Tag Archive: Santa Cruz


Limited Laptop Access…


Hello everyone, I’m afraid that i have limited access to my computer for the moment.  My wife’s laptop got damaged and is currently still in the shop being repaired.  Now, in case you didn’t know we’re both currently taking college classes and she needs internet access to do a lot of on-line homework.  So I’m sharing my computer with her.  Ergo, I haven’t been online a lot lately.

I can report that I’m over 1/2 way through the first draft of my 2nd novel “The Ship”.  However I’m considering changing the name to “The Deathship” but I’m not sure yet.  The book is part of my horror/mystery/sci-fi series and is a sequel to my first book “The Bridge”.  Any thoughts on the title choice would be greatly appreciated.  To help you decide I’m going to give you all a brief rundown on the story.

Billionaire shipping heiress and psychic Cassandra Elliott and her new love Julie DeLuca-Cloudfoot have come to Santa Cruz California to unwind and recover from a battle with a creature from  a parallel version of Earth back in book one.  While staying at a beach house they encounter a living ship from the past.  This vessel is known as the DEATHSHIP and has crossed paths with Cassandra’s family before.  After a brief encounter the ship during a surfing less, Cassandra is briefly touched by the nightmare vessel and it has  learned of her psychic powers.  Now it is hunting her not for revenge, but because it wants her to be its new navigator.  At the same time, two enemies who survived from the first book have followed her to Santa Cruz and are trying to keep her alive for their own sinister purposes.  Only two things are keeping Cassie safe.  One is her Seneca Shamaness girlfriend Julie.  The other is the ghost of Brandon Elliott, a 19th century ancestor who, for reasons unknown, has watched over her since the day she was born.

I’m featuring an actual places found here in Santa Cruz where I live.  Plus I’m using a historical landmark known as the Concrete Boat as one of the key components in the novel’s final battle scene.  I’m hoping to have a completed 1st draft by the end of this month… provided I get full access to my laptop back soon and college doesn’t overload me with homework.

That’s all for now.  Hope to post more soon.  Have a great weekend everyone and please leave some comments, I could really use some feedback on this blog.  Thanks.


Hello everyone.  Sorry for the long silence, but as you read in my last entry I lost a dear friend, Brenda Smith.  I didn’t know it at first, but she died of cancer.  She never told me or many of our other friends.  That was just Brenda’s way.  I spent part of the morning, after I heard of her death, down at the beach taking photos of the waves.  Brenda had always loved the ocean.  While I was there I got a great inspiration.  She had been one of the staunchest supporters of my writing efforts, next to my wife Helen.  Brenda even offered to get me to WorldCon last year, just for a day so I could see the HUGO Awards in person and get a look at one up close.  Unfortunately, my schedule did not allow me to take up her offer.  

So while I was at the beach I realized that my 2nd book, which is currently up to 38,000 words in length, involves the ocean and a dark secret.  So I’ve decided to dedicate it to Brenda as a thank you and to keep her memory alive in a way.

So here’s a peak at Book #2.  This takes place at an actual location here in Santa Cruz California.  In time, I’m planning to also start a Video-Log or VLOG as it’s called.  Taking you all to some of the locations that appear in my writings, or just to show you where I go to get inspiration and ideas.   In the meantime, please enjoy this small offering from my novel-in-progress “THE SHIP”

Outside the multi-million dollar beach house, the black of night ruled.  Among the few shadows that owed their existence to the outdoor lighting, was one particularly dark shade.  It had lain just outside the window of the dining room, where Cassandra had been sharing her tale with Julie.  Now, with both girls out of the room, the darkness seemed to slide down the side of the house and across the sand.

Its trajectory brought it to the water’s edge where it continued on its journey unabated.  Across the gentle waves it traveled until it reached an odd structure at the end of a pier several hundred yards away.

It looked like an old ship that had broken in half some years ago.  This was S. S. Palo Alto, more commonly known as ‘The Cement Ship’.  It was called this because the hull of the great vessel had been made of concrete.  Construction of this unique ship had begun during World War I, when materials began to become scarce, but finished a year after the war had actually ended.   She had been mothballed by the navy 10 years later and sold to a private entertainment company who had brought it here to Seaside, not far from Santa Cruz.

