Red River Radio Presents What’s Write for Me with Connie, Elaine and Jo

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Join Us Wednesday at 4:00 PM Eastern time ( 3 Central, 2 Mountain, 1 Pacific) on Red River Radio.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is upon us? Take a break from holiday preparation, and listen while Christina and Dellani meet and greet their three lovely and talented guests.

Connie Herzberg Mayo

First up, alphabetically speaking, is Connie Mayo, author of The Island of Worthy Boys. This is her first time on the show, and we are so delighted! Welcome, Connie.

Elaine Dodge

Second, is Elaine Dodge, author of Harcourt’s Mountain, Bloody Parchment: Blue Honey, and short story, The Man with a House on His Back. This is also her Red River debut. Welcome, Elaine! So happy to have you here.

Jo Ivester

Third, only because of her initial, is Jo Ivester, author of Outskirts of Hope. Jo is also visiting for the fist time. We’re so pleased to have her here, too. Welcome, Jo!

The holiday scramble is just around the corner, and books make lovely gifts for the readers on your gift lists. Pop into the chat room and say hello to your favorite author, or make new friends.

Happy Thanksgiving! Catch Us Live or Listen at Your Convenience

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When Tis Done – Part 9

When Tis Done coverNeil is welcomed home by his family. After a long shower to get off the road grit and sweat, he sits with Chase, comforting the boy while he grieves for his father.

“So much pressure,” he gasped. “Expectations…. Man of the House…. I can’t do it all, Neil. I can’t!”

“Shh, shh…. You ought not to have to, boy. But with Daddy so sick, you’ve had it handed to you. I’m here now. Anything you can’t handle, you throw at me. I guarantee it can’t beat us both down.”

“You boys ready to eat?” his mother called from the kitchen.

“Yes, Mama. Be up in a few minutes. We gotta wash.”

“Okay. Don’t you make my food get cold!”

“No, Ma’am!”

Rising, he hugged Chase. “It’s gonna be okay. I’m here now. I can’t take your father’s place, but anything you need from me, I’m here.” He took Chase’s head in his hands. “Anything.”

Nodding, Chase smiled. He washed his face in cold water and they both washed their hands quickly before heading up to the kitchen. Dora and her mother were setting the food out on the table. Chase and Neil joined in, carrying the heavy pans and trays for them.

“We having a party?” Neil asked.

“Yes,” his mother said, her dark eyes twinkling. “Come on out and see. You’ll need shoes. Chase, you should have told him.”

“Slipped my mind. I got a pair of boat shoes that’d fit you,” he told his uncle. “By the back door.”

“Thanks.” Neil slipped them on and followed his mother outside.

Stunned, he stopped at the top of the long steps, staring at the faces. There, below him, were the people he’d most wanted, and dreaded, to see. They looked older, of course, as did he. But still much the same as they had when he’d seen them last. The teenagers and children milling around must be their offspring. He felt cheated. He’d never had the kind of life where he could settle down. Being a Marine, he moved a lot, but he never managed to set down roots or take a relationship to the point of marriage. He’d never missed it—until now. A deep, abiding ache started in his chest and he wanted to sob like Chase had.

Pasting a smile on his face, he descended the stairs, opening his arms to the group. “My God, if it’s not Maribelle Girard!” He gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “I guess you ended up with this goob, huh?” He shook Miles’ hand, grinning. “Which ones are yours?”

Maribelle called to a tall, blue eyed teen with sandy blond hair. He was holding a pretty, dark eyed toddler.

“This is our boy, Brian, and our little girl, Elise.”

The little girl flung herself at Neil, patting his cheeks as he smiled at her. A lump rose in his throat.

“She’s a beauty, for sure. Hey, Sugarbean!”

Elise squeezed his mouth, making a Mwa sound at him, though she didn’t kiss him.

“She just started doing that, but never with a complete stranger. You have a way with children,” Maribelle said as her daughter lunged at her.

“I’m great with little girls, it’s grown women I have trouble with,” he confided to Miles and Brian.

He made the rounds, meeting the children and reconnecting with his old friends. These were the folks he hung out with, mostly because his sister was one of their number. He was close to them, but not part of the Circle. By virtue of some quirk of fate, he’d never been one of them.

“What are you doing with yourself these days?” Heath Barrett asked as they each popped open a beer.

“Just retired from the Marines. I’ve had enough. Only so much death a man can take.” He shook his head. “They wanted to give me another promotion so I could send our boys in to die. I couldn’t do it another day.”

Heath nodded. “I’ve had a sheltered life, Neil. No doubt about it. But I feel your pain, brother.”

