Tag Archive | St. Augustine

Notable Narrative – Indian Summer Shark Attack!

Notable Narrative

Sometimes, it isn’t just dialogue or a steamy love scene that captures the interest. This particular scene is one I wrote when I first started Indian Summer nearly 20 years ago. I began the novel, but couldn’t capture Gabriella’s voice. Discouraged, I put the notebook in a drawer and left it. One day, I was cleaning the drawer and found the notebook once more. I read through it, discarding most of it as crap, but this scene, I kept. I found Gabriella’s voice in this scene and was able to begin again. This scene is almost word for word what I originally wrote.

The ocean felt blood warm and comforting. I hadn’t realized how much my body ached from my new activities. The tension of the last few weeks washed from my body as the water closed over me. It buoyed me up, letting me float gently on the waves. I closed my eyes to the bright morning sun and rested. I didn’t realize how far I drifted, for the tide was going out. I heard a noise, a shout from the beach and looked up. I was much further out than I intended and began to swim slowly back in.

Before I saw what was happening, a man dove into the water and swam rapidly past me. It was not until then I saw the fin on the water. Shark! I could formulate no other thoughts but the horror of that image, that word. I had seen people attacked by sharks, their bodies torn and bloody, bloated from the water they died in. I swam for my life as quickly as I could. The man met the shark not far from the shore. I scrambled out, running to my clothing. I had the ridiculous notion that it would somehow protect me. There was a battle going on in the waves, but I couldn’t see it clearly. The man raised his knife, the sun glittering off the blade. He brought it down on the shark again and again with a dull, liquid thunk. Blood was everywhere, but whether it was his or the shark’s I didn’t know.

Forgetting my clothing for the moment, I grabbed my knife. Foolishly, I dashed back into the water as man and shark dove under! I couldn’t see either of them, just blood on the waves. A small ripple where they went down was the only other thing visible. Suddenly, the water beside me erupted as a huge shark leapt out of the water not five feet from me! I screamed, frozen to the spot. I saw the knife in its ugly, brutish head, between its eyes. It was fighting fiercely, despite numerous stab wounds.

Clinging to it stubbornly was a man. Sailfish! He was covered in blood, slipping from the shark’s hide. The vicious beast gave a last squirm as the life left it. It shivered once more and died. Sailfish drew his blade from it, racing toward me.

“Run!” He yelled.

I was stupefied, I couldn’t make my legs work. I stood there naked and dripping, too terrified to move.indian summer scanned cover 500 x 750

“Run!” He yelled again. “Gabriella, get out of the water!”

Before he finished speaking, I saw the fins racing toward all the blood, toward us! I turned and ran, splashing and flailing to get to shore. He caught up with me, righting me as I fell. Impatient at my lack of speed, he lifted me out of the water, carrying me to the sand. His long legs covered the distance in less time than it takes to tell of it. I stared in shock and horror as the dead shark danced crazily in the water, the others tearing its carcass to pieces in a horrific frenzy! A scream threatened to erupt from my throat. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. Gradually, the furor died down and the sharks swam away. Nothing was left of the dead one. I sank to my knees, retching. I had not eaten yet that morning, so it was dry heaves. Sometimes that’s worse than actually vomiting. I became aware of strong hands helping me sit up, of the same hands dressing me like a baby and the muscular arms around me, holding me while I cried.

All the sorrow, anger, and fear that had built in me since the night of my capture, came pouring out in a flood of tears. I felt so safe in his arms. I clung to him, weeping as if my heart were broken. He held me, rocked me, and stroked my hair, all the while speaking in low monotones. None of it made sense to me for he spoke in his own tongue, but the flow of the words and the tone were comforting. I cried a long time, finally coming to a stop. He continued to hold me, giving me his comfort.

Soon, however, the touch changed, I felt the comforting become a caress as a lover would touch his beloved. I don’t know why, but I felt a tingling sensation for the first time since we met. He was so strong, virile, warm and so alive. He stopped rocking me, but continued to hold me, turning my tear-streaked face gently to his. I gazed into his jet black eyes, lost in their depths. His strong jaw was working, trying to hold the emotions in. I felt his manhood pressing against me and faltered in my resolve.

