Robert Kimbrell Blog Hop!

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Robert Kimbrell recently sat down for a brief interview and was asked four questions.

1. Tell me a bit about your childhood in Ohio.

If one knew me growing up, I was a boring only child. But I’d like to say it was very interesting to be inside my head.

My father was abusive to my mom and me, so as you can imagine the atmosphere was always tense. I had to learn to use my imagination so I had a place to escape to. I was nervous and anxious all the time, even into young adulthood. I mean, to grow up always afraid of making your father angry or seeing him become violent towards your mother really does something to your psyche. Those who have grown up in an abusive atmosphere know what I’m talking about. I’ve never used what happened then as an excuse, but looking back I recognize how far I’ve come, and how far I still have to go.

2. I’m sure what happened to you framed, so to speak, your writing and creative process. Your book is called Vigilante Annie Scarlotte, and it is about a woman who becomes a vampire. Tell me about Annie.

You’re right. Now, when I hear of kids being abused or neglected- I cringe. Or when I catch a news story about a woman whose cowardly husband abused her, I boil, as I’m sure others do. I want to take action. That spark is what is behind Vigilante Annie. She has been blessed by a unique ability, so she decides to use it to take action. For reasons that will be explained in the next book, Annie must have fresh human blood every so often, or she’ll become ill again and die. So the premise of the story is simple: to justify killing others for their blood, Annie chooses the truly evil among us as her victims. As you can imagine, Annie battles with the morality of doing what she has chosen to do.

She questions her fate, her purpose, and begins to be taken over by this vampire within her. She has a sexy Italian boyfriend who is hiding things, an old friend Elisa who has been silent for some time, and a father-figure named Larry whom she decides to tell her secret to. Like I said, the premise is simple, but the plot and chaotic start to Annie’s bloodsucking life isn’t simple at all.

3. Do you have anything new you’re currently in the midst of writing?

Actually, I have several in the works. The next Vigilante Annie book is the biggest, it will be available in ebook and print, just like the anthology. There is not yet a release date set. I actually have a couple erotica titles and a couple shorts that will actually give some backstory or sidestory in the world of Vigilante Annie.

4. So what is the next Vigilante Annie book going to be about?

The next Annie story is going full fantasy. In the middle of recovering from her injuries, Annie is being taken to the underworld. There she will meet others like herself and other diverse types of beings. The plot I cannot reveal just yet, but Annie is being brought there for a specific reason. For anyone who has read up to now, you’ll know Annie will meet her brother and have to face her mother for abandoning her as a child. Anyone wanting more info can visit the website www.VigilanteAnnie.com.

Thank you.

Thank you!

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Book Blurb:

Because Annie has no recollection of her birth parents, her life is full of unknowns. Still, she seems relatively content with her simple existence in Washington, DC. Marcus, her new Italian boyfriend, adds much desired spice to her life despite secrecy about his position at SecureVest. But when Annie becomes mysteriously ill, it is the catalyst for a life far from simple.

Seemingly by luck, Annie discovers that she is maturing into a dhampir (a vampire/human hybrid), and to survive she must feed on fresh human blood. With Marcus fully aware of Annie’s predicament, they concoct a scheme: find the evil living among us and act where justice does not.

Vigilante Annie is born.

Pick up your copy on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2dGCki4

Author Bio:

An only child, (in the seventies, mind you), little Robert could be seen running in the backyard playing superhero, with a bed sheet serving as his cape. He also spent many hours drawing or writing in his mid-sized Ohio town. Having also battled depression earlier in life, Robert now sees how his low points have brought him to a more creative, stronger sense of being. Now he is where he wants to be, and is telling the stories he is meant to tell. His other interests include reading, motorcycle touring, fitness and classic movies.

Connect with Robert Kimbrell:

Twitter:  @VAAuthor

Website:  www.VigilanteAnnie.com

New Thriller in Elle Klass’ “Ruthless Storm Trilogy” Just Released!

The Mind boggling conclusion to the Ruthless Storm Trilogy. Release date October 14, 2016.

My characters are fictional but crime, murders and serial killers are real. No crime is victimless. Buy In the Midst of the Storm during October and every cent Elle receives will be donated to victimsofcrime.org to help real victims.

Amazon

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Apple

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The thrilling conclusion is filled with suspense! Here’s an excerpt:

The cold air chilling her to the bone, she walked swiftly towards her apartment. Her mind cloudy from too many beers. A trail

through the woods surrounding her apartment complex opened up to her left. If she stayed the course of the street-lit sidewalk, it’d take her longer to get home than if she took the path through the woods that led almost directly to her door. Her body shivering, she decided to take the chance and cut through the woods. Really, it was just a small chunk of trees with a well-worn path that most people used for walking their dogs.

Halfway through the shortcut, she heard voices talking. She slowed her pace and listened but assumed it was a couple walking their dog.

“What the hell are you doing?!” yelled a male voice.

She jumped and on instinct plastered herself against a large tree and scanned the area. Hoping she was fully camouflaged by the thick trunk. She peeked her head around it and spotted two young men. One had jeans sagging past his buttocks and a red jacket. The other wore all black and he held a glinting silver object. Her mind flashed back to the shining object and black eyes that chased her within her nightmares. She breathed deeply, trying to stay calm, and considered her options. The last time she’d run through woods didn’t fare well for her and she ended up in a coma for a week.

Running was out of the question. Going forward was out of the question. She felt the cool metal of the pendant against her chest and remembered its soothing qualities. Taking a deep breath, she

crouched, using the trees for cover and squat-walked towards the next tree. She couldn’t avoid the piles of leaves littering the ground, but hoped her steps were gentle enough the guys would consider them an animal.



The voices moved closer to her and she went into near panic mode. Breathe, breathe. They’re probably just smoking pot and mean no harm, she soothed herself, but the feeling in her gut sent shivers of horror flying through her body. Bad memories resurfaced and she saw his face, the monster, Evan’s face. She closed her eyes, attempting to gather her courage.

Leaves rustled beneath their pounding footsteps, growing closer with each one. No longer able to control her fear, she took her chances and ran.

“Who’s there?” called one of the men, as Eilida sprinted through the woods. Not watching where she was going, she ran smack into broad shoulders and a rock hard abdomen. Waves of horror shuddered throughout her body.

Listen to the In the Midst of the Storm Soundtrack!

It’s sexy!

He wanted to make all the bad in her life disappear and he wanted her. The vibes bouncing off Eilida suggested she desired him just as much. Setting his plate on the table, he turned to face her and cupped her face in his hand. Then he brought his lips to hers. His sexual hunger matched by hers.
When they released the kiss, she set her plate beside his and brought her body closer to his, melting in his arms. Their mouths met again as their hands explored the other’s assets. His hand lingering on her perky breasts as he lifted her shirt and drew his tongue closer to them for a taste…

A Coloring Book with a Biblical Message

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More than just a coloring book, this inspirational activity book will help you relax, unwind, and enjoy some creative fun while hiding God’s Word in your heart.

The 35 separate verses and passages are printed in colorable word art with decorative borders, blank on the back to make them easier to remove and frame or display, if desired. Each one is accompanied by two different activities or puzzles featuring the verse or key words from it.

Hide it in Your Heart is an ideal Scripture memorization aid for Christian schools, homeschool programs, Sunday schools, or your own personal use. Children and adults will enjoy learning, practicing, and meditating on these artistically presented verses from the New International Version Bible.

