Another nod and another cut appeared on Danny’s arm.

“Please . . . ask me something else.”

“Fine. What exactly do you mean when you say you can’t?” Nick asked.

“I physically can’t. If I opened my mouth to tell you, I wouldn’t be able to speak and if I tried to write the information, my hand would be stopped. I can’t give you information that is forbidden, no matter how desperately I wish to. So there is no point in torturing her.”

“Tell me about your king then.”

“There’s not much to tell. He left us around 300 years ago and we haven’t seen him since. We’ve searched but haven’t been successful. That’s about all I’ll probably be able to tell you.”

“You really haven’t been very helpful.” Nick said, nodding at the window.

“Stop!” Danny yelled when another cut appeared on his arm. “What have we done? We haven’t hurt anyone. What right do you have to hold us here?”

“We have a right to protect the American people.” Nick said.

Tearden turned towards Bill. “Let the poor man go. I can give you more information than he can.”

“Really? The facts you gave my men were barely bread crumbs.”

“I had no reason to trust them. I’m not sure I trust you, but I might be able to help both parties.”

Bill spoke into an earpiece and Nick stood up and addressed the soldier. “Take him back.”

Tearden watched as Danny was escorted out of the room, blood still dripping from the three cuts on his arm.

Tearden followed Bill out of the room and into a conference room on the same floor. Four other men joined them and sat around a table. “This is Tearden.” Bill said addressing the other men. “He has some information on the men with powers. Apparently they are called Nicolae. Please introduce yourselves.”

“I’m Josh.” The youngest looking man said first.

“My name’s Nathan.” The next said with a smile.

“Dale.”

“My name’s Anthony.” The last man stated, with a nod.

Tearden know nothing about any of them, other then their names but he already liked Nathan and Anthony best. Dale was his least favorite. He seemed . . . well, kind of cold.

“Now that that’s taken care of what can you tell us?”

Tearden took a deep breath. “First off, Danny was right. They won’t be able to tell you anything that will jeopardize their safety or give you any real information about their king, so it would be pointless to continue to interrogate them. However if you found their king, then you could ask him all the questions you want.”

“And I assume you are able to give us that information?” Bill said, leaning forward onto the table.

“I can . . . but before I do, I would like you to promise, in writing, that if you are able to bring him in, I get to be a part of the interrogation.”

“Agreed. Dale, right it up.”

Tearden watched as a document was printed and signed.

“Now . . . what do you know?” Bill said sliding the paper to Tearden.

“The king has a mark on the underside of each wrist in the form of an intricate dragon. They would be mistaken for a tattoo but there not man made. The mark on his left wrist he was born with and will be void of color. The one on the underside of his right wrist will be even more vivid and detailed and will contain many shades and colors.”

“He’ll look between the ages of 21 and 45, regardless of how old he really is. He may have boys but the oldest son will have a similar dragon on his left wrist. About 150 years ago the king at that time told my ancestor that they were headed to America. I’m guessing his descendants are still here.”

“That’s not much to go on.” Bill said.

“The only other thing I can think of that might help is he’ll have moved around a lot. The king can live up to 200 years, so he can’t stay in one place very long. I’m guessing he would also change his name frequently. Also, I doubt he would live anywhere near the Nicolae. He’s been hiding from them for the last 300 years. If any of them saw him they would recognize him.”

“Thank you. Is there anything else?”

“Not that I can think of at the moment.”

“Well If you think of anything call me immediately. Josh will take you to your apartment.” Bill said, dismissing him.

Tearden didn’t hear from anyone for over a week. He quickly got bored of sitting in his apartment and spent the days exploring the city. Josh had given him a credit card to use for food and other needed items, so Tearden took advantage of the time and money to explore different restaurants and shops.

One night as he sat and watched TV the doorbell rang for the first time. Tearden tentatively moved toward the door not sure of what to expect. He looked through the peephole and quickly opened the door.

“They found the king,” Josh said. “Bill wants you to come immediately.”

Tearden ran inside and quickly put on his shoes. Finally, Tearden thought, both terrified and excited. If I don’t do this right, I could be considered a traitor to both America and the Nicolae. But on the other hand I could be a hero. He thought as he left with Josh.

 

The Secret Keeper

One of the problems with being the holder of a secret centuries old is the constant worry that someone will find out. And when they do . . .

Tearden was such a keeper. He was the great, great, great . . . never mind it was just to many greats to mention. The point is, he was a descendant of one of the most vicious men in history, a man that only his descendants were aware had even existed.

Now there were legends . . . everyone in these parts knew those, but the legends only scratched the surface of who the Nicolae really were. This was the secret passed down to Tearden, a secret that came in the form of memories from his ancestors, every last one of them. It was a lot of information to sort through and a lonely secret to keep.