Once settled into its new home the ship had been built into a showplace with dining, entertainment, even a swimming pool.  But when the company went belly up during the Great Depression, the ship was stripped of its luxuries and abandoned.  Eventually the middle section broke in half and it had since been turned into an artificial reef and sanctuary for marine life.  No one was allowed onto the vessel these days.  A tall chain link fence kept it human free, but still provided easy viewing to curiosity seekers.

But tonight, a figure was standing on top of the far end of the wreck.  He had long white-hair and a flowing black cape that seemed to taper and stretch all the way down to the water some 30 feet below.  It was towards him that the living darkness moved because it was actually part of the flowing garment around his shoulders.  It had stretched itself all the way to the structure where Cassandra and Julie were making love for the first time.

The man smiled, having heard everything the two women had discussed.  He marveled, not for the first time, at the abilities of his associate.  The creature was intelligent but not wise to the ways of this world or its inhabitants.   In some ways the thing was almost animal-like in its behavior; survival and hunting were of high priority.

Mere seconds before the police had electrocuted the creature on the bridge his ally had detached itself from the main body.  It had been the first of what was supposed to have been hundreds, but its siblings had not broken off in time and were annihilated along with their progenitor.

He himself had tried to stop Cassandra and her friends from escaping the bridge, but that damned Brandon had interfered and forced him to withdraw.  This had not been the first time the son of Jerome had thwarted his efforts.  There had been others all the way up to Great Conflagration of 1887 where his enemy had finally fallen.

A smile crossed his face fleetingly at the memory.  At the time he had foolishly believed that encounter had been their last, but no.  Even death had not stopped Brandon.

But, now that he thought about it, it wasn’t really a surprise.  The members of the Elliott family were made of much sterner stuff than most people.  He knew that better than anyone.

Strange that Cassandra should be talking about Jerome and the birth of his son in particular.

The peeling of the chapel bell, from that night so long ago, still rang in his ears.  Hidden away in the darkness among the trees he had witnessed everything that had transpired.  Even he had marveled at Jerome’s tenacity to talk and move even after his heart had long stopped beating.  And the sight of the man racing out of the chamber and grabbing the child startled… no shocked him.  For a brief instant he had wondered if in fact the pathway had been sealed, but then Jerome fell to his knees and he knew better.  What he had been witnessing was an act of sheer willpower.  Driven by an overwhelming desire to protect his child Jerome had put off his own fate, but only for a few brief moments.

“Who would’ve thought it possible?” he murmured quietly.

No one who entered the chamber ever left it under their own power… except once.  Smiling inwardly he began to make plans.  Cassandra’s time was drawing closer.  He would have to keep a closer eye on her since she was the key to… the rest of his thoughts were interrupted by the stirring of his cape.

Frowning he glanced downwards and saw it was stretching down into the water once more.  Ah, you’re hungry again, he thought and waited.

Standing motionless, eyes closed, he barely noticing the gentle caress of the night breeze across his face.  Suddenly, there was a commotion in the water below.   There was a pulling sensation around his shoulders, but still he did not move.  Eventually the splashing ceased and a grayish mass, tangled in the black strands was lifted out of the water.

It was a great white shark, young, inexperienced and no longer moving.  The poor thing had not realized the tantalizing wriggling shadow that had caught its attention was something more fearsome than itself.  Hungry and dazzled by temptation it had lost its life and was already being digested in a most horrid fashion.  Already the living darkness had swallowed the snout and upper jaw containing the razor-like teeth.

The man could feel his garment pulse as it feasted, yet he did not feel any of the weight of the dead animal.  His companion was bearing the strain without affecting him.  This seemed to defy all the known laws of physics since the creature hung from his shoulders.  “Truly you are extraordinary,” he remarked quietly.  “Would you mind sharing?  I’m a bit peckish myself.”

