Tag Archive: ship

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took part in my “Hobbit Birthday Party Weekend”.  Whether you picked up a copy of the book or helped promote it, thank you so much.  We all know getting the word out about a brand new book is more than half the battle for Indie Authors.  So this was a real shot in the arm.  I’m pleased to say that 39 people took advantage and snapped up a free copy through Smashwords over the last 3 days.  I felt somewhat vindicated for not going the KDP route, where I would have had to given them the exclusive e-book distribution and sales for up to 90 days.  I know Amazon is bigger and has a wider reach, but I never felt right about cutting off Nook, Apple and other e-reader customers.  So thanks for letting me know I did the right thing.


Now, I’ve never done a free e-book promotion before, so any of your more experienced authors please let me know if 39 was a good number or not.  I’m still learning as I go along this path.  As a result of the promotion I already got one 5 Star review that is now up on Smashwords.  I’m hoping for many more reviews, since it helps promote more sales or so I’ve read.


Today I’ll be working on my e-press release kit and then a physical one as well.  I also have to do research to find out who/where to send press releases to.  This is seeming to be the next big hurdle for me so if anyone has advice please leave it here, it would be greatly appreciated.


Finally, book number 2 “THE SHIP” is coming along nicely.  The first draft is about 1/3-1/2 done at this point.  I’ll be doing more drafts of course to clean things up and make sure the pacing is going well.  But even more importantly, to make sure I’m keeping the readers’ interest.  The new book has a similar fun feel to the first, but it’s also feeling quite different to me.  Mostly because I’m dealing with different leading characters, who were prominent in the first book.  But now the focus is on these two women developing their new romantic relationship as well as dealing with new and old enemies.  I’m trying to keep a balance between the nervous romance of two people getting to know each other more deeply, while also developing the secrets they haven’t shared.  It’s an interesting experience for me as a writer.  I know that in the end their relationship will have gone much further, but to make it happen gradually while not losing the fun ‘banter’ that a lot of people enjoyed in the first novel is quite a balancing act.  But, this is still the first draft.  Creating just the right balance is what 2nd and 3rd drafts (along with edits) are for.


Take care and have a great week everyone.



My latest Vlog entry.  This time the subject is “CREATING TENSION IN YOUR STORY”  and covers a very important scene in my current novel “THE SHIP”  I hope you enjoy.


Hi everyone.  I just read on my FB page that today is  “SAMPLE SUNDAY”.  At least according to one of the writing groups I’m in “LitPow Writer’s Network”.  So I thought, ‘Hey it’s been a while.  Let’s give my readers another snippet from my work in progress…”  So here’s another glimpse of “THE SHIP”.  I’m almost done with the 1st draft and will be hard at work to finish it up within the next week or two.

Now this scene is one of the more quiet moments for my two lead heroines Cassandra Elliott (billionaire heiress) and her lover Julie De Luca-Cloudfoot (internet catfight star and Physical Therapist).  Yeah, I know strange combination.  But I love using atypical occupations and roles for some of my characters.  Especially if it’s something you don’t see being used over and over in other novels.  Now this scene takes place after Cassandra was attacked, supposedly by a shark, while learning to surf.   She escaped unharmed except for a strange mark on her lower leg.

At this point she’s in pretty bad shape physically, but not from the incident on the water.  Cassandra suffers from Epstein-Barr, a condition that leaves a person with severe body aches and weakness which can leave a person bed-ridden for days or weeks.  In this case, her condition has flared up as a result of the stress from her encounter.   Please enjoy…


All was quiet inside the beach house, which suited Julie just fine.  After nearly screwing things up with Cassie earlier, she was quite content to have the girl curled up against her on the sofa.  “This is really nice,” she breathed happily.

“I’m glad,” she heard the heiress reply, and then felt her breast being nuzzled affectionately.

It felt good, but there was still the matter of how bad the Cassie was feeling physically. After all, she’d been through a lot today.  “Stop it, you’re hurting remember?” she told her.