So when two men in suits knocked on his door asking him if he knew anything about the legends of the Nicolae, he was both terrified and excited.

“May we come inside?”

Tearden swallowed and opened the door for them to enter.

“Please sit down.” The tall brown haired man invited Tearden.

Shouldn’t I be the one inviting my guests to sit, Tearden thought as he sat down in the chair opposite them.

“My name is Nicholas Kline and this is David Robertson,” The tall man said gesturing toward his shorter, stockier companion. “We did some DNA testing on a young man in the U.S. and discovered that he came from this region of the world. In an attempt to find more answers we came here. An old woman a couple towns over said that you might have more information for us.”

The men waited patiently for Tearden to reply. “I’m sorry . . . exactly what information are you looking for?” Tearden said.

“There’s a legend in these parts about a mysterious people called the Nicolae. We want to know how they came to control magic and we’re pretty sure you can tell us.”

“What makes you think I would know anything more then the rest of the town?”

“We’re good at what we do.” David, the shorter man said, speaking for the first time.

“Well? Nicholas asked expectantly.

“Okay . . . well, first off, I don’t think magic is the right word.”

“When and how, did they got this magic or whatever it is you want to call it.”

Tearden took a deep breath and decided to tell them just a little more than what the legends told, “It’s the ability to manipulate matter at will and it started about 100 AD.”

“Do you have this ability?”

“No.” Although Tearden was void of the ability to manipulate matter, he did inherit something from that ancestor of his and these men did not need to know about it. Tearden didn’t mind that he hadn’t inherited all that the Nicolae had. Their power came with a high price. One that Tearden was glad he didn’t have to pay.

“How is it you know about them?”

“Tearden certainly wasn’t going to let them in on the fact that he was a descendant of this heinous man from history. My ancestor was in the same village as their ancestor.” He would keep his real relation a secret. “The knowledge has been shared from father to son for generations.”

“So if you don’t know how it started, can you share what you do know about this power’s origin?”

This is where Tearden needed to be careful. If they found out that the power and curse had affected his ancestors as well even if it was in a different way, then they might want more from him than just answers.

“What I know . . . is that a cruel and viscous man showed up in my ancestors village with the power to control matter. This man and his followers decimated the people killing and raping. His name was Dracul. One man from the village was determined to stop him. The people were not hopeful. What could they do against such power?”

“A couple of years later the man returned. He said that the only way to stop Dracul was for a virgin to willingly put herself in a position where Dracul would notice her. If Dracul harmed her in any way it would bring a curse on him and his followers. Much to the man’s dismay, his own daughter volunteered. When Dracul returned to pillage the village again, this young woman made sure she caught his attention. What happened next isn’t really understood. We know that Dracul raped her and then became furious and left the village with the girl and his men. Every year the descendants of Dracul would show up in the surrounding areas for a day stealing young girls of marriageable age and then disappear again. This happened up until a few hundred years ago when those attacks stopped. There hasn’t been any sign of them since.”

“Did anyone ever try to go after them and get their daughters back?”

“Many did. They would follow their tracks into the mountains but at some point the tracks just stopped. No one was ever able to find or recover their girls.”

“Why do you think it stopped?” Nicholas said.

“I have no idea.” Tearden lied.

“Have you ever met these people?”

“No.” Tearden lied again.

“You seem to know more then anyone else we’ve talked to. Why?” David asked.

“Like I said, my ancestor came from the same village. The knowledge has been passed down to me.”

“There were other people in this village as well that lived to tell the tale?” Nicholas asked, cocking his head slightly.

“Of course.” Tearden swallowed nervously.

“Why is it . . . that you seem to be the only descendant to know any real detail?”

“My ancestor was the village bard. He was afraid that Dracul might come back and seek revenge on the village, so he left, and passed the history to his eldest son, charging him to keep it a secret.” This time Tearden only told a half lie. It was true, that his ancestor left the village with his family but his ancestor was never a village bard.

“Exactly what secret was your ancestor afraid would be known?” David asked.

Oops, Tearden thought scrambling for an answer. “That they had the power to manipulate matter.” He responded a little too quickly.

“The whole village would have known that. I don’t think you’re being completely honest with us and I’m wondering why.” Nicholas said.

“What exactly do you think I’m hiding?” Tearden asked defensively.

“I think you know what happened to them and where they went. I think you’ve met them personally, and I also believe you have a very good idea of their powers.” Nicholas said.

Tearden stood up. “I think you can leave. I’ve been very hospitable to two American strangers and don’t appreciate the accusations.”

“I don’t think you understand. We’re in a bit of a crisis and we think you can help us out.” Nicholas said.

“We would like you to come with us to America. We’ve found some of these people, your people, and we would like you to help us figure out what we should do with them.” David said,

Tearden’s curiosity was peaked. “They are not my people, and did you just say you have the Nicolae in captivity?”