Proceeds from the sale of Hide it In Your Heart will be donated to www.Christar.org to help provide a translation of God’s Word for a particular people group in East Asia who do not yet have the Bible in their own language.

Here are a few sample coloring and activity pages from Hide it In Your Heart. If you’d like to color them or complete the word puzzles, click on the link below the illustration to access a PDF that you can download and print.

09212016pdfclipSample page: Psalm 68:5-6a

Hide it In Your Heart is available in paperback on Amazon. Click here to order your copy for $8.99.

HOWEVER, you can get it for 15% off if you order it here on CreateSpace with coupon code JZBVVBH8! The code can be used an unlimited number of times and will not expire, so feel free to order as many copies as you like for family and friends. Hide it In Your Heart makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys word puzzles, coloring, or God’s word!

You’re welcome to share the code with others, too.

Happy coloring!

About the Author:

annie-douglass-limaAnnie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published thirteen books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, five anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Scripture coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Connect with Annie Douglass Lima online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Google+: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Sign up for author updates and receive a free ebook of “interviews” with characters from her fantasy series: http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

 

Last Day! Star Trails Tetralogy Box Set 99c!

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Today is your last chance to get your ecopy of the entire Star Trails Tetralogy for only 99c! The box set includes “Beyond the Hidden Sky,” “A Dark of Endless Days,” “A Psilent Place Below,” and “Refractions of Frozen Time” as well as “The Star Trails Compendium.” Descriptions of the individual books can be found below as well as at the series’ website, www.StarTrailsSaga.com.

STAR TRAILS TETRALOGY DESCRIPTION

Close families share everything.  Including consequences.  When one of the HIO’s premier terralogists refuses a job offer from a wannabe despot the chain of suspicious circumstances which quickly follow scatter his family across the galaxy.  Torn apart by space and time, will each survive long enough to be united ever again? 

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Volume I: BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY

A move to another planet that goes horribly wrong.  A power hungry man’s obsession with another’s abilities.  Suspicious circumstances that scatter a family across the galaxy.  Will rescue efforts succeed or make the situation even worse?

VIDEO

When the Brightstar family leaves fog-shrouded and predictable Mira III for Cyraria they have no idea their comfortable lifestyle is about to end forever.  Even before the starcruiser arrives, shocking events transpire that comprise a parent’s worst nightmare.  Not only is their fourteen year old daughter, Creena, missing but it’s clear her father’s ruthless and power-hungry nemesis plans to exploit the situation to promote his own selfish ambitions. Formidable and lethal challenges await as increasingly suspicious circumstances scatter them across the galaxy.  Will they survive long enough to be together again?

“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:

REVIEW SAMPLES

“The story begins at warp speed as space travel and its theory weaves throughout the tale of a family separated by mishap and kept apart by intent.” – Editorial Review

“The author’s colorful and animated word sketches give the reader the feel of actually watching or being right in the mix of the story. She brings personality and quirks to the characters as they develop through expressive descriptions and dialogue.” – Amazon Reviewer

“I am an author as well as having taught junior high science for a number of years and think this read would be a fabulous addition to classroom libraries as well as “the hungry for sci-fi lovers” personal bookshelf.” – Amazon Reviewer

“Although geared for the YA market, it is suited for sci-fi audiences for all ages who will thoroughly enjoy the talented professional writing of Marcha Fox’s wonderful expeditions.” – Amazon Reviewer

“All her characters, even creatures on the planets, are outstanding examples of a writer totally in touch with the depths of the subconscious mind, all interacting with their roles of good and evil with hidden spiritual messages as one experiences their own individual growth of consciousness.” – Amazon Reviewer

 ALL AMAZON REVIEWS OF BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY

BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY on GOODREADS

Volume II: A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS

Opposition’s lethal temperatures are more than a simple ballome can’t withstand.  Designing and building a heat-exchanger is the only way they’ll survive.  Obtaining the needed components, however, is another story.

VIDEO

On a hostile planet like Cyraria terralogists are in high demand and Laren Brightstar is one of the best.  Regional governors compete for positions at the territorial level based on their economic achievements, allowing those with terraforming skills to demand a high price.  Refusing to work for those with devious intent, however, has an even higher price.  Thus the Brightstar family discovers when they’re plunged into a web of political intrigue on a planet cursed with lethal weather where survival can never be taken for granted.  Will their missing daughter return with help or will she remain trapped forever on an alien world?

“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:

 

REVIEW SAMPLES

“Young people can identify with the children in the family, but this series is for people of all ages. Marcha does transport you to outer space, way into the future, and you will believe you are there with the Brightstar family.” – Amazon Reviewer

“In the vein of old science fiction literature this story could end up as another classic. Its original, with all the components, technology, other world and races, and a contact with Earth.” – Amazon Reviewer

“Written in a technically proficient yet engaging style this book is sure to captivate science fiction lovers of all ages!” – Amazon Reviewer

“Fox once again does an exceptional job building character and making her created universe a reality. I can’t turn a page without picturing the story in my mind and visualizing each character.” – Amazon Reviewer

 ALL AMAZON REVIEWS OF A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS

A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYS on GOODREADS

Volume III: A PSILENT PLACE BELOW

Taking refuge in the Caverns is like a dream come true.  But the dreams generated by their mysterious depths promise death or worse.  Is forewarned really forearmed?  Or another lure into the Integrator’s grasp?

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Going underground to escape Cyraria’s harsh climate brings more than a few surprises besides the hospitality of an indigenous race known as the bnolar.  The caverns feel strangely like home, but shortly after their arrival prophetic visions in the form of veridical dreams alert them to upcoming danger.  Incarcerated in a territorial prison, Laren Brightstar is about to receive and refuse Augustus Troy’s final offer, after which he’ll be exiled permanently to a place from which there is no return.  Will Dirck and Win’s rescue succeed?

“Sneek Peeks” on Bublish:

 

REVIEW SAMPLES

“The specific and very detailed description of the places and of the characters say so much about the author’s capacity to depict all of it with words, making your imagination start running freely in the process.” – Amazon Reviewer

“[The author] has created an entire world and its inhabitants along with various languages and races that each have unique abilities and qualities. Her extensive knowledge in science is evident in the explanations that are utterly believable.” – Amazon Reviewer

“A highly intelligent and prolific read, you really get a feel for the authors experience given she had a career at NASA. Speaks to the insight and depth of the book, well thought out and concise.” – Amazon Reviewer

ALL AMAZON REVIEWS OF A PSILENT PLACE BELOW

A PSILENT PLACE BELOW on GOODREADS

Volume IV: REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME

A discovery that links two dimensions of time.  A prison ship’s dirty little secret.  Esheron has answers but can they access them before it’s too late? 

VIDEO

The discovery of a mineral that manipulates space and time provides the potential to reunite the Brightstar family at last.  Controlling it, however, is another matter.  With the Integrator closing in on the ability to destroy anyone for whom they have a mindprint, finding the secret of manipulating the two dimensions of time becomes a matter of life and death.  But is time their ally or another enemy?