Neil’s eyes teared. Of them all, he’d been closest to Heath and Cliff. Cliff was more like a brother than a friend. They’d been inseparable.

“I can’t believe I missed his funeral,” he sighed. “I was deployed and they wouldn’t let me come home. If he’d been my brother…. It’s another reason I left. This is all the family I’ve got.”

“You never married?”

“Never could find a woman who’d put up with me. I sometimes wish I’d chosen another path, but it’s too late now. Got to find a new one to follow.”

Heath nodded, handing him another beer. “I’m not driving. I told Jackie I was going to enjoy myself and spend time with my brother.” He looked like he was going to cry. “It’s been too damn long, Neil.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Character Quotes from The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani

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The brothers had taken off their uniform shirts, but both still wore their vests and carried their sidearms. Vivica noticed the way they had positioned themselves, they each had a good view of the room, their backs to a wall, not a window or door. Teague smiled, taking the last good seat, leaving Vivica with her back to the living room window. She insisted on closing the drapes before sitting down.

“I’m not entirely helpless, you know,” she told the men without prompting. “I do have six brothers, none of them democrats.” Her eyes twinkled. “I know how to shoot and I venture to say I’m nearly as good a shot as any man in this room.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Music Behind the Story – Under the Western Sky by Dellani

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Quite often, my characters are musicians. A lot of them play guitar because my sons do, and it’s what I’m familiar with. Also, I’m totally hooked on guitarists like Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, Dave Gilmour and Carlos Santana. Santana’s music features in Under the Western Sky, a romantic suspense novel set in Western Nebraska in 1976. One of the main characters is Bobby Menendez, a young Mexican man who loves to play the guitar. He is always telling his best friend, Danny, that bands like KISS won’t last, but in 30 or 40 years, people will still be listening to Carlos Santana and Led Zeppelin.

At one point during the story, the characters gather at Bobby’s home and have their own version of Name That Tune.

Excerpt from Under the Western Sky

After they ate, Evanston and Bobby got their guitars. Some of the others also had musical instruments and they sat down to play. Rico kept time tapping on the bowls, dishes and table top. Libby and Toni sang. Jim surprised everyone by turning up with a banjo and Toby rushed home for his bass guitar and amp.

Once the improvised band was assembled, they sat down to find a song or two they all knew. Most music they didn’t have in common until Evanston played a very distinctive melody. Laughing, they all joined in playing Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Bobby played rhythm and the girls sang, their voices blending beautifully.

With barely a break, Bobby started Free Bird, improvising the solo since he had never stopped to figure it all out. From there, he launched into Europa by Santana. Before he was finished, the others dropped out, listening to him in awe. Realizing that he was playing alone, he came to a halt, looking around him, wondering if he’d done something wrong.

“What?”

Libby leaned over, kissing him lingeringly. “I had no idea you could play that well.”

“Where have you been keeping that, Babu?” Maria asked him breathlessly.

Bobby had trouble focusing, his attention still on the music. “What do you mean? Was it bad?”

“It was so good, I couldn’t even keep up,” Link said with a grin. “Damn, kid. That was something else!”

“Really? I just played.” He shrugged, suddenly embarrassed by their compliments.

“Is the concert over?” Toby sounded disappointed. “I was just getting into it. Come on, let’s keep playing. I’m itching to play something else. See if you can figure this one out.”

Flexing his fingers, he started to play. Although it was an octave lower, he played a melody Libby had loved for years. Evanston joined in with a grin and Rico improvised drums on a plastic container full of potato salad. When it got to the vocal, Bobby started to sing, looking at Libby.

“Well she’s walking through the clouds with a circus mind that’s running around. Butterflies and zebras and moonbeams and fairy tales….”

He knew how much Libby loved Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix. If he could have sung it to her alone, he would have taken that moment to propose because all the love he felt for her washed over him, making him dizzy. When the vocal ended, he joined Link on the guitar, taking melody as the older man slid into harmony. They played several minutes, Link following Bobby’s lead as he improvised an intricate solo.

This time they didn’t stop playing, wanting to listen to the magic that came from his fingers. No one wanted to disturb his focus, causing him to quit. When he stopped, the others were staring at him again and he got very embarrassed. Seeing how he was feeling, Jim hopped in with his banjo.

“I’m feeling left out,” he plucked a few notes. “See if you can follow this one.”

Laughing loudly, Evanston played the same notes, which Jim repeated. The two launched into a lively rendition of Dueling Banjos from Deliverance. When they had finished, Jim went directly to Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

It was getting late and Connie decided they all needed to go to bed if they were going to get to church in the morning. As a finale, the girls sang His Eye is on the Sparrow so perfectly, even the men were near tears.