“I can lie there while you do most of the work,” Cassie replied looking up at her hopefully.

For a moment Julie had to think it over, it sounded tempting.  But then she shook her head, “If you start going ‘Ow, ow, ow…’ you ghostly guardian Brandon might show up to see what’s wrong, and then I’d die of embarrassment.”

“Why?  People watch you fucking other girls all the time in your videos,” Cassie pointed out.

“True, but they’re watching in the comfort of their own homes, not in the room with me.”

“Um… good point,” her lover sighed, looking around, “Though I don’t see him, or feel him at the moment.”

“Maybe he’s having some fun of his own with a lady ghost,” Julie laughed.

“If he is, it better be with Roxanne or he’s going to be after-life toast,” Cassie replied with a chuckle.

“Who’s Roxanne?”

“His wife, you’d like her.  She’s very pretty.  Long dark hair, big brown eyes, oval face, plus she’s got a nice chest.”

Raising an eyebrow Julie tried to sound nonchalant about her next question.  “I take it she tends to show up every once in while with him?”  Even before the reply came, she felt Cassie stiffen against her.

“Sometimes, but not as often,” the heiress nodded casually.

Julie pursed her lips, obviously there was more.  “Do any other relatives from the past appear to you besides them?” she persisted sweetly, while staring pointedly at her girlfriend.

But Cassie had been ready for this.  She was looking up at her with big soulful eyes and said in a childlike voice, “A few.”

“How many?”

“Dunno.  Lost count,” Cassie shrugged and cuddled up closer.

“How ‘bout some names?” Julie persisted.  What kind of relationship had she gotten herself into?

With obvious reluctance, Cassandra sat up and began ticking off names.  “There’s William, Brandon’s uncle.  His wife Margaret and their sons Jacob, Gerald and James…”

The name Gerald caught Julie’s attention making her interrupt, “The kid who spied on William and Jerome outside the door in the hillside?”

“The same,” Cassie nodded, “He wound up transferring his dislike for Jerome onto Brandon and for years the two of them did not get along at all.  Especially after Gerald got engaged to Rachel who had been Brandon’s girlfriend…”

“Who’s Rachael,” Julie interrupted, “I thought you said Brandon married someone named Roxanne.”

“Who happened to be Rachel’s younger sister,” Cassie explained patiently.

“What, he couldn’t have the one so he settled for the other?”

“NO!” Cassandra snapped angrily.  “Look, things got so bad between Brandon and Gerald that they wound up fighting a duel over Rachel.  Brandon got badly hurt in the fight and Roxanne spent months nursing him back to health.  Now she was already in love with Brandon and made no secret about it.  But he was afraid of taking advantage of her at the time and insisted on taking things slow.  They wound up courting for 2-3 years before getting married.”

“Oh!” Julie nodded, feeling a little ashamed and embarrassed.  She didn’t know why, but a part of her always wanted to suspect Brandon of being something different than what Cassandra thought of him.  Maybe she was jealous of him for being so close and protective of her.

Feeling like maybe he’s encroaching on your territory? her chatty brain chimed in.

‘Fuck off!’ she thought, but only half-heartedly.

Meanwhile Cassandra was going on about other ghostly ancestors that had appeared to her at one time or another.  “…then there’s Brandon’s Mom, plus I’ve seen a few of their children and at least one of his great-grandchildren, Peter.  He was the last to see Brandon alive just before the big fire at the factory in 1890…”

“Wait Brandon died when he was an old man?” Julie interrupted again.  Didn’t spirits usually show up looking like they did at the time they died?  “How come he always shows up looking so young?”

Cassie shrugged, “Search me.”

“Maybe later, I’ll make it a strip search,” Julie replied absently, her mind elsewhere.  This was strange.  Hell, the whole business of ghostly ancestors hanging around was bizarre period. “Am I going to have to get used to all these people showing up on a regular basis?” she asked finally.