“Sneak Peeks” on Bublish

REVIEW SAMPLES

“Author Marcha Fox has a gift for explaining the science. The detailed world she creates in the Star Trails Tetralogy is genius, so well thought out and crafted. As the Brightstar youngsters observe and understand their surroundings, their conclusions can be coloured by their Miran schooling, but when they break old habits and open their minds in order to survive this hostile planet they now call home, these children achieve the incredible. Quite Beautiful.” – Amazon Reviewer

“What sets this apart from run-of-the-mill ” space operas is Fox’s experience during her tenure at NASA. She draws upon her technical expertise and enhances it with fact-based theory that gives this as much of a ‘what-if’ perspective as you can expect within the genre. The moral and philosophical questions also give us much to reflect upon.” – Amazon Reviewer

“[The author’s] creativity and imagination never fall short but always leave me wanting more. Each character has been carefully crafted and developed. I enjoyed watching the children develop and grow from bickering teens to collaborative young adults. The final climax had me shivering as the forces of dark and light came hurtling together into an unexpected and shocking end.” – Amazon Reviewer

ALL AMAZON REVIEWS of REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME

REFRACTIONS OF FROZEN TIME on GOODREADS

BOX SET BUY LINKS

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kAJxRn

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/550675

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set/id1007498996

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/star-trails-tetralogy-box-set-marcha-fox/1122157702

Stock Photo Copyright: kjpargeter / 123RF Stock Photo

Blog Tour: Annie Douglass Lima’s Latest YA Adventure Tale

I’m excited to be part of Annie Douglass Lima’s blog tour to announce her latest young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach.

The Collar and the CavvarachFirst Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

The Gladiator and the Guard

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

EXCERPT:

“Hey, it’s the new guy,” someone said, and heads turned. “What’s your number?”

“My number? Oh, um, I think they said I’d be Fifty-Eight.” A tasty-looking bowl of chicken and potatoes came within reach, but someone else picked it up, scooped some onto his own plate, and then passed it away down the table before Bensin could get any.

“So, you beat Ninety-Nine,” a Skeyvian gladiator across from him commented, his dark skin laced with pale jagged scars. “Soon as he gets out of the clinic, you better watch out. He’ll be out for blood.” He set down the vegetables he had just served himself, and Bensin picked up the dish, but the guy next to him plucked it out of his hands and sent it in the other direction.

“I didn’t actually mean to hurt him,” Bensin began, looking around for another dish of food. He was interrupted by derisive laughter from everyone within earshot.

“Fifty-Eight didn’t mean to hurt him! Ha! What kind of gladiator are you, kid?”

Bensin couldn’t think of an appropriate response. “Hey, could somebody pass me the chicken?”

“Dude, you better start meaning to hurt people if you want to make it here,” the burly Tarnestran beside him advised. “You can’t manage that, Gile will plan a blaze of glory for you sooner rather than later.”

Bensin wasn’t sure what the man was talking about, and his stomach was still rumbling. Everyone around him was eating now, but the serving dishes had all been passed down to the other end of the table.

“Gile won’t have to plan a blaze of glory for this one,” another gladiator predicted. “At this rate, he’s gonna starve to death first.”

* * *

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

 Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

About the Author

Annie Douglass LimaAnnie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

(See my previous interview with Annie here.)

Connect with the Author Online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Blog: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/princeofalasia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGoodreads

Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnieDouglassLima

LinkedIn: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnLinkedIn

Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Teleportation: Science Fiction or Science Fact (Take Two)

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My first blog on this subject focused primarily on the similarities between Lawrence Krauss’ description of teleportation found in his book, The Physics of Star Trek, to that contained in the Teleportation Physics Study done for the Air Force Research Laboratory by Eric W. Davis at Warp Drive Metrics.  I found that particularly amusing since the steps involved in the latter were nearly verbatim to Krauss’ speculations.  The show stoppers to this method, however, were, if nothing else, the computing requirements to track every subatomic particle, convert it to energy, transport it at the speed of light and then get everything put back together again.  Formidable, indeed.

A Form of Psychokinesis

This time I’m going to look at one of the other possible means that has enjoyed positive experimental results, i.e. P-Teleportation, which is a form of psychokinesis (or PK) similar to telekinesis.  Telekinesis is the moving or bending of stationary objects without using any known physical force other than mental energy.  Often considered no more than a cheap parlor or magician’s trick, this phenomena has been investigated scientifically for years with numerous demonstrations provided for high ranking military officials and trained observers.  I swear I’m not making this up.

This teleportation method is particularly fascinating to me as an science fiction author since two of the novels in my Star Trails Tetralogy employ mentally induced teleportation augmented/ amplified by a mysterious (fictitious) crystal I named cristobalite.  Needless to say, real-life experimentation in this regard blurs the lines between science fiction and science fact.

Robert Jahn (Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering at Princeton) conducted scientifically controlled PK experiments at the Princeton University Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory and reported consistent results in mentally affecting material substances.  In the 1980s, Jahn noted at a meeting on the topic at the Naval Research Laboratory that such methods could be used by foreign adversaries to compromise aircraft.  It’s certainly no surprise that the military has a keen interest in such a phenomena, regardless of what “conventional wisdom” has to say about it.  If it works, it works, regardless of whether we understand why.

To quote a conversation from my sci-fi novel, Refractions of Frozen Time:

“My first thought is that they’re either more pure or maybe a different isotope than Tank crystals,” Creena stated.  “I’ll have Aggie run some tests and see if we can figure out what makes them work.”

“Who cares how they work?” Deven commented.  “Why does it matter? Can’t you just see what they can do instead?”

Creena paused, mouth agape, dumbfounded by his simple, yet profound logic.  He’s right, she thought.  It doesn’t matter.  Just because they didn’t know how the Think Tank connected thoughts with a specific location, much less got them there, didn’t make it any less effective.”

Documented Experimental Evidence

So, meanwhile, back to the teleportation report, psychic Uri Geller “was able to cause a part of a vanadium carbide crystal to vanish.  The crystal was encapsulated so it could not be touched, and it was placed in such a way that it could not be switched with another crystal by sleight of hand.”

Similar experiments were conducted in the Peoples Republic of China, the results of which were published clear back in 1981.  Gifted children were able to cause the apparent teleportation of small objects to another location meters away.  More research was conducted by the Aerospace Medicine Engineering Institute in Beijing which was reported in the Chinese Journal of Somatic Science in 1990 and translated into English by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).  All objects teleported were “completely unaltered or unchanged from their initial state, even the insects were unaffected by being teleported.”

The collective results from several Chinese experiments corroborated similar conclusions.  Different research groups, experimental protocols and psychics were used as well as a variety of test specimens ranging from insects to radio micro-transmitters sealed within sealed containers comprised of a variety of different materials.  Time required for teleportation varied, ranging from a fraction of a second to several minutes, which didn’t depend upon the item, containment barrier, protocol or psychic involved.

Recording methods included high-speed photography and videotaping, which showed that, in some cases, the specimens would physically “meld” or blend with the walls of the sealed container, while others simply disappeared and reappeared elsewhere.  There was no indication that the object disintegrated/reintegrated.  The report noted that “The average person’s sensory organs were unable to perceive the specimen’s (ambiguous) existence during the teleportation process.”

I find the implications of the insects particularly interesting since they represent a living entity.  The micro-transmitter was also notable in that it showed “large fluctuations in the intensity (in both amplitude and frequency) of the monitored signal to the effect that it would either completely disappear or become extremely weak”, indicating the object was “nonexistent” or in an altered physical state during teleportation.

There was no change to either the specimen or the container’s wall/barrier with both complete, solid objects.  Best of all, these results were repeatable, and thus not a fluke, plus any possibility for fraud or sleight of hand were eliminated by the experiment protocols with several highly credible witnesses present.