“We do.” David said.

Tearden walked over to the window and looked outside, while he contemplated the ramifications of going with them. If I refuse . . . I wonder if they would take me by force. Then again if I went with them willingly . . . I could . . .

“I’ll go.” Tearden said. “But I expect to be treated respectfully and not like some criminal.

“Why would you think we would treat you any other way?”

“I’m just making sure we understand that I’m coming on as a consultant and will expect payment and accommodations.”

“Agreed. You will be expected to sign a confidentiality agreement before we leave.”

“Fine.”

****

End to the first half of a short story based off of a character in one of my books. Second half to come next week.

Mood Setting Music

When I write I prefer to do so in silence. I’ve heard that a lot of authors like to listen to certain music when they’re writing but I can’t do it. It’s far to distracting. I don’t even listen to classical. I do love music and sometimes a certain song will ring true to a story I’m writing.

That was true at the time that I was writing “Soul Conquest The Ultimate Trial.” Two songs really seemed to fit the mood of the book. The first is from the group Creed, and the song is “One Last Breath.” The other song that fit my book was “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” by Green Day. I usually listen to the radio versions though, which takes out the cussing.

My general taste in music is top 40 songs that aren’t explicit or openly sexual in nature. Some of the groups I listen to are; One Republic, Imagine Dragons, and Coldplay. I also like most 80’s music. I like a lot of other music as well but don’t pay attention to the group or the song title.

If you’ve read my book check out the music and lyrics to both songs and tell me what you think. Also if you write, do you listen to music?

Happy Mothers day

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I received a mother’s day gift from my husband a little early this year. He was super excited and made sure to catch my reaction on video. As you can see it’s not the usual present.

I had mentioned a few weeks ago as we were out working on the property that I had seen smaller chainsaws and thought it would be cool to get one in the future so that I could help with some of the bigger jobs. I can’t handle his big one.

He remembered the comment and went to check them out. Turned out this one was on sale. So like a puppy in the window it came home with him.

A very cute side to this whole thing is that my eight year old saw that his dad gave me a mother’s day gift early and that made him want to do the same. I could not convince him to wait until Sunday. The flowers come out of the pot and have things written on the back, such as, do chores without fussing, etc. I LOVE BEING A MOM!!!!

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Happy Mothers Day to all of you woman out there who have children or make a difference in a child’s life!

If you have a fun mothers day gift story from the past please share?

Sleep

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I remember when I used to be able to sleep anywhere. It didn’t matter if it was concrete, wood, grass, couch, or carpet. Now, even with a comfortable bed I might not sleep that well.

The first thing I thought of when I saw my son asleep on the kitchen tile floor was of all of the comfortable places to sleep in this house, why there? The very next thought was how tired he must be. It wasn’t until a couple of days later I remembered doing the same thing when I was about his age. I mean not exactly, but I do remember falling asleep on a concrete floor and feeling stiff but rested when I woke up.

How easily we forget. It’s nice to have those little reminders of my youth when I watch my kids. All kinds of memories surfaced when I thought about his crazy choice of sleeping areas.

One such memory was when we went camping in the Mt. Rainer National Forest and we, my two sisters and I, were all sleeping in two sleeping bags that were zipped together so that they were bigger. My dad had heated some rocks around the campfire and put them at the bottom of our sleeping bag. It was warm and cozy. There was however this one rock that was right where I was lying. I adjusted myself around that rock until I was comfortable and woke up the next morning very rested.

If you have a fun memory of sleeping in strange places as a teenager, please share.

 

The Choosing

I love to write fiction. One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with a blank screen and start typing with no idea what I’m going to write before hand. Those ideas often spring into fun amazing stories. Creating something from nothing is invigorating. It’s one of the wonderful parts of writing.

The rest of the writing process and marketing is not so much fun. I’m also very lousy at it. For a long time after I published my first book I only told close family and friends. When word spread a little farther, people would call me an author and I, sadly, would tell them that I was not. Fortunately I have changed that view and have come to love the different perspectives people have in regards to my stories. I love to hear what they think of the characters and their struggles. It has given me a greater desire to better improve my writing, and learn more of how to market and share my talent.

Today I thought I would share the beginning of a story that I started a couple of years ago. I hope to write more of it by the end of this year.

The Choosing

Gracen stood in the alley preparing himself for the heist. He was nervous and wasn’t sure why. This wasn’t the first time he’d stolen something. He had been stealing since he was twelve. This would be the most expensive item he’d ever lifted though. I can do this, he told himself. The owners knew him because he’d bought a couple of inexpensive items from them before and had browsed in the store several times. He knew they had come to trust him.

