Worthwhile experience and a great day!-Karen Vaughan

Here I am again and it seems like life got in the way of blogging. This week was one where the weather felt like I lived in HELL itself. If I couldn’t handle the heat there was not way this writer was going to string two words together and be creative. 

Yesterday was my book launch for DAYTONA DEAD.  I learned it’s not about the sales at these events. It’s about connecting and just showing up to sell your self. I answered questions and handed out post cards and put the interest in peoples heads. People loved that I was local.

My friends showed up and supported me. One friend brought all 4 books she has of mine and had her picture taken. I ended up selling 3 copies of DAYTONA DEAD and 1 copy of DEAD COMIC STANDING.  That was a success in my mind. 

I feel encouraged and rejuvenated and cool enough to write now.

Tilted in Transit

books by dellani oakes 2 redWhen I was in high school & college, I wrote poetry. I’m not saying it was GOOD poetry, but I enjoyed it. I found a book of my old poems when I was going through things in my office – looking for something else. I decided to read through it and see what there was.

I called the book “Tilted in Transit”, from something I said to my mother after grocery shopping.  “The butter is all to one side. It must have been tilted in transit.”

The following poem caught my eye. As I said, it’s not the best stuff in the world, but I liked the though process behind this one.

Did You Ever Notice…?

Did you ever notice that
Nemo is Omen spelled backwards?
And Serutan is Natures spelled backwards.
And But is Tub spelled forwards.

ERA is really E.R.A. Not to be confused
with the I.R.A. or the I.R.S. Or I.B.M.
Or 3M company or metric or mathematic
Or anything else like that.

In fact, this whole business didn’t have
to be brought up in the first place

Have you noticed that Nemo is Omen spelled backwards?

To buy books by Dellani Oakes

Shakazhan – Book Two in the Lone Wolf series

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]I have a new book out and I’m very excited! Join me, once more, as I venture into deep space with the crew of Flotilla. More aliens, more intrigue, more action than ever before! Look for Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book Two by Dellani Oakes on sale NOW from Second Wind Publishing.

The surface of Iyundo—0542 GMT

In the early morning, just after dawn, Wil and Matilda followed Felix out of the culvert and down to the marshy stream bed, where the going was fairly smooth. Although dangerous creatures lurked in the water, the thick, spongy turf was virtually devoid of plant or animal life.

The atmosphere was full of ash and smoke. Wil examined it with his cybereye. He could tell, even from nearly a mile away, the transporter explosion had taken a large amount of the city with it.

“It’s amazing that didn’t do more damage.”

Felix chittered anxiously. Matilda held out her hand, asking him to slow his thoughts. The pictures flashed before her too quickly to decode them.

She stiffened. “Trouble.”

“What kind?” Wil immediately scanned the horizon with his cybereye.

Matilda held up her hand again. Turning slowly, she looked down at their feet, eyes widening. “Move very slowly,” she said quietly.

Wil started to protest, but her concern transmitted itself to him. Felix leaped on Matilda’s shoulders, clinging to her hair. She handed him to Wil. The small Kindred male looped his arms through the straps on Wil’s backpack, perching on top of it.

“You thought the giant cat was bad?” Matilda whispered. “These are worse.”

Tiny, finger like stalks rose from the rocks around them, waving slightly as if a breeze passed by. The air was still, hot. One of the stalks leaned toward Wil. Matilda slapped it away. It retracted, then a blood red proboscis emerged, aiming at her. She swatted it again, breaking it this time.

“Run!” Matilda took off at full speed.

Wil hesitated. Felix tugged on his ears, turning him to follow her. Without further hesitation, he followed. He caught up with her easily, batting away annoying, stinging darts that suddenly filled the air. He tried to ask questions, but Felix urged him to move faster.

Matilda couldn’t keep up with the pace he set, so he picked her up, carrying her and Felix through the rocks to a grassy plain about a quarter mile away.