During the Cold War era, the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pack allies conducted numerous experiments on parapsychology and paraphysics, a field they referred to as psychotronics research.  The U.S. Army conducted similar experiments, now unclassified, that related primarily to remote viewing.

78px-Single_and_double_slit_4Some researchers indicated a new physics, which combined human consciousness with quantum and spacetime physics, was required to fully explain PK phenomena, a concept with which I heartily agree.  After all, early quantum physics experiments such as the double slit experiment indicated the affect of an observer from the git-go, but of course “rational” scientists have made every possible effort to explain this away.

Discouraging the belief in such things continues in varying degrees, from Dr. Venkman’s bogus telepathy experiments in the movie Ghostbusters to stories found in tabloids like The National Enquirer.  Is it possible that discouraging the belief in such things via mockery is an effort to prevent individuals from uncovering abilities that could endanger the powers that be?

Evidence of a 4th Dimension?

The author of this paper suggested a hypothesis based on mathematical geometry, i.e., the existence of a 4th dimension which introduces an extra degree of freedom.  He states, “It has been proposed that our space actually possesses a slight four-dimensional hyperthickness, so that the ultimate components of our nervous system are actually higher dimensional, thus enabling the human mind/brain to imagine four-dimensional space.”

This implies we can see into a 4th dimension and have four-dimensional thoughts.  This reminds me of the “thoughts become things” belief prominent among various motivational proponents such as Mike Dooley and others plus explained in the movie “The Secret”.  My thoughts also turn to all those items that I’ve carefully deposited in the proverbial “safe place” only never to find again.  Did I perhaps inadvertently send them to a 4th dimension where they are forever safe, albeit lost?

Physical or Metaphysical Phenomena?

I’m a physicist who spent over two decades working in the very corporeal aerospace industry.  In spite of my training as a physicist, however, I turned to the “dark side” to embrace astrology, so much so that upon my retirement in 2009 I came “out of the closet” as the professional astrologer who’s behind the website, ValkyrieAstrology.com.  In case you haven’t figured it out, I walk that nebulous line between physics and metaphysics with ease.  Astrology, as you probably know, is enthusiastically debunked by scientists in spite of the fact that it’s been around for millennia and works quite nicely in spite of their disbelief.

bookofneptunecoverLooking at things from the astrological side, weird, woo-woo phenomena like P-Teleportation resides largely within the domain of the planet, Neptune.  Steven Forrest is renowned worldwide as astrologer who has recently released a book entitled, “The Book of Neptune.”  Forrest explains that currently Neptune is in the sign of its astrological dignity, i.e. Pisces, in which Neptune’s energy is not only particularly strong but has historically delivered a huge shift in spiritual paradigms.  Forrest explains:

“Aquarius is a Fixed sign of the Air family.  Fixity, expressed negatively, is simply rigid–think of rigor mortis.  And Air is mental energy; it is about ideas.  Add Neptune to the mix, and you see spiritual ideas that have lost their elasticity and their ability to excite and enliven anyone.  The scholars and the bureaucrats have eclipsed the mystics.  This morbid condition is eternally the natural prelude to Neptune’s entry into Pisces and the spiritual awakening it implies.  Before the spiritual renaissance can happen, there is a period of spiritual deadness, in which dull, unchanging ideas and interpretations of the divine have replaced genuine magic.” (The Book of Neptune, p. 297)

“I would add yet another piece to the puzzle: the convergence of physics and mysticism.  Religion and science have often had an uneasy relationship. They still do, in many ways. And of course science itself is a religion to many people…And yet, I believe that the division between science and spirituality is healing–that science, at its best, is simply human reason struggling toward the truth of things…” (Ibid, pp. 304-305)

Forrest further suggests that the time between now and 2026 will see quantum leaps in this area.  I, for one, can hardly wait.

heisenbergquoteThis brings to mind forward thinkers like Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics, published initially clear back in 1976.  This book definitely served as a prelude to a melding of science and mysticism.  He begins this fascinating work with one of my all-time favorite quotes from Werner Heisenberg, which states, “It is probably true quite generally that in the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet.  These lines may have their roots in quite different times or different cultural environments or different religious traditions: hence if they actually meet, that is, if they are at least so much related to each other that a real interaction can take place, then one may hope that new and interesting developments may follow.”

deanw-bookPerhaps Neptune’s subtle influences will facilitate the removal of the stigma associated with metaphysical phenomena sufficiently to allow such collaboration.  I suspect researchers such as Dean Radin, whose specialty is psi phenomena, and popular physicist Michio Kaku, a proponent of a multi-dimensional universe, could come up with some incredibly interesting insights.

The coming decade indeed promises to be an interesting one.  My fondest hope is that I’ll figure out how to recover all those items I secured in that safe place, somewhere in the 4th dimension.

 

Challenges of Space Exploration: Gravity Assisted Functions

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One of my first assignments as a NASA contractor at Johnson Space Center in Houston back in the late 80s was to participate in a vendor survey seeking sources of medical equipment used for life science experiments in Spacelab (mock-up used for training purposed pictured above). If an item was available commercially, it could save a tremendous amount of money versus developing one from scratch and essentially reinventing the wheel.

When I would talk to each sales representative, who was usually rather excited to be talking to someone from NASA, the first thing I would ask would be, “Will this particular item work upside down?”

The ensuing silence never failed to make me smile.  After a sufficiently dramatic pause, I would explain.

Anything used in space needed to function without any assistance from gravity. This could be something as simple as a reagent moving through a tube or some mechanical part that required a nudge from the 9.8 meters/second/second acceleration of gravity.

Since we’ve all grown up on Earth’s gravity field, it’s easy to take it for granted. In fact, I was amazed to encounter situations where aerospace engineers made the mistake of designing something that was gravity dependent! How ironic is that? That’s how pervasive it is, that even someone trained specifically to work in the space industry would forget that important little detail. Along similar lines, when the shuttle would arrive in orbit, any tools left in the cargo bay, or anywhere else, for that matter, would come floating out, sometimes presenting a serious hazard.

Take a look around and think about some of the things you do every day that depend on gravity. Would your food stay on your plate or your drink in the glass? Nope. Could you wash your clothes in your washing machine? Nope. Would water run out of the tap so you could brush your teeth? Not unless it was under pressure and then it probably wouldn’t go where expected. Floating around looks like a lot of fun, but many an astronaut has battled with space sickness as his or her stomach was quite literally upset with food refusing to settle.

While my heroine, Creena, is onboard the escape pod, she encounters similar issues since it didn’t have a gravity simulator. To quote from “Beyond the Hidden Sky:”

“Nonetheless, there were still a few things she’d never get used to. Like the sanicube. She’d never thought of going to the bathroom or taking a shower as gravity assisted functions before, but they were, with equally bizarre solutions.”

Think about going to the bathroom standing on your head. More than likely, you wouldn’t like the result. Needless to say, toilet facilities in space require innovation to avoid what could otherwise be an extremely unpleasant environment. You can’t pick up a toilet that will work in space at Home Depot, that’s for sure, and developing one was expensive. Even then, it wasn’t ideal. I talked to individuals who were tasked with cleaning up the space shuttle when it returned from a mission who described a rather disgusting mess. Not only would it look as if the astronauts had engaged in numerous food fights, it would smell similar to a port-a-potty as well. Yummy, right?