Silently the blackness brought the body up to him.  Even though it had only been a young shark it was still over 2 meters long and taller than him.  As the animal’s remains were pressed to his chest, he did not raise his hands to grasp it.  Instead he simply stood there while the blackness enfolded them both.  Soon only his head and white hair were visible, perched atop an awkwardly shaped mass of darkness.

Closing his eyes he waited.

His expression became a grimace as the muffled sound of flesh splitting open could be heard.  Then a look of deep satisfaction crossed his features while the ebon folds beneath his chin shifted and squirmed.  Slowly the black swelling below his neck began to shrink in size.

‘Incredible,’ he thought silently.  The two of them had slightly different dietary needs, but the shark’s remains contained more than enough to satisfy the two of them and then some.  There would be very little of the body once they were finished.  And if what passed for his companion’s equivalent of saliva worked in water as well as it did on land, there would be nothing at all.  In time the talent would pass because of biological and chemical changes that would happen as it matured.

It had been a pity that he could not save the original creature.  What a magnificent specimen it had been, but Cassandra and her friends had forced the being to take desperate measures.  The moment its bond with the baby had been severed, the thing had been forced to emerge from inside the bridge.  But it had been too soon.  A few hours more and the spawning would’ve taken place without a hitch.

Alas, only this one had survived, having broken off from the main body just minutes before its parent was completely destroyed.


 

 


Short and sweet entry here folks.  Gotta get to class and study for a mid-term tomorrow, then another big exam for Thursday.  Didn’t want to leave you with nothing.  So here’s a small sampling from what should be my 2nd novel “The Ship”.  It involves Cassandra and Julie, two of the main women from my first novel “The Bridge”.  Cassie is still recovering from wounds suffered during the final battle of that book and has gone to Santa Cruz with her new girlfriend Julie.  This scene takes place on the sands near Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  Enjoy…

“Are you sure you’re up to this Cassie?” asked Julie.

The smaller girl nodded.

“What about your wound?  Are you sure its going to be all right with this salt water?”

Cassandra nodded, “It’s healing pretty well and with the wetsuit covering it, I’ll be all right.”

Smiling the tall muscular brunette shifted the surfboard under her arm.  “Thanks again for all this, I always wanted to try surfing.”

“Well, I hope you have better luck than I’ve had,” Cassie laughed. “I’ve never been able to stand up on the board for more than two seconds.  And this is my fourth time taking the class.”

Their instructor, a well-toned blonde in a black wetsuit blew a whistle.  “Okay gang, remember what you were told and stay close enough so you can hear my instructions.  We’re going to paddle out a ways and get used to sitting on the board.  Pay attention to how it moves in the water and how it responds to your movements.  Let’s go.”

The group of twelve slowly waded out into the water and lay down on their boards and began to paddle as instructed.

They all wore black wetsuits like their instructor.  To Cassie, they looked like a bunch of small Orcas who got bored floating under their own power.  She could hear the sea lions calling to one another around the pier just a few hundred yards away.

On the other side of it was the famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  She must remember to go there with Julie and ride the carousel.  It was one of the oldest ones in existence that still allowed you to grab a brass ring.

A large swell interrupted her thoughts and reminded her to pay attention.  Balance had always been an issue for her.  Ballroom and Yoga were some of the few things that allowed her to compensate for this problem.  But, if she had one of her seizures and zoned, she’d be in trouble.

Luckily she had one ankle attached to the board by five feet of cord.  This was so the surfer couldn’t become separated from it by any great distance.  And of course Julie was nearby and she was a strong swimmer.  Everything should be all right.

Just then something bumped her board from underneath.

Immediately Cassie flattened herself and gripped the edges of the board with a vengeance.  Maybe this wasn’t one of her better ideas after all.

“Miss Elliott?  Is everything all right?” called the instructor some distance away.

Cassandra realized she had been lagging behind.  The rest of the group was well ahead of her, including Julie.  Something was wrong.  She started to feel uneasy and cold inside the well-insulated suit.

Once more she felt her board being bumped by something below.

She felt her panic begin to rise.

“Stay where you are I’m coming,” shouted their teacher who began paddling towards her.  Julie was following close behind.