God help me, I loved Manuel! How could I dishonor him by kissing another man? Even as I thought this, Sailfish lowered his lips to mine and kissed me with a passion not even Manuel had equaled. I melted into his embrace, his lips locked with mine, his tongue probing my mouth. I burned inside, my heart fluttering like a trapped bird. I felt swept away as if the ocean waves had carried me off into the water once more. Wave after hot wave coursed through my body. He touched me all the places I knew he shouldn’t, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to stop him. I was so tired of fighting desire, sick of saying no, weary of being proper.

I believe I would have allowed him to continue had we not heard shouts coming from on the mound. There was a ruckus on the river side of the island. Reluctantly, he let go of me, turning to the lookout. Sailfish called out to him, demanding to know what was wrong. I couldn’t understand his answer, for they spoke in their native tongue. Sailfish all but dumped me on the sand as he rose and ran toward the camp, shouting as he went. I gathered myself up running after him, curious and afraid all at once.

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My Photos

I love taking pictures. It’s been years since I did much other than family snapshots, but I still try to make them special. I love interesting light and find myself applying composition rules automatically. Below are a few of my photos from years past. I have promised to go out and get some new ones next week. In the meantime, enjoy!

Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna  Beach, Florida

Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna Beach, Florida © 2015 Dellani Oakes

When we first moved down here, I went to the beach fairly often, in all kinds of weather, and loved taking pictures there. Unfortunately, I can’t handle the sunshine like I used to, but I still have some wonderful shots. Those of you who follow my posts on Second Wind Publishing’s blog will recognize the above picture as the cover for Sea of Destiny.

beach 4

Canaveral National Seashore © 2015 Dellani Oakes

zad beach

Canaveral National Seashore © 2015 Dellani Oakes

These were taken the same day as the first photo. It was chilly that day, sometime during the late fall or winter. I realize that cold is a relative term here in Florida, but it was cold for us, which is why my sons are wearing jackets.

beach weeds

Freaky weeds on the rocks at St. Augustine’s beach. © 2015 Dellani Oakes

I was fortunate, more than once, to accompany my children on field trips with their school classes. The following pictures were taken in St. Augustine on one such trip

beach creatures

Tiny shells near a runout on St. Augustine beach. © 2015 Dellani Oakes

A baby albino alligator at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida

A baby albino alligator at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine, Florida © 2015 Dellani Oakes

All photos and text are the sole property of Dellani Oakes and may not be used without her permission

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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I Love Dialogue! from Indian Summer

I love dialogue doodle bannerIndian Summer is my first published novel. An historical romantic suspense, Indian Summer is set in St. Augustine, Florida in 1739. Gabriella Deza is the youngest daughter of Spanish Governor, Ferdinand Deza. Headstrong and intrepid, Gabriella has just turned 15, the coming of age of a young Spanish woman. Manuel Enriques, her father’s aide de camp, has declared his love for her. He also asks if he may escort her to her birthday party. Overwhelmed by his declaration, Gabriella realizes she has feelings for him, too. In this excerpt, they are at her birthday party and he has just invited her to dance.

My knees melted as he held out his hand to me.

“This is my dance, I believe, Señorita Deza.”

Manuel locked eyes with the next candidate for treading on my toes, who cowered under his look. Nodding rapidly, the little rabbit of a man retreated to the corner behind Clara and seemed to take her as his shield of defense.

I graced him with my sincere smile and said, “I promise the next dance is yours, señor.”

He bobbed his head rapidly again, retreating even further. Manuel spoke from the corner of his mouth as we walked to the dance floor. “I don’t think you will have to honor that promise, my sweet.”

Chortling, I replied with a coquettish toss of my hair. “Why, Señor Enriques, do you intend to intimidate every man here?”

He chuckled secretively as he turned me in a circle under his arm. “If need be, my dear. If need be. I shall have you to myself.” He put special emphasis on “shall” as he spun me again and the music began.

Quiet at first, I listened with only half my attention. Suddenly, the orchestra erupted in a wave of the most exciting music I had ever heard! The guitars hammered loudly, the percussion began a beat I was familiar with. The music echoed the pounding of my heart. Manuel chuckled, seeing the surprised look upon my face.

“Do you like my choice? It’s a special request I gave them. A dance just for us!” He spun me again, three times in succession.

“I don’t know this dance!” I gasped. “I don’t know the steps!”

“Listen to the music, Bella. You know this. You feel it in your blood! Would I ever embarrass you? Follow my lead and you will be free!”

The music continued slowly, just a hint of notes on a single guitar. Manuel led me in a few gentle steps, ending in a deep dip. The tempo changed, accelerating into a fast, syncopated rhythm. He swept me into the most amazing dance! The music crashed into me in wave after wave of excitement. The power of it washed over us, setting my heart pounding in my chest with a beat at the same time unnatural, but as much a part of me as breathing.