Much to her relief, Cassie shook her head.  “No, mostly they appear at the Old Manor House back on Long Island.  Brandon is the only one who appears elsewhere,” the heiress explained.

“Uh-huh,” Julie nodded, “and didn’t you want me to come and stay at the Old Manor for a while after we get back to the east coast?”

“Please?” Cassie begged, “I really want to show you the place.”

Something about the way she said it broke Julie’s resolve, “Sure, why not.  I can’t wait to meet the rest of the ghostly Brady Bunch.”

Cassie gave her an innocent look and said, “Hey, can I help it if when I came out of the closet some of the family skeletons followed?”

Hello Everyone.  Sorry for the long delays between posts.  I’m still sharing my laptop with my wife, plus my new job has been keeping me very busy.  I was supposed to have 2 days off in a row this week, then I was told that I had to come in on one of those 2 days to get more training.  Wasn’t happy about it, but I understand the reason.  The trainer is going to be leaving shortly and our time together is drawing to a close very quickly.  HOPEFULLY… things will become a little more steady and regular in a couple of weeks and I can schedule myself to work on my blogging.  So please be patient.

In the meantime, I have been able to get some work in on novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Currently it is sitting at about 65,000 words still, but that’s because I had to go back and look over some earlier portions of the book and do some serious cutting and re-editing.  I’m trying to aim for about 120-140,000 words for the first draft.  The final draft will come in under 100,000 words.  So why the high count you say for the first draft?  Simple, the way I write I want to get the main story down and all the characters on board, as well as all the most interesting actions sequences.  Then when I go to work on the 2nd draft, it’s to start cutting down the word count to something more manageable and acceptable to any potential agents/publishers.  For new authors you have to keep it below 100,000 or even 80-90,000 words to even get considered.  You don’t have a track record of proven sales behind you to get them to cut you some slack on the length.  Look at the length of the first Harry Potter book compared to the later ones and you’ll see what I’m talking about.


Also, I love editing my work to see how many times I repeated the same idea since it takes me weeks and months to complete a story.  I have a nasty habit of coming up with the same idea or concept in several different places of the book.  So then I have to decide where does it work the best or at all.  So keeping the draft down to 120-140,000 words is much more manageable to edit for me.  My first novel “THE BRIDGE” was a real monster when I completed the 1st draft.  That one weighed in at 198,000 words.  Then I went and did my research and found out about the length it should be.  If I recall correctly I found a quiet corner in the closet and sobbed hysterically for 2 hours.  Cutting 100,000 words was not easy but I did it.  AND it was worth it.  The final draft that I sent to the agent was much leaner and better paced than the 1st one.  Plus it’s gotten their attention and I’m just waiting for further word on it and what happens next.


Oh, I also just recently found out on another front that we’ll be moving soon.  Probably towards the end of July so packing has also been keeping me occupied as well.  I hope to post  here again in a week or so and I’ll give you all another sample of novel #2 “THE SHIP”.  Until then, take care everyone and thanks for reading.

I know this is the first post I’ve done in two weeks, but things have been busy at college and at home.  I haven’t had as much time to write, but rest assured that progress on the novel has been taking place.  I’ve managed to bring “THE SHIP” up to 57,000 words in length so far.  I’m aiming for about 90,000.  So it’s more than halfway done.  I just have to try and get more writing done when I can.  However, college will be wrapping up in about another 5-6 weeks and projects are due, so we’ll see how much progress I actually get done.

In the meantime, here is another snippet from “THE SHIP” where Cassandra Elliott, heiress and psychic, demonstrates one of her more unusual talents “POST-COGNITION”.  Instead of seeing into the future, Cassandra will usually see things/events from the past either in dreams or visions.  Whenever this happens it means a piece of information or knowledge is being conveyed to her about something she has already or will soon encounter.  In this case, she has already met the threat while trying to learn how to surf.  While out on the water a frightened sea lion pup climbed aboard and tried to urge her to leave the area.  Unfortunately, the two of them get knocked off the board by an unseen force and she hears the pup scream in pain and perish.    At this point of the story, she still does not know what attacked or how dangerous the thing is.  But she’s about to gain a little more insight to the situation.  I hope you enjoy this scene…

            In the bedroom Cassandra seemed to be sleeping quite peacefully, however her dreams were anything but. 