Cassie tried to remain perfectly still, when suddenly she felt the back end of her board sink slightly.  A moment later there was a splash and a barking sound.

Twisting to look over her shoulder she saw a baby sea lion near her feet.  It had mounted her board and was sitting quite contentedly enjoying the movement of the waves.

“Showoff,” she muttered, and tried to sit up and straddle the board as she had been taught.

As soon as she started to put her legs in the water, the little mammal began to bark insistently at her.

Again the cold feeling of something not being right swept over her.

“You’re afraid of something in the water, aren’t you?” she said to her passenger.

The little creature gave a nervous look around and barked at her with mounting urgency.

Cassie got the message.  There was something in the water and they needed to get out of there.  The water was becoming rougher as if a passing boat had sent a swell their way.  But there was no vessel in sight.

Carefully she paddled the board to face the shore.  She’d try to catch the next swell and ride it while lying flat.

At that moment a voice came over the water, “Hurry child!” it said.

            She froze.  She’d heard that voice before.  Only once, but it was unmistakable.  It had belonged to the man who had blocked their retreat that night on the bridge.  Looking up she saw a figure wrapped in a black cloak on the top of the nearby cliff.  He was looking down at her.

A wet nose nudged her foot, breaking the moment.  The little sea lion loudly continued his warning.

Looking around she saw a good size wave was coming and she readied herself for it.

“Stay flat and just ride it in,” called the instructor from nearby.  “Just do as I do, I’ll be right next to you.”

Cassie nodded.

The swell came. She felt the board lift up and pressed down and forward to ride it in.  Suddenly, the board was hit from behind.  She heard the panicked cry of the sea lion and then a splash.

A moment later she found herself dumped into the surf.  She scrambled to find her board, knowing it would be nearby thanks to the tether.   With a lunge she pushed upwards and her head broke the surface of the water.

Gasping, she searched for her board only to find it drifting farther and farther away.  Reaching under the water she found her cord had somehow broken, leaving her adrift with another wave approaching.

“Swim to me!” shouted her instructor from nearby.  She had gotten off the last wave and was paddling towards her.

Cassandra did as she was told and within moments was safely on the woman’s board.  Together they rode the coming wave to shore.

They had barely climbed out of the surf, when Julie rushed over to them.  “Are you okay Baby?” she cried, grabbing the heiress into her arms.  “What happened out there?”

“I’m not sure,” Cassie replied.  “Did anyone see what happened to the sea lion pup?”

Her two rescuers shook their heads and stared back at the empty water.


I managed to get through my mid-term for Women Studies this week.  It wasn’t easy.  2 parter, first was multiple choice, then an 80 minute handwritten essay.  I’ve still got writer’s cramp from that part.  Plus I had 2 other exams this week and survived them.  This should all sound good right?  Wrong.  I’ve got another mid-term in 2 weeks I have to start studying for (whimper).
Needless to say, but I will anyway, the writing has been slowed down considerably.  But, this down time gave me the opportunity to go over what I’ve done with the 3rd novel “The Door”.  I got to see what was working and what wasn’t.  Had a lot of new characters and concepts introduced, too much really.  Plus I still had to fully settle on a main plot for book #2 and give it a title.  So I’m lifting certain ideas and scenes from “The Door” and placing them in book #2 which is tentatively titled “The Ship”.

Book #2 will take place in a one month span between the ending of “The Bridge” and “The Door”.  It will also focus on two of the female leads who played a crucial and supporting role in “The Bridge”.  The action will be taking place on the opposite coast in Santa Cruz California (my current home… hey they say write what you know about) and will explore Cassandra long and dark family history.  Her ghostly ancestors who watch over her are being stirred up by events taking place near her new beach house along the water.  A terrifying ghost ship of family legend will arise and cross her path leading to death and revelations about the infamous Elliott history.  This will also lay the ground work for the focus of book #3 “The Door” where the darkest secret of Cassandra’s family will be brought to light with terrifying consequences.

 

I hope to post more here soon.  Possibly I’ll do one or two more sections of “The Bridge” to arouse people’s interest and keep you all amused.  Until then, have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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