We spun, stepped, dipped, clapped, stomped and when we got to the end I realized I had just danced my first Flamenco. I had seen this dance many times. The country folk in Spain danced this at their celebrations. The music and tradition had followed us to this new land, where they danced it at festivals.

Manuel led me off the dance floor, both of us a little breathless and perspiring. It was then I noticed no one else had joined us in the dance. I looked up at him with a question on my lips. He shrugged casually. “I asked for a dance alone with you. The gentlemen politely complied.”

I narrowed my eyes, feigning a glare. “How much did you threaten them?” I was teasing and he knew it.

He held his fingers about an inch apart. “Perhaps, this much?”

© 2015 Dellani Oakes

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Nine Questions to Ask Your Character

Writer’s Digest published these questions as a tool for an author to get to know their characters better. I decided to do this with some of them. I’ve interviewed them before, but these were different questions.

First is Manuel Enriques from “Indian Summer” (available at secondwindpublishing.com or Amazon.com)

Dellani: How do you learn best?

Manuel: I am a very visual learner. I see and remember things remarkably well.

Dellani: How open are you to new ideas and information?

Manuel: I am a warrior and a spy, I must learn to adapt. Were I not open to new ideas, I would be ineffective in that role. Information? My life’s work is gathering it.

Dellani: When you walk into a party, what do you notice first?

Manuel: All the beautiful women, of course. What would you have me say? That I look for the nearest exit and plan my escape should that prove necessary?

Dellani: Is one sense more highly developed than the other?

Manuel: I’ve never paid attention, I’m afraid. I do seem to hear extremely well, though Gabriella will tell you that occasionally I am deaf to the sound of her voice. I see very well and can hit a fast moving target with bow, pistol or rifle with great accuracy.

Dellani: Do you usually notice problems around you?

Manuel: But of course. My job as Governor Deza’s aid is to see that things run smoothly. Problems of any kind prevent this. I assess the problem and deal with it as needed.

Dellani: Would you say your are an optimist or pessimist?

Manuel: I am very optimistic. I would be a miserable failure in my position without it. I must believe that there will be a happy outcome or I can’t survive.

Dellani: Are you more interested in the past, the future or living in the now?

Manuel: My past holds no happiness for me and parts are best forgotten. My future with Gabriella is something I look forward to, but I must cope with the now or I won’t be able to see that future.

Dellani: How do you decide if you can trust someone?

Manuel: My trust must be earned. I do not give it easily. I trust my blood brother, Sailfish. I also trust Governor Deza. Other than that, I can’t think of anyone else I fully trust – not even Gabriella.

Dellani: Are you a deliberate, careful speaker, or do you talk without thinking first?

Manuel: I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken out of turn. Why I haven’t gotten myself killed, I don’t know. I’m far too likely to blurt out random pronouncements without thinking. When I take the time to deliberate and concentrate on what I intend to say, I find life runs more smoothly.

Research, A Writer’s Lifeline

I’ve got research on my mind because I’m writing a sequel to my historical romance, “Indian Summer”.  Although fairly conversant with the time period, new things pop up.  I needed a timeline for the battle I’m going to include in my story.  I could find a few basic facts, but it wasn’t until I came across a website that was of important dates in Georgia history, that I got what I needed.  Strange, since I’m writing something set in Florida.  However, since the attack was led by General Oglethorpe and his troops were stationed in Georgia at the time, I suppose it makes sense.
 
Another fact that presented itself (from the Georgia timeline) was the name of an obscure fort that was attacked prior to the siege of St. Augustine.  Fort Diego?  Where’s that?  Obviously, this led to more questions than I had answers for.  Initial web searches gave me a lot of information on Fort Diego in California (now San Diego), but didn’t help the Florida research at all.  I did a serach for ‘forts in Florida’ and got a list.  Eventually, with a bit of digging, I found it’s location – well, sort of.  It’s now a golf course, but at least I found it! 
 
Each little tidbit made me so proud, I had to read it all to my husband and eldest son this morning.  They were both interested, which was nice.  There’s nothing like sharing these little gems with someone who couldn’t care less.
 
The main problem I have with research is that I have a tendency to get off subject really easily.  I have to force myself to focus and it’s not always easy.  I find some juicy tidbits which are fascinating, though unrelated to my subject.  I often am tempted to follow these leads. 
 