            She found herself standing on a vessel from another time.  Tall masts and rigging swung loomed overhead.  The word ‘frigate’ came to mind.  Yes, that was what this ship was.  She’d seen drawings and images dozens of different types of early vessels in history books.  There was even a refurbished frigate on display at her family’s shipping facility back in England.  But unlike the pristine colors and highly polished brass fixtures, the ship she was on was not for tourists to admire.  This one was a working vessel and it was being buffeted around by a turbulent sea and intense winds.  The sound of a storm roared loudly in her ears.  All around her men scrambled fore and aft to keep the vessel under control.

            Water came pouring over the sides sweeping some men off their feet.  But quick reflexes and years of experience prevented them from being sent over the side and to their doom.  She marveled at the way they reacted and moved.  Even more importantly, their clothing caught her eye.  Every man was wearing the gear of a sailor from the late 1700’s.  And from the condition of the outfits this was no movie or film set.  Their wardrobe would not have been deemed colorful or sensational enough for something like that.  No, this was the real thing and somehow she was in the middle of it.

            Again the ship seemed to pitch to the side and then straightened up, but she wasn’t afraid.  There was no danger for her in this place.  She was merely a spectator to the events unfolding before her.  This was not the first time she’d had such dreams, they had been a part of her life for as long as she could remember.  On all those previous occasions she was there to learn or see something of importance.  And they were not always pleasant things. 

            During the 25 years since her birth she’d witnessed weddings, births, duels, deaths, and even the circumstances surrounding Jerome’s passing.  The story she had told Julie had been based on that vision as well as notes she’d found inside old journals and letters some weeks after the dream.

There was no doubt in her mind that this was another one of those vision/dreams into the past.  In all the previous ones Brandon, Roxanne or another deceased member of the family was at her side bearing witness to the events unfolding before her.  And this one was following that same pattern.

No one seemed to notice her or Brandon who was keeping one arm protectively around her shoulders.   It was reassuring to have him at her side.  She could barely remember a time when he wasn’t somewhere near.  There were times when she even had dreams of looking up and seeing the sides of a crib and mobile overhead.  And there he was smiling down at her with his wife or Jacob next to him.

A loud shout from a raised area drew her attention and she looked up.  There manning the great wheel was a towering figure.  The captain of the ship no doubt, he was tall and solid.  Not fat, just powerfully built.  A large beard and moustache combined with long wet hair to give him an almost bestial look.  From amidst the long dark tresses whipping across his face from the storm she saw a pair of bright blue eyes with an almost fanatical gleam in them.  All this, coupled with his great height and massive chest and shoulders made her think of a bear that had somehow taken on some aspects of human countenance.

Yet it was that powerful physique and determination that made him so effective at controlling the ship under these circumstances.  Another wave crashed over the railing and nearly took the man closest to him.  But with a speed that belied his size, the captain’s hand shot out and caught his crewman by the belt and saved him from being washed over the edge.  At the same time, the human mountain kept his other hand on the wheel and pressed his great chest against it to help keep it on course.

One of the other men shouted his name and she did a double-take.  Mordecai… Captain Jason Mordecai!  She couldn’t believe her eyes.  Oh there had been paintings done of the man, many of them by Brandon who later became his business partner.  But those had been all done under much calmer conditions such as in the man’s cabin or at home.  Getting to see the legend in action was practically a treat for her.  But she knew better.  This glimpse into the past was being shown to her for a reason.  But what was it?

A scream from up in the rigging caught her attention.  Looking up she saw another member of the crew, a young man barely out of his teens from the look of him.  A look of absolute terror was etched into his face making him look much older.  “CAPTAIN!” he screamed at the top of his lungs, desperately hoping to be heard over the storm.  “WE’VE BEEN SPOTTED!”