They parted reluctantly, especially those going back to motel rooms. Bobby walked Libby across the street with Grace and Toby trailing behind them. They went inside, feeling oddly self-conscious with the adults in the living room saying good night.

“I didn’t realize it was so serious between them,” she whispered, smiling happily. “I’m really happy for her.”

“Me too,” Bobby said, not wanting to talk about Libby’s mother.

His lips covered hers before she could speak again, kissing her deeply. His arms wrapped around her, holding her close. He infused his kiss with his love, hearing Little Wing play in his mind as they embraced.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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I apologize for not having a link to Little Wing. It’s really hard to find and doesn’t seem to be on You Tube at all. I did find Skid Row’s version of the song, which, while it’s not Hendrix, is still pretty good.

When Tis Done – Part 8

When Tis Done coverNeil, Dora Finley’s brother, has returned after nearly two decades. Could he be the replacement that the Center Circle needs to heal it?

“Yes, the way Mama fixed it. Me, I’d have burnt it to a crisp.”

“Thanks, Peanut. This is great!”

“I’m Lucy, not Peanut!”

“Oh, sorry Lima Bean!”

She stamped her foot, pretending to pout, but the giggle escaped her. “You’re silly, Uncle Neil.”

“I got it from Mommy. She made me silly before we were born.” He stood slowly, rubbing the kinks from his thighs.

“You were twins!”

“Yep, we still are. Me first, Mommy five minutes later.”

She gave him a hug around his knees and ran in the yard after her sister.

“Come in and have a bite,” their mother said, after hugging and kissing him ardently.

“Mama, I could sure use a shower first.”

“Of course! Daddy’s inside. It’s hard for him to get around these days. His C.O.P.D. is real bad, Sugarbean.”

Neil followed his mother, shuffling his feet. It was hard enough coming home after all these years, but to see his formidable, robust father reduced to a tired, old man, was almost more than he could bear. His father sat in his comfortable, blue recliner, feet up, watching TV top volume. He looked up and grinned at his son. Releasing the lever, he lowered his feet and stood.

Neil held his father gently, afraid he’d bruise him, or worse. His father’s embrace was a shadow of what it had been, but the strength was there—briefly.

“Damn good to see you, son. Been too long since you were home.”

“Way too long, Daddy. I’m sorry….”

“Nonsense. You did what you had to. But you’re home now. By God, boy, you stink!”

“My air went out around Memphis.”

“No wonder, evil old place, Memphis.” He winked. A native of Tennessee, he enjoyed poking fun. No one else had better do it in his hearing, though. In his younger days, he’d been in more than one fight because of it. “Let this boy have a shower, Mama,” he said to his wife. “He reeks to hell and back.”

“That I do.”

“Go on up. You’re in the guest room. The girls are sharing your old room. Chase is in the basement.”

“There’s two rooms down there, you in both, boy?”

“No, sir.”

“I’d as soon be down there, Mom. Suits me to be underground.”

“Whatever you want, Sugar. There’s fresh towels and sheets on the bed.”

He gave her a kiss. Chase showed him to the basement. It looked much as it had in his youth. It was freshly painted and the pattern of the bedspread had changed, but the overall feel of it said home to him. He’d always liked the basement rooms. Built into the side of a steep hill, the back of the house was exposed, with a beautiful view of the woods. As a child, he’d spent as much time here as he could, reading, working on his school projects and daydreaming about his life to come. On cool days, he’d fling the French doors open to the outside, lie on his belly and watch the trees move, their leaves singing in the breeze.

“Takes me back a piece,” he told Chase. “Which you in?”

Chase pointed to the left. Neil nodded, heading to the room on the right. He put his bags in the floor and headed directly to the small, interconnecting bathroom. His shower was long and as hot as he could get it. It felt so good to get the road grit and sweat off his body, he indulged himself. Once he felt cleaner, he made sure to shave before getting dressed in jeans and a T-shirt. His mother insisted that they go without shoes in the house, to save the carpets. He didn’t mind, preferring going barefoot to wearing socks and shoes. His dirty clothing, accumulated over the last few days, went in the washer and he started a load. His mother might object, but his clothing reeked of sweat. He hardly wanted to touch it himself, let alone make his delicate mother do it.

Waiting in the sitting area, he found Chase. His nephew looked old beyond his years, care worn and down trodden. The emotions radiating off him were enough to make Neil gasp and take a step back. He’d always been empathic, but now—something was new here. Something had changed. Or maybe it was he who had changed? He didn’t know. Crossing the room, he sat by the boy, putting his arms around him as he drew him close.