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It was quite common when I would go to schools to talk about space exploration that someone would inevitably ask about the space toilet. It certainly didn’t look anything like a normal commode. It employed assistance from vacuum hoses for urination and a general vacuum for defecation. I had a tour of the toilet training facilities with some of my coworkers one time which, of course, we found somewhat amusing. Potty training for astronauts certainly seemed a bit odd, considering all the high-tech training they received.

The funniest part was that the toilet in the training facility actually had a video camera inside it! This had an important purpose, i.e., so trainees could see if they were correctly parked on the seat, which was required to maintain that vacuum effect noted earlier. Failing to do so would result in, well, the possible escape of something you wouldn’t exactly want to encounter floating around, eh?

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It didn’t take long for someone to dub it the “butt cam” and we joked about the possibility of someone broadcasting the training session across NASA Select, the private TV network that spanned not only Johnson Space Center but every other NASA facility and accessible in every conference room, lobby and manager’s office. No doubt the “butt cam” was on a closed circuit, but this shows the type of humor we engineers found in the most unlikely places. Yes, it was definitely fun and interesting to work at NASA.

How many “gravity assisted functions” that we Earthlings take for granted can you think of?

 

“The Calm Before the Storm: Evan’s Sins” – Nail-biting Murder Mystery Suspense

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If you like extreme suspense that lingers somewhere in the dark with The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock and Mary Higgins Clark, then you need to check out Elle Klass’ latest chiller, Calm Before the Storm: Evan’s Sins. There were parts of this book that were simply too much for this faint-hearted reader to handle!

There were a few scenes I contributed to via my Whobeda persona. I had fun doing this interview for Elle’s blog with the fictitious Whobeda which you can find here. After we discovered that astrology works on fictitious characters (see my previous blog on the subject here) Elle decided what we’d discovered was too good not to include in the book as part of its occult angle. Stay turned for an excerpt that contains some of the results. It wasn’t originally intended to be a blatant plug for my book, Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology, but it turned out that way. In fact, the reason it’s now available in print as well as an ebook is because Elle wanted to give away an autographed copy as part of her book launch activities. Talk about motivation!

It’s no surprise that Elle’s a night-owl whose imagination feeds off shadows and creaks in the attic. Her previous works include As Snow Falls (which I loved); Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy (creeped me out), and the Baby Girl series (if you haven’t met Cleo, you need to). Eye of the Storm Eilida’s Tragedy, first book in this new series, is a Reader’s Favorite Fiction-Paranormal Finalist in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Awards. The Calm Before the Storm Evan’s Sins is a worthy sequel (prequel, actually) that’s even creepier. Elle has a gift for suspense which in this series has turned lethal. (It’s moderately graphic in the sex and violence department to say nothing of nail-biting suspense so I’d rate it in the “R” range.)

Visit her website at https://elleklass.weebly.com.

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Video Trailer

Blurb:

Evan O’Conner isn’t a normal child. His father’s alcoholism and mother’s abuse drive him to concoct a plan to rid his life of them permanently. The night is fraught with a horrendous storm, thunder and lightning as the beast inside him is born. Even in her death his mother won’t leave. She haunts his subconscious as he attempts over and over to kill her.

Evan meets his match when Officer Burkhalder enters the picture. One of her closest friends and his family fall victim to violent deaths during the worst hurricane Billows Hollow has ever seen. With only a sketch she learns the identity of the perpetrator and digs into his life, pries into his past – hunting him. Will she stop him? Or will somebody else?

Excerpt

Eilida yelped at the chance to make the OPA conference and her chance to meet nationally renowned Patrice Renard. The 9th annual professional astrology retreat in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She flew down the stairs and flopped her body on the couch next to Sage. Leaning her head against her friend’s shoulder she blurted her news. “I did it. We’re in!” She lifted her head to gauge Sage’s response.

“OMG!” The two women leapt off the couch and jumped up and down like two school girls going to see their favorite band. Both women believed there was more to life, something brewing beneath the surface, or in this case above the surface – dictated by the stars and planets of the vast universe.

Sage and Eilida arrived at the convention center and took the nearest escalator to where the conference was being held. They stepped inside the vendor room, eyes soaking in the activity around them. The huge room was divided into several aisles with more vendors lining both sides as well as the perimeter. Astrology related materials, from jewelry to crystals, were everywhere. As they strolled the aisles, Eilida tried not to be too obvious ogling the name badges of those around them, looking for someone whose name she’d recognize. Some astrologers looked appropriately weird in long, flowing skirts matched only by their hair, with more rings than fingers while others were in jeans and others still in business dress. The men were mostly in casual dress, though one in particular was wearing a kilt. Her eyes took in his strong, muscular legs and sent a quiver bounding through her as she imagined the kilt tossed on the arm of a chair and… She shook the image from her mind.

The pair perused the plethora of goodies, Eilida dragging her friend by the hand when she saw a crystal table, spending a good bit of time examining the many offerings. She felt drawn to certain ones, slips of cardstock the size of a business card accompanying each one describing the stone’s influence.

She stood there a while, admiring one in particular for its odd shape. The card said it was a desert rose, good for transmuting hatred into love and healing past conflicts. She took it in her hand to see how it felt. It felt good but she could see the vendor guy was occupied with other customers so set it back carefully, deciding to come back later.

Another table caught her eye, this one apparently occupied by an astrologer. The lady behind it had shoulder length salt and pepper hair, maybe a bit more salt than pepper. Her genuine smile and attentiveness to those talking to her attracted Eilida. While other patrons talked to the astrologer Eilida browsed her books, one of which was entitled Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology. She picked it up and flipped through the pages, reading sporadically.

As much of an astrology buff as she was, most of it really confused her. Written in terms that made sense, Eilida decided to buy one and waited in line to get it autographed.

At last it was her turn and she handed over the book, grateful no one was behind her so she could chat a bit.

“Hi,” the woman said with a smile. “Would you like me to inscribe it to you personally or leave it plain so you can sell it on eBay when you’re done?”

Eilida laughed. “I wouldn’t do that!” she responded.

“Yes, you would,” Sage muttered, giving her a friendly nudge.

Continue reading

Baby Girl Series Box Set Now Available!

Babygirl bannerI’m excited to be one of the stops on the blog tour for the release of Elle Klass’ Baby Girl Series Box Set! I loved the stories the first time I read them as separate books, which tended to be several months apart, which meant that I often forgot who some of the characters were during the time gaps. Thus, I truly enjoyed being able to reread the entire story, start to finish, as one contiguous story. Some scenes were expanded or even added which further enhanced this amazing tale of an abandoned girl’s quest to not only find out who she really is but to survive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Elle was born in Redwood City, California and spent her childhood growing up in the fabulous San Francisco Bay Area. She is an avid San Francisco Forty Niners fan. She has raised two beautiful daughters, and currently resides in Florida. For fun she reads, spends time at the beach, travels, and enjoys time with her favorite friends, and family. She is a night-owl known as most her creative energy and ideas strike after 9 p.m. I interviewed Elle here on my blog site a few months ago which you can find here.