However odious you might find research, being accurate is so very necessary.  Even something not fully related with the story, like the Fort Diego problem, can be necessary background material that I, as the writer, need.

Interview with Dellani Oakes

Interview used by permission of Second Wind Publishing and the author 

Second Wind: I am joined today by Dellani Oakes, author of the historical romance novel, “Indian Summer” available through Second Wind Publishing. Hello, Dellani, and welcome.

Dellani: Thank you. I am delighted to be here.

SW: What inspired you to write this novel?

D: When I moved the Florida twenty years ago, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of history. St. Augustine, as the oldest established city on the east coast, holds an extra special fascination for me. I wanted to bring a bit of that history alive.

SW: Why the time period, 1739? I’m guessing that’s significant.

D: Yes, it is. There was a great deal of enmity between the Spanish and British in Europe and Florida gave them another venue in which to fight. The British were constantly trying to take over the fort in St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos. In 1740, they very nearly succeeded.

SW: Why all this fuss over Florida? Grant you, it’s pretty country, but with the climate and the diseases the mosquitoes carried, why would anyone want such an untamed place?

D: I asked that very question too. What I found during my research was that St. Augustine was a strategic military position. The Spanish were shipping their treasures from Mexico and Central America. They used the trade routes along the Florida coast. Those waters were full of pirates as well as British warships. Imagine what the British could have done to the Spanish trade routes if they controlled those waters instead?

SW: An interesting historical twist.

D: Yes, I think I just gave myself an idea for a new novel.

SW: Now that we’ve established a bit of the history, tell us about the story itself. Was there really a Gabriella Deza daughter of the Spanish governor?

D: No, there wasn’t. I tried very hard not to pattern her after a real person and did hours of research to find a name not common to the area. If Gabriella resembles any historical person, it’s purely coincidental.

SW: Give us a brief synopsis of your story.

D: The story opens in the spring of 1739 and Gabriella is almost fifteen. After an accident injures both Manuel, her father’s confidential aid, and Governor Deza, Gabriella is staying at the hospital to help care for them. She overhears a conversation between two British spies. They are talking about an attack on St. Augustine.

SW: What does she do?

D: She runs to tell her father, but he’s unconscious. Instead, she goes to Manuel. However, after a brief and very embarrassing conversation with him, it slips her mind.

SW: How could talking to Manuel make her forget something that important?

D: He is nearly naked, very handsome, well built and charming. Keep in mind, she’s only fourteen and he is an older man. She’s so flattered that he has shown interest in her, she simply forgets.

SW: How much older is he?

D: Manuel is twenty-one.

SW: Isn’t that a little old for her? She’s just a child.

D: Perhaps by today’s standards, but back then girls married young and their husbands were often even older than Manuel. It wasn’t unusual for a girl her age to marry a man in his thirties.

SW: Does she ever remember the conversation she overheard?

D: No, but when she is sick with a fever, she reveals everything to Manuel and her father. Armed with this information, they set a trap for the spy, but by mischance, Gabriella is caught in it. She is kidnapped by the spy, escapes and is rescued by a band of friendly Indians. Now Manuel must find her and get her back. Then he has to bring the spy to justice so they can be married.

SW: I trust it all works out?

D: You’ll have to read “Indian Summer” to find out. But I will say I do like happy endings.

SW: Dellani, thank you so much for talking with me today.

D: I’m delighted to. Thank you for inviting me.

 

Dellani Oakes’ book, “Indian Summer” is available at http://www.secondwindpublishing.com It is also available at Amazon.com

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my weblog!  I am a newly published writer of historical romance, contemporary romance, crime romance and science fiction.  My first novel, “Indian Summer”, is available at www.secondwindpublishing or Amazon.com.  For those who like e-books, it will also be available soon on Kindle.

I’ve been interested in writing my entire life.  I can’t remember a time when I had any other ambition.  Until I got married and had a family, the dream was strong.  However, due to having to raise children and concentrate on their needs, I set aside the idea of writing seriously until about seven years ago. 

Since then, more than thirty novels are finished and waiting for editing, and at least that many more are still swimming around the guts of my computer waiting to be finished.  One day, maybe I will get to them, but for now they wait patiently until I do.

Thank you for dropping by!  If you’d like to read more about the other authors represented by Second Wind, please visit our group blog http://secondwindpub.wordpress.com/  or visit the publisher’s website www.secondwindpublishing.com