“Let it out, son. If you can’t cry in front of me, who can you? I’ve been in your shoes, boy. Let it out.”

Chase sobbed, his body shaking with the horrendous emotions he’d tried so hard to contain. He wept for his father, and for his mother having to go on without him. He cried for himself, missing his father so much it hurt, and for his sisters, who would grow up without their daddy. He also wept for his grandparents, who missed their son.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Misfortune of Vision – Book 4 in The Druid’s Broach Series Now On Pre-Order

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Misfortune of Vision, book #4 in The Druid’s Brooch Series, by Christy Nicholas is on pre-order NOW! Just 99 cents until release date on January 10, 2018. Get your copy now!

~ Prophecy can be dangerous ~

In 12th century Ireland, Orlagh has been Seer to her king for forty years. He doesn’t want to hear her prophecies of war and destruction, and dismisses her efforts to warn him. Therefore, she is determined to fulfill her own quest: to find a worthy heir for her magical brooch.

In the course of events, she must pass judgment on a thief, escape a Norman war camp, and battle wits with a Fae lord. She receives some prophecy of her own and enlists the help of a grizzled old warrior, who happens to be a long–time friend.

Excerpt:

January 24, 1177 AD Dún Dá Leathghlas (Downpatrick), Ulster, Ireland

Clodagh, do pay attention. Someday your woolgathering will get you in trouble. What happens if you forget you’re making a tincture? Some of these herbs will burn and turn to poison if you aren’t careful.”

The girl hung her head. “Yes, mistress.”

And don’t ‘yes, mistress’ me so meekly! I won’t bite your head off child. But if you’re meek, the world will treat you like a slave. You must be strong to survive. Have you learned nothing from me?”

Yes, mistress.”

Orlagh sighed. She despaired of ever making something of this sweet child. Ever since that incident at the market, she’d watched the girl closely, but nothing else happened. Perhaps it had been an isolated incident. With a growl, she measured more celandine into the concoction she was making. A little more hemp nettle? Not too much. It was poisonous in great quantities. Just a little helped soothe the stomach. Speaking of soothing the stomach, she needed another drink. She took a long swig on her meadskin.

Go on, then. Clean those bowls and then pull down the herbs. Check each one for mildew. You know the signs to look for, yes?”

Yes, m—”

Call me mistress again in that tiny voice and you’ll feel my hand, child.”

Yes… Orlagh.”

That’s better. Now go, do your work. Ask if you have questions.”

With Clodagh appropriately occupied, Orlagh turned to her tincture. The tincture was an excuse. She could make this compound in her sleep if she must. What she needed was quiet time to concentrate. She’d had a troubling dream the night before, and many years of prophecy had taught her not to ignore her dreams. It had been chaotic and confusing. There was fighting, but not with Gaelic soldiers. Could they have been Normans? She had a flash of short hair and odd helmets. Not the Ostmen, then. Their hair and beards were longer and wilder than the Gaels. No, it must be the Normans. Unless there was a yet unknown threat. But the Norman army was only in the southeast of Ireland. They had never ventured north of Dublin, and that was far to the south.

Never say never, she reminded herself. There was always a first time, and for something disastrous, that first time always came when you could deal with it least. Normans, then. Normans coming north for the tuath of Ulaidh.

© 2017 Christy Nicholas

To Pre-Order Misfortune of Vision, book,4 in The Druid’s Brooch Series 

Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Andy and Josh

TODAY, November 13, 2017 at 4 PM EST (3 CST, 2 MST, 1 PST) on Blog TalkRadio

Can you believe it’s November already? Where did the year go? The scent of fall is in the air—at least it is other places, but not Florida. I’m still running my air conditioning. Halloween has passed and Thankgiving looms ahead. As we prepare for the onslaught of the holidays, it’s nice to relax and enjoy talking to my two handsome, amazing guests!

First up, returning to the show, is award winning, dark fantasy author Andy Peloquin, author of Child of the Night Guild, Thief of the Night Guild, Different, Not Damaged and others. Welcome back, Andy! We’re so glad to have you with us again.

New to the show is Joshua Robertson, award winning author of The Blood of Dragons Series, Thrice Nine Legends Saga, The Hawkhurst Saga. Welcome to the show, Joshua. We know you’ll have fun with us!

Both authors write dark fantasy, I don’t know if I did that on purpose, or if it’s just a happy accident. Either way, sit back, have a listen, enjoy the show and join us in the chat room if you dare! Who knows what treats these gents have in store!

Tune in Live or Listen at Your Convenience!