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The box set includes the entire saga as told in the original four books entitled In the Beginning, Moonlighting is Paris, City by the Bay, and Bite the Big Apple. The story begins when abandoned at 12, Baby Girl is forced to face the harsh realities of life and struggles to find her path. She forages for sustenance, steals from the wealthy, and sleeps in any dark hole she can find. A ‘family’ of sorts forms between her and a band of other youngsters. Together they fight for survival, friendship, and love in the midst, but that is only the beginning. Life throws her one curve ball after another until secrets are revealed and the search for her true origins begins and ends with the powerful truth.

Here are excerpts from each of the individual stories that comprise the Baby Girl Box Set.

Book 1: In the Beginning

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Approaching Winter

We burned stray wood and paper in the trashcan for warmth, and stock-piled blankets, coats and extra clothes during the frigid winter months. Star and Peewee huddled together for warmth and Einstein held me close. The city was marvelous and bustling with life making it easy now to fit into a crowd and earn extra money. We tricked people out of hundreds of dollars in cash taking advantage of their generosity.

Einstein found an old small plastic Christmas tree in a dumpster and brought it to the warehouse. He insisted it wasn’t Christmas without presents so we found gifts for each other and placed them under the tree. It was the first Christmas in my life I celebrated. My mother never celebrated any holiday, nor did I ever receive gifts on special occasions such as my birthday. My mom’s gift every year was an expressionless ‘Happy birthday’. I found a working gold watch with engraving on the underside of the face plate, but that didn’t matter. I gave it to Einstein because of his preoccupation with keeping track of time. Star found and gave Peewee a new pair of shoes as his were falling apart at the seams and unsuitable for trudging through piles of snow. Star gave me a fiction book as I loved to read, and Einstein gave Star a tiara because she adored anything with sparkles and glitter. Instead of eating leftovers or cooking canned meats or hotdogs, we took our money and ate inside a nice restaurant. We splurged and partied creating an unforgettable Christmas.

Einstein survived on his own longer than the rest of us and wanted more than dumpster leftovers and abandoned warehouses. He grew eager to leave and developed a plan to heist jewelry and small valuable items from people’s homes while they were away on vacation. Later we’d sell everything for cash.

We became obsessed with staking out neighborhoods and houses. The four of us wanted the same thing, a “normal” life. We found homes spaced apart geographically, hoping to draw less attention than if we hit homes in the same areas. Einstein and I hit the first home and everything went smooth as melted caramel. We chose the house after observing the owner’s leaving the spare key hidden under a stone behind the house. The ordinary neighborhood and tract homes meant no alarms. For our first heist we made a wise choice.

Once inside the house we used our flashlights to find our way around, careful not to shine them towards the windows and take the chance of alerting the neighbors. In the master bedroom we found a solid gold chain, two gold rings with precious stones that Einstein said were amethyst, emeralds, and onyx but mostly costume stuff. How Einstein knew each stone stumped me. In the dining hutch we found crystal goblets. Einstein claimed they were real crystal because he wet his finger, swirled it around the top of one glass and made it sing. A cool trick I wouldn’t have known on my own. I took his knowledge of precious stones and crystal as clues to his upbringing and guessed he’d lived a more privileged life than myself.

“How did you know to do that?”

The corners of his lips turned upward in a smile. “I can’t tell you all my secrets.”

We wrapped the goblets in dish towels using great care and placed them into our backpacks.

After Einstein and I successfully hit a few homes, Star decided she wanted in on the scam. Einstein thought it was a bad idea because of Peewee, but Star insisted. She wanted a piece of the action. She and Einstein butted heads over it causing friction amongst us.

One night Star and Peewee followed us out and caught up to us as we finished hijacking items from the house. The second we stepped outside the house a familiar whisper, “Cleo” alerted me Star followed us. My body halted mid-stride as I caught sight of her and Peewee’s shadows standing against the wall of the house. Einstein motioned for them to edge their way to the back of the house where there were no light sensors. Star shuffled towards us, but Peewee stepped out too far and the lights went on brightening the entire side of the house. Oh crap! We fled in varying directions. I held the bag of loot in my hand and once I ran I didn’t turn my head to look behind me. I hastened my pace at the sounds of people. Several blocks away I cowered in an alley to catch my breath. Einstein was right behind me and ducked into the alley with me.

“Star and Peewee, are they with you?”

He shook his head as if to say ‘no’ and turned his eyes downward. “It’s time to leave” he said after a moment of silence.

“OK, yeah, we need to get back.”

He grasped my shoulders. “Leave – as in this city. There were too many lights, commotion, and sirens at the scene for Star and Peewee to slip away. They aren’t as savvy as we are. The police are gonna be looking for us next.”

My mind absorbed with escaping I missed the wailing sirens. He was right and my head reeled at the implications his words threw at me.

“You think they’ll tell on us?”

The nod of his head told me ‘yes’.

I couldn’t leave yet I needed my bag from its secret place.

“We gotta go back to the warehouse. I have something hidden there that I need.” His eyes grew soft, and he agreed.

Back at the warehouse, I went straight to my secret place. Within minutes the sound of voices tickled our eardrums and lights flashing beneath us.

“Squish in beside me.”

Without a moment to spare Einstein squeezed in the cubby hole. Radios blared on the other side of the cubby and police scoured the building but came up empty. I whispered in Einstein’s ear, “Star and Peewee squealed quick.”

“They did – or the police are here for something else.” ‘Something else’ was possible. Either way, neither of us wanted to get caught. Hours passed with Einstein and I scrunched on top of each other. Teenage hormones, close quarters, and our semi attraction to each other brought our relationship to a new level. Our hearts raced together from the excitement. Einstein held me flush against him.

“I love you Cleo.”

The sound of his words caused a wave of want to wash came over me and I kissed him. My first kiss ever. I drove my tongue deep inside his mouth. Einstein’s words and kiss melted my heart. My own mother never showed me any affection. As I kissed him, he kissed me back. We explored under each other’s clothes. Our fingers and hands discovering the joys of the opposite sex. I yearned for his love and firm embrace. The moment thrilled me, I didn’t want it to end.

The next day we waited for Star and Peewee, but we both knew the police found them. Under the cover of dusk we snuck out, taking great pains to not get caught.

Book 2:  Moonlighting in Paris

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Here and Gone

Our engagement party stood out as the soirée of all soirées: co-workers, friends, and I invited Kamisha. I unexpectedly grew used to the flamboyant lifestyle, but on the inside – it wasn’t me. The focus of the night centered on Didier and I and it overwhelmed me. People I barely knew, or never met congratulated me, and young ladies eyed me with envy. Whispers circulated the room: Who is she? Where did she come from? Then You don’t belong… You don’t belong in smudged lipstick echoed inside me. I snuck away finding a deserted room I closed the door behind me and took a deep breath then composed myself. The echoes in my head faded, and I emerged into the hallway.

The door closed behind me and a warm, sweaty hand slipped across my mouth. Heavy breathing followed by a crackling voice said, “You need to go back to wherever you came from, Justine.” Her voice reverberated inside me and Sam’s self-defense skills blossomed into action as I grabbed hold of the mystery woman’s arm and slung her over my shoulder. A puff of dark hair and a small frame came thundering forward, landing on the floor with a loud thud. I drove my shoe into her side for good measure and ran down the hall, rounding the corner I ran into Sam.

The expression on my face gave away my fear. “Wow! Where have you been? What happened?”

“I threw her in the hall, on the floor.” I squeaked. He burst down the hall.

Didier’s forehead creased with lines and his eyes grew dark as he walked towards me. He scrutinized our actions. “Where is Sam?”