Mordecai didn’t look up.  His entire focus was on controlling his vessel, but something in the young man’s tone had registered in his mind.  “WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT BOY?  ARE THEY ENGLISH, FRENCH OR PIRATES?” his loud voice boomed back.

The reply was partly lost to her as thunder roared overhead and all she could catch was “IT’S…THE… SHIP…. THE DEATH…” the rest of his words became lost on a sudden blast of wind.  But his fellow crewmembers must’ve heard him because every man on deck stopped whatever they were doing and froze.  Several crossed themselves while others began to wail like frightened children. 

     It all started with a surfing class.  Cassandra simply wanted to give her girlfriend/lover Julie a treat while they visited Santa Cruz.  She herself has taken the class three times already and has never managed to stand up once.  Managing to sit on a board without tipping over is an accomplishment for her.

But this time the class will end differently.  She will get her first encounter with a strange nightmarish vessel straight out of history.  A thing her early seagoing ancestors had fought and believed destroyed.

And to make matters worse, THE SHIP has sensed her and the psychic powers she possesses.  THE SHIP is alive  and now wants to make her a part of it.  After all…. EVERY SHIP NEEDS A NAVIGATOR!

*This is an experimental blurb I’m considering using for the back/inside book cover for my novel THE SHIP*  I’d love some feedback on it so please leave comments below*

The novel is more than halfway done (as far as 1st drafts go) and I hope to capture the audience’s imagination and interest.

This is a shot of the tide pools here in Santa Cruz. Make sure you click on the photo to get the FULL view of the image. These cliffs are quite high and are almost vertical. And that Reversed-C shaped area of raised rock are where you would find the Tide Pools. Those small puddles you see are the pools, and can house a small world of tiny sea creatures.  Anemones, crabs, small fish, sea urchins, it is truly fascinating to walk on those rocky stretches and look inside those small pools.

It is while doing just that my heroine Cassandra Elliott hears the panicked cry of a sea lion pup in trouble. Rushing across the raised rock area, she comes to this reverse-C shaped area of beach.  Keep in mind those raised areas with the tide pools are 7-8 feet tall, so while a human could climb up to safety, a marine mammal would find it near impossible.

Here’s a sample of the scene:

             Cassandra had just reached the edge of the rocky outcrop and immediately spotted the trouble and gasped.

            Cornered up against the rock of the cliff a sea lion pup cried out to its mother who was under attack.  Strange iridescent tentacles, like that of a jellyfish had enveloped her lower half.  Frantically the poor animal struggled to free herself but already her strength was fading.   

            As she watched in horror a familiar network of pulsing veins started popping up all over the mother’s entangled frame.  Before her very eyes the blubber-rich body began to shrink visibly.  

            The sea lion let out a cry that no human had ever heard such an animal make before. 

            The sound had been so terrifying that Cassandra found her body turning to run away from the scene before even she realized it.  If it hadn’t been for pup’s sudden scream she probably would’ve bolted.  But the anguish in the tiny animal’s voice sounded almost childlike in a way.  She quickly realized the little creature knew its mother was dying and was calling out to her.

            Unable to look away, Cassandra watched in growing horror as certain areas of the mother’s body were collapsing in on itself as if the blubber and insides had been siphoned out of her.   

            Dear God, it was just like what she’d seen in the dream.

Movement off to the side caught her attention and she looked to see what it was.  More of the strange tendrils had slithered out of the ocean and were snaking their way towards the pup whose back was literally against the wall.

             Grabbing the handle of her walking stick Cassandra gave it a savage twist as she pulled out a silver-white blade.  Then without thinking, she jumped down onto the sand and rushed towards the cornered mammal, slashing savagely at the offending appendages as she went.

Hope you enjoy this entry.  Have a great week.  I’m still sharing my laptop with my wife so I’ll try to post at least once a week.  Take care and leave comments below please.  I love feedback, it helps let me know what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong here on the blog.

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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