He took a deep breath and walked out of the alley and down the streets of China Town. When he got to the store front he walked in with a carefree ease that he’d done many times before. He nodded to the storeowner that was behind the counter reading a book. The man nodded to him and then went back to what he was reading.

Gracen walked lazily around the store and smoothly grabbed the expensive antique without breaking his casual stride. He continued to act bored and milled around the store for a couple more minutes as he made his way to the door. A sense of accomplishment and relief flooded him as his hand reached the doorknob. This piece would make it possible to get his mom and sister off the streets of New York.

The door squeaked as Gracen took his first step out of the store but that was as far as he got before he felt something hit the side of his head. Gracen fell to the ground stunned and in pain. Unsure of what just happened he tried to stand but someone kicked him in the gut, knocking the air out of him and causing the broken clay shards of the priceless antique to cut into his skin.

“Why, you’re a stinking thief!” The man said in surprise, when he saw the antique pieces drop from under his coat.

Gracen didn’t understand the storeowner’s surprise. Isn’t that why he attacked me, he thought as he tried to scramble for the door. The man grabbed him and lifted him up by his shirt and shoved him against the wall. Devin was surprised at the strength of the middle-aged storeowner. As much pain as Gracen was in at the moment he knew if he didn’t get away he’d be sent to Jail. Since he was only months from turning eighteen they would probably try him as an adult. With determination he started fighting and kicking to get away.

The storeowner pulled him away from the wall and smoothly torqued his right arm behind his back in such away that made him cry out and lean forward to try and relieve the pain. The Chinaman used his other arm to put Gracen in a headlock.

“After two hundred years this is who they choose to change. A lousy thief,” a feminine voice said.

A woman moved in front of him. She must be the storeowner’s daughter, Gracen thought as he struggled against the storeowner.

“Don’t even think of kicking her or I’ll break your wrist.” The man said in his ear.

Helpless to do anything Gracen watched as she held a large syringe in her hand and moved it toward his chest right over his heart.

Fear gripped him. What was in the syringe and what did she mean when she said ‘change’? Despite the pain Gracen struggled desperately to get away from the woman.

The sudden pain of the needle entering his chest was nothing compared to the burning he felt when she plunged the contents into his heart. He cried out in pain and the man let go of him. He fell to the floor and curled into a fetal position. The pain was quickly spreading throughout his body. Tears flowed unbidden from his eyes.

“Quick, we must get him into the back room before anyone sees.” The woman said. The two of them grabbed his arms and dragged him into the back.

****

Gracen woke up on a bed in a small room. I must’ve blacked out, he thought. He tried to sit up but was surprised when his body didn’t want to cooperate. After a couple of tries he could no longer keep his eyes open and drifted back into a dreamless sleep.

The sound of voices woke him, but this time he couldn’t manage the strength to open his eyes and quickly fell back into the black abyss. He got close to consciousness several more times but wasn’t able to pull himself fully awake. Finally he was able to open his eyes. An old Chinese women was sitting next to him. She put a hand under his head and lifted it enough so that he could sip from a cup. Immediately he felt a thirst that he hadn’t realized was there. He eagerly put his lips to the cup and swallowed.

He was so surprised by the unexpected bitter taste that he sputtered and coughed most of it into the old woman’s face. She calmly wiped the liquid from her wrinkled skin and then refilled the glass.

“You must drink. It will help you get your strength back,” she said as she tipped the glass toward his lips again.

This time he swallowed the bitter liquid. She gently laid his head back on the pillow. Gracen realized that he didn’t have the ability to lift it on his own.

“What did you . . . do to me?” Gracen asked, with a raspy voice.

‘There will be time to explain all of that later. Right now you need to rest.” She said as she got up to leave the room.

Gracen had never felt so helpless, not even when his dad had left them destitute. He wasn’t being restrained, yet he was completely helpless, void of any energy. I can’t even stay awake long enough to find out what they‘ve done to me, he thought as he felt himself begin to drift off to sleep again.

Hunger drove him awake this time. When he opened his eyes the storeowner was sitting next to him. He tried to sit up but only managed to lift his head.

“Good, you’re beginning to get some strength back.” He lifted a cup to his lips. “Drink it all. It has many things your body needs to recover.”

Gracen glared at the man, but did as he was told, to hungry to refuse. The china man refilled the cup twice more. Satisfied Gracen’s anger returned. “What did you do to me?”

“I’m a guardian, as was my father before me and his father. For centuries we have guarded a sacred solution. We were told to give it to the one chosen to protect this world.”

“Are you crazy.” Gracen said trying to sit up without success. “I’m as you said a thief and a 17 year old kid. I’m not up to saving the world. I can’t even help my mom and sister.”

“Look I don’t know why you were chosen nor do I agree with their choice, but you are without a doubt the man they wanted.