“I used the skills he taught me. A woman caught me from behind, I flipped her, and left her in the hall crumpled on the floor.”

A look I didn’t expect came over his face as his lips curled into a smile of satisfaction. “I will remember not to get on your bad side. Was she the same woman from Aruba?”

“I don’t think so. Her hair was dark and short, although her size and frame are correct. With her hair covering her face, I can’t be sure.”

The woman disappeared by the time Sam arrived. He and security scoured every inch of the hotel, and scanned the video footage, though apparently she busted the camera in that hallway. My immediate thought was, how convenient you little bitch. They didn’t find her, although we didn’t come up empty handed. I threw her so hard she left a small blood stain behind, it got collected and sent in for analysis. In the cover of night she fled, but I would soon know who she was and I’d be ready. My devious mind schemed for her return.

Over the next few weeks, I assisted in planning my wedding and succumbed to being a public societal figure. In the past I worried about my transgressions slamming me in the face, but now I looked my fear in the eye and assisted in the hosting and planning of various charity events. I wanted this would-be assailant woman to find me. With my ears open and eyes peeled, I watched and waited.

Book 3:  City by the Bay

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The Tomato Shack

I worked up the courage over a weekend to visit the places my mom frequented, according to the letters, every three years with Slug. The Tomato Shack was a divey little sub sandwich shop outside Sacramento. The blue paint on the outside peeled and cracked from sun and lack of upkeep. Each window displayed the ad, Lunch Sandwich Special 12 inch Sub Plus Large Drink and Bag of Chips $5.00, along with multiple sets of fingerprints. Inside, dirt built up in the corners of the tile floor, and dark mucky splotches muddled the walls. The whole place reminded of an unclean public restroom. The counter and tables looked clean, although I doubted bleach had touched them for years.

A young girl, no more than sixteen, stood behind the counter. She twisted at her blond ringlets while smacking on what sounded like an entire package of bubble gum, her hands gliding over the screen of her phone. I grasped she wouldn’t be able to provide me any info, although I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. She glanced my way with steely, battleship-gray eyes as I approached the counter, “Ready to order?” she asked, placing her phone on the counter with a sigh like I was intruding on her.

I flipped my P.I. card at her. “I’m looking for information. Is there a manager or owner whom I could speak with?”

“My dad owns the place. He’ll be in tomorrow.” Her words came out in spurts between chomps, followed up with a mega-sized bubble I expected to pop all over her face. She sucked it back in without a single strand sticking to her face. Her blank stare told me her synapses halted firing and her brain was a few walnuts shy of the tree.

“Thanks, about what time?”

Chomp, chomp, smack. Her eyes jolted to life alerting me that her synapses were back online. “‘Bout one in the afternoon.”

“I’ll be back then.”

My next stop was 1523 Tanwood Dr. Rows of duplexes lined the street on both sides circling around a cul-de-sac. The construction was ‘80s style with lackluster brown paint on each and every cloned home. 1523 sat on the outer edge of the cul-de-sac. I walked up the street, contemplating what to say. I considered this place had been something to Slug, not my mother, and many years passed since he’d sent the letter. Neighborhoods like these were transient, revolving doors for people trying to make a start or dealing drugs. Thoughts flopped around in my head something like a lizard’s tail missing its body. The front door coming ever closer with each step.

The door now stared me in the face, the doorbell a hands length away. Without warning heavy metal music blasted like an automatic rifle against my eardrums, and the sound of a sputtering engine halted me in my tracks. I turned to see a late model Camaro pulling into the driveway. A fortyish man stepped out of the vehicle, a mane of thick brown hair flowed in a bad mullet from his head, a denim jacket minus sleeves covered his torso. The sleeves handmade judging by the frazzled ends of the fabric around his arms, with a black rock T underneath, and jeans that boasted more holes than my worst pair during my homeless days, covered his legs. “I’m not buying, so go away,” sputtered off his lips with a vengeance.

Did I look like a saleswoman in my jeans and T-shirt? His obvious negativity towards me resonated inside my head, forcing me to make up a story and quick. “No, no, I’m not here selling anything. In fact, I’m hoping you can help me?”

“You’re a little young for me, but maybe we can work something out.” He murmured edging ever closer attempting to invade my space. I felt uncomfortable, and thoughts of planting my foot straight into his most prized bodily possession lingered at the edge of reality. Carefully, I chose my words, “Are you Frank Tomey?”

I knew Slug, Frank, or whoever, was sitting inside a jail cell; however, I meant business. He stopped a few feet from me; narrowed his eyes into tiny slits while rolling his fat sickly yellowish tongue across his lips. “Frank. What do you want with him?” Satisfaction overwhelmed me. He knew him. My fabrication formulated with every word that sprung from my mouth.

“I believe I’m his daughter. Many years ago he dated my mom.” At this point I pulled out the picture of Perdy I lifted from her mother’s and poised it in front of his face.

“I never seen her and haven’t talked to Frank in a decade.” His eyes prickled at me to go away, and with each ensuing second that passed the air thickened with tension. I stood my ground, an out of shape, ‘80s castaway was no match for me.

I drilled him with my cold hard stare until he relented. “Alright, Frank is my kid brother but we don’t talk. He got messed up in some bad shit I didn’t need rolling back on me.”

I continued my glare, attempting to boil information from his innards. “I didn’t know he had a kid, doubt he knew he had a kid. You gonna keep staring me down?” Since studying La Tige’s tactics this had been my first opportunity to use them and they worked far better than I expected. Sweat drops bubbled on his forehead. “He’s in jail, killed some kid a few years ago. He’s not a good guy. Not even when he was a young pup. Always played dirty.”

Now that he was talking I dared to reenter the conversation using the sympathy card. “I’m not looking for him to be a father figure. I just want to know about him.”

“It’s been a long night. Can this wait?”

“No, it took me days, and switching several busses to get here after finding a love letter he wrote to my mother asking her to meet him here, and to bring me.” I fudged the love letter thing, thinking that my continued appeal to his compassionate side would at least get me in the door.

He rolled his eyes. “A love letter? He’s a psychopath, an extreme narcissist.” He flopped his hands to his sides in surrender. “Come in. I’ll tell you what I got.” And whatever I asked he answered.

The tales he told were too far-fetched not to be true. “Frank left home at 17, went to Georgia, or Alabama. I forget. He hooked up with some chick, I’m guessing your mom. Then he got a big job in New York working as an enforcer for a rich, powerful family named Britt or Bridge, Bridd? I figured they were mafia, but the name sounded English. I’d figured it would be Scarletti or something Italian. After that he’d come visit every few years. Driving a truck, I’m on the road a lot, so I’d let him crash here. He talked big about his job, being the muscle for that family puffed up his self-centered ego. After a while I didn’t hear from him no more. He’s my brother, but he’s a bad egg, so I didn’t miss him. Then several years ago, he calls me from jail. Hadn’t heard from him in years and suddenly he wants money for a lawyer.” He clicked his tongue. “He’s not head smart, but I can’t remember him ever mentioning a kid.”

I pondered his words, swishing them around mentally. “I don’t think he wanted much to do with me. She raised me alone, never said a word about who my father was. When I grew old enough to ask she blew it off, changing the subject. I found the letters while snooping around her room.” It wasn’t a total embellishment; at least the snooping and single mom things were true. He gave me Slug’s (Frank’s) address in prison. One day I’d pay old Slug a visit, but not until I fit the puzzle pieces together.