“Keep going,” Matilda gasped. “In range. . . .”

Her head lolled. Wil continued to the other side of the plain. The ship was in sight. He set Matilda on her feet. Several of the darts had found their mark, injecting her with a sedative. She was a bit groggy, but kept her balance. A quick perimeter check showed that the area was clear. Picking her up again, Wil carried her into the ship.
Felix stood at the base of the ramp, shaking hard. Bright red darts fell out of his fur. A few more shakes and he joined Wil and Matilda inside. Kneeling by Matilda, who lay on the floor of the hold, he plucked the darts from her skin, motioning Wil to do the same for himself. Once he got them all from her skin, Felix started on her thick hair.
Wil shook himself, feeling slightly drowsy. If the toxin in the darts affected him, he could only imagine what what happening to his wife. He helped Felix with Matilda, knowing his own body already formulated an antitoxin.

“What are those things?” He asked Felix.

A picture flashed in his mind of one of the creatures. One word accompanied it, whispered, vague—Lurker. Even as innocuous as the word sounded, it made Wil shiver.

“Did we get them all?”

Felix closed his eyes, holding his hands over Matilda. Moments later, he nodded. He tugged on the zipper to her stasuit. Wil lifted her, carrying her to the medical section of the ship. He laid her on the table and removed her suit.

Felix motioned and chittered, telling him to sit down. He did so without arguing. The Kindred male plucked darts from Wil’s scalp, neck and shoulders, dropping them on the floor.
“Thank you,” he said when Felix had finished. “Can we do anything for her?” He nodded to Matilda.

Felix shook his head. He sat on the floor, folding his arms.

“We wait?”

Felix nodded, smiling. A feeling of warmth and confidence filled Wil and he knew his wife was going to be alright.

To purchase Shakazhan

Bad Language in Writing – Dellani Oakes

my photo and the books in banner books by dellani oakes 2 redSo, you wanna write a book and the characters aren’t all from pristine backgrounds where cursing is forbidden. Some of them are gritty, earthy, down right nasty in their way of speaking. What do you do?

I have some characters who come from less than stellar backgrounds. Many are members of the military. Some are just average people who use the norm for their vocabulary. Listen to the conversations around you – not all of them are “G” rated. It’s not unusual for the occasional obscenity to enter their dialogue. If you’re going to “keep it real”, your manuscript will need to reflect this language.

I don’t mean that every other word must be the F Bomb, or some other overly colorful word. An author should be able to get the point across without that much realism. However, if a character – say, an ex-soldier in his 20s has something untoward happen, he’s gonna say the F Word. Pretty much unavoidable – AND IN CHARACTER!

Don’t curse just to curse. Keep the profanity for the dialogue and not your narrative. There’s no need to pepper text with obscenities. However, don’t be shy about using them where they would naturally occur. The aforementioned soldier isn’t going to hit his thumb with a hammer and say, “Oh, Fudge!”

Not comfortable cursing? Replace it with an appropriate substitute. Example: Teague (the aforementioned soldier) hit his thumb with the hammer. Cursing loudly, he stuck his thumb in his mouth.

A word of advice – Unless the story is set in another place and time where they would say “Frack” “Feck” or “Frell” (or the characters are all sci-fi fans, who know the derivation of them all) they are probably going to say THE WORD.

Worried about my use of bad language in an early manuscript, I used substitutions and had a friend read through it. His response was, “I would rather read the real word.” After a couple other people said the same thing, I relented, but I shyly put The Words in. (I’m not that shy anymore) I think a small part of me thought my mother wouldn’t like it if I cursed. So, don’t tell my mother.

When is cursing in a novel appropriate? That, I suppose, depends entirely on the author and their characters. Be true to your story, use the language where it’s necessary or find a good substitute.

To Purchase Dellani’s books:

Under the Western Sky and The Ninja Tattoo

Indian Summer, Lone Wolf and Shakazhan