The following day arrived with a chill in the air and fog so dense I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. By noon a carpet of blue sprawled across the sky, and the fog dissipated without leaving a trace. The sandwich shop looked just as dismal and murky as the previous day. A pimply faced young man replaced gum-smacking blondie at the counter. I went through the same routine without squandering a single second. “I was here yesterday and a young blond girl told me the owner would be in today?”

“Dad, a lady’s here to see you!” He hollered. His buzz cut moved as his mouth opened.

A family-run business, perhaps he didn’t sell enough sandwiches to hire real help. Within a few minutes a staunch, grossly overweight man shuffled towards me. His eyes were tiny beads set inside rolls of dough, and large wet stains filled the cloth beneath his armpits, I noticed as he offered me his hand, mumbling something that sounded like, “What can I help you with?”

I shook his pudgy, cold, clammy hand. “I work for a P.I. We’re looking for a woman. She used to frequent here about fifteen years ago.” I pulled out Perdy’s picture, which he took and examined, holding it an arm’s length from his face.

He rubbed his available hand across his mouth and nose as if deep in thought, his chest heaved in and out. “I remember her. She met a man in the parking lot once, called the police on him. He hit her right outside the door, and knocked her on the ground; her nose was flowing like a sieve. Scared my customers.”

I looked around at the vacant shop attempting to envision people eating here. He must have read my body language. “This place used to get business, high school kids, day time regulars, until crime moved in and everyone else moved out. Police cleaned it up, but it’s too late, everyone’s gone.” His voice laced with melancholy for the booming place his restaurant had been.

He talked in short sentences, followed by heavy breathing as if each word formed was a struggle. I felt no need to keep this man talking or reflecting on a time past. I had enough. I’d call the sheriff’s office tomorrow and get the police report faxed.

Book 4: Bite the Big Apple

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00027]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00027]

Catch Me if You Can

I searched the surrounding woods looking in all the nooks and crannies I would have hid inside of. My advantage, I played in the woods as a child and knew the best hiding places. I found them in a hollowed out tree trunk, one of my favorite childhood spots. I walked up to the tree keeping my voice calm. “Come on out. I’m not going to turn you in.”

One at a time they crawled out of the tree trunk. Both stood before me staring at the ground. “We’re sorry. We didn’t know you lived there.” Said the girl.

“I don’t anymore. What are your names?” Their eyes met then both sets locked onto my eyes.

“I’m Rosey and he’s Thorn.” Obviously made up names, same M.O. as Einstein and I.

“Rosey and Thorn, nice to meet you. Are you hungry?”

Thorn grabbed Rosey’s hand. “Yes, thank you. What’s your name?” I envisioned the many times Einstein held my hand in a similar way.

“Shanna, I don’t drive but town is a short walk.”

“Why don’t you own a car?”

Rosey poked Thorn in the side and whispered, “She invites us to eat and you complain she doesn’t have a car?”

I chuckled. “I don’t like to drive.”

We strolled into town and chatted most the way. Once we sat down for dinner they ate like little pigs, another sign confirming they ran away. When they filled their bellies I asked them questions.

“I won’t waste my time or yours. Rosey and Thorn are not your real names. I want to help you but you have to trust me.”

“We can leave, thanks for dinner,” said Thorn.

I put my palm out instructing them to stop then waved my hand towards the seat for them to sit. They were compliant and planted their butts back into the booth.

“Spill.”

Rosey opened her mouth first. “My mother is ill. She can’t work and my father is dead.”

I raised my eyebrow then turned to Thorn. “And you?”

He sat silent for a moment his head angled towards the table. He rose his head without looking at me. “OK, Rosey is a better liar than me. Her mother isn’t ill and her father isn’t dead. We go into your cabin sometimes and smoke pot.”

I nodded. “The made up names?”

“We didn’t want to get caught. It’s still illegal for us.”

“Unless you have a medicinal card which two minors wouldn’t have. Where do you get the pot?”

Thorn shrugged. “My dad’s stash.”

“Do you live close?”

“I do, Thorn is my cousin. He’s staying with me this weekend.” Rosey slid out of the booth.

“I’ll walk you both home.”

Relief washed over my body until I saw Rosey’s house. The siding missing in spots, junk cars littered the driveway, and the front window had a long crack in it. Poor didn’t mean her parents weren’t loving people. I sucked in my judgements until I met her parent’s.

“Thanks, you don’t need to follow us inside.”

“I’d like to say hi to your parents.”

An outside light lit up as we walked towards the house. And the front door opened. A bulky man stood in the doorway, blocking the inside light. “That you Jen?”

“Yes dad.”

“Who’s that with you?”

“Shanna, we met her in town today.”

Her father carried his large bulk towards me. “Shanna, nice to meet you and thank you for seeing they got home safe. Would you like to step inside for a minute?” I accepted his offer as I worried for the teens. After thirty minutes of discussion he passed my test, and I left. The shack stood on the other side of the patch of woods from their house.

Crickets chirped their night time song, and the gibbous moon lighted my way. I stayed one last night. The next morning I bought $346 worth of groceries and had them delivered to Rosey’s (Jen’s) house.

* * *

Cleo is the main character in the Baby Girl series so let’s learn a little bit more about this feisty and resourceful girl.

MF: What is your name?

Cleo

MF: Do you have a nickname?

I’ve had more names than blades of grass on a lush lawn Justine and Shanna to name a couple.

MF: What is your hair color?

My natural color is dark brown but it’s been various shades depending on my persona.

MF: What is your eye color?

Green

MF: How old are you?

21

MF: Where were you born?

Brennan California. Not really, I grew up there but was born in a hospital in New York.

MF: Where have you lived since then?

Most everywhere in the U.S. – Alabama, California, New York, Seattle. I also lived in Paris for a couple years.

MF: Where do you currently call home?

Where ever my heart takes me.

MF: What is in your refrigerator right now?

I love to cook so a little of this a little of that. You won’t find any hot dogs or junk food.

MF: What is on your bedroom floor?

The carpet. OK, seriously my favorite pair of flip-flops. They’re black with beads adorning the toe piece.

MF: What is on your nightstand?

A picture of my fun in Santa Cruz. Fetch, Kacy, myself, and Javier took a group photo in the hot tub. The picture brings back fun memories I like to think about when I’m falling asleep. I have an alarm clock shaped like a shell that plays Wipeout.

MF: What is in your garbage can?

Trash, an empty bottle of Sauvignon blanc,

MF: Who are the people you are closest to?

La Tige, Kacy, James and Will. We talk and visit every chance we get. La Tige isn’t a big talker so I dominate our conversations but he’s like a father to me. Kacy is the best friend a girl could ever have.

MF: Who is your funniest friend?

Kacy! She is crazy and makes silly facial expressions while doing impressions.

MF: What is your most treasured possession?

My back pack memories – pictures of Einstein, memorabilia of our times together.

MF: What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Einstein was my first love. A huge part of my heart will always belong to him.

MF: What do you most value in your friends?

Their big hearts. I grew up without a “real” family. My best friends are my family. La Tige has done more to help me than any single person without prodding. Kacy and I have an inseparable bond and Will is Will. James was always there for me when I needed shady business done. It felt really great to do something for him.

MF: What is your motto?

Don’t give up!

Cleo’s Pinterest Pagehttps://www.pinterest.com/elleklass/cleos-favorites/

* * *

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