Organizationally Impaired by Dellani

ABC ChallengeIf you’re like me, you need an intervention. No, not with drugs, alcohol or gambling. Organization! My desk and files are an organizational nightmare! I’m not the most disorganized person I know, but I’m close. Being an author with O.D.D., (Organization Disability Disorder), I’ve come up with a couple very simple tricks. (See Chaos in a Teacup #1 for more information on this)

Since I work on more than one story at a time, I’m juggling characters and story lines. To keep myself straight, especially with minor characters, I keep a three ring binder with sections and tabs for each story. Using the file name from the computer file, I write it on the tab. On one page, I keep a list of characters, all of them, no matter how small a role they play. On another, I keep a list of chapters and their page numbers. It’s very easy to continue writing until a story is complete, but it’s good to give the story some natural stopping or slowing places.

Every author has to do research at some point. Although I bookmark pages on my browser, it’s a horrible mess. (I know, big surprise) Despite my best efforts to do better, it’s still a mile long and a disaster. To combat that, I print out the pages of research that I need, complete with the web address, in case I have to go back. These, I punch and put in another three ring binder. I keep it within reach so that I can find what I need.

I have in mind to tag the pages per story or at least per subject, but I haven’t gotten that far. That’s my goal – though it may be next year before I get it done. These are very easy things for any writer to accomplish. Even for the clinically O.D.D., there is hope!

Just as an aside, I wrote this article 3 years ago and I still haven’t gotten my research in order.

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani

ABC ChallengeThe Ninja Tattoo was my NaNoWriMo novel in 2009 and I went on to publish it with Tirgearr Publishing in 2013. Teague meets Vivica by chance—he runs into her with a door as he backs out of the Dunkin’ Donuts. Despite the inauspicious beginning, they fall hard and fast for one another. However, problems arise and Teague decides it’s prudent to head out of town with Vivica, in order to keep her safe.

Vivica and Teague drove silently out of town. He was planning, she could tell his mind was working out how to hide them both and protect her. With decision, he made the turn west on Canal Street, heading to I-95.

“Where are we going?” Vivica asked after he turned north on the interstate.

“About an hour away, a small place called Volusia.”

“We’re in Volusia.”

“We’re in Volusia County. I’m talking about the spot on the road outside Astor. Ain’t much of a place, but it’s mighty handy if you want to go camping.”

“Camping?” Vivica said with alarm. “Seriously?”

“Ocala National Forest is up there,” he said with finality. “And I can get us good and lost in the woods.”

“I don’t want to get lost in the woods,” Vivica said.

“I don’t mean lost, lost,” he explained. “I mean like not found.”

“Can we at least have a cabin?” Vivica didn’t look pleased about roughing it.

“It ain’t campin’ if you’ve got a cabin,” Teague said, letting his Southern accent flavor the words. “But maybe we can borrow the camper and hook it up. Depends on how lost we wanna get. Good and lost means a tent in the middle of BFE.”

“Maybe now is a good time to tell you I’ve never been lost in the woods before and my idea of camping is spending the night on someone’s couch.”

“There’s an advantage to camping in the deep woods.” He raised an eyebrow, grinning at her.

“Oh? Snakes in my sleeping bag and scorpions in my shoes?”

“You’re looking at the downside.”

“There’s an upside?”

“Sure! You can scream all you want during sex—ain’t nobody gonna complain.”

She punched his shoulder, laughing. “Okay, so there’s a little upside.”

“I’m thinkin’ that’s a damn good one. Mm, sex in a tent. Haven’t done that in quite awhile.”

“I don’t even want to know,” Vivica said with a shiver of delight.

“Don’t want to know what?”

“How many girls you talked into doing that.”

“Country girls can be mighty obliging.”

He looked smug. She punched him again.

Vivica eventually curled up, putting her head on Teague’s shoulder and fell asleep. He held her close, the scent of her perfume tickling his nostrils. Thoughts of her body wrapped around his made him a little crazy and he couldn’t wait to get her to the cabin so they could make love again. He couldn’t resist kissing her forehead, wanting to do much more, but not wanting to wake her.

He took State Road 40, pulling off onto a narrow, poorly paved road that quickly changed to dirt. They bounced around quite a bit on the rutted track. Vivica roused when her pillow moved, yawning and stretching.

“We there yet?”

“Almost, sweet darlin’. About 10 more minutes. You okay?”

“I need to pee.”

“No place to go unless you fancy a bush. Don’t worry, Uncle Tack has indoor plumbing.”

“Thank God!”

They pulled up a short time later, in front of a huge, custom designed cabin. The sprawling edifice had a warm and welcoming aspect making Vivica feel at home and safe. Teague got out first, walking toward the house with his hands out, away from his body.

“Be right back. Don’t get out until I tell you.”

“Why? What are you doing?”

“If you lived out in the middle of fucking nowhere, would you be expecting guests at this hour?”

“No, I suppose not.”

The door opened disgorging six hunting dogs. Behind them, the tip of an over & under shotgun emerged. At first, Vivica thought the shotgun was held at waist level, until a man walked out. The gun was jammed to his shoulder, he held it leveled at Teague.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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The Ninja Tattoo by Dellani Oakes - 200

The Maker by Dellani

ABC ChallengeThe Maker is book 3 of my Lone Wolf series. Surau is a character we meet in Shakazhan—Lone Wolf Book 2. He’s been horribly disfigured by a mad scientist bent on revenge.

His face still looked semi-human, although huge curved tusks of a wild boar were grafted on his face, contorting his mouth into a perpetual snarl. His long, dark, thick, wavy hair flowed down his back, turning into a mane at his shoulders, which continued well down the middle of his back.

His own arms remained, having the hands replaced with pincers like a crab. Three other sets of appendages had been grafted onto his elongated torso. He had the hairy legs of a giant spider directly under his own arms. These were tipped in vicious talons. Below them, he had a set of spindly, brittle legs like an ant. The final set of appendages could be called neither arms nor legs, but were more like tentacles from a squid. The final touch was a giant scorpion tale. (Description from Shakazhan)

The following excerpt is from The Maker

The Maker front

Surau was hungry and tired of eating his kills raw. The Blue Devils were easy to catch and kill, but tasted far better fried or roasted. His patience neared its end.

Since leaving his prison, he had roamed around the underbelly of Shakazhan, hiding from possible pursuit. It became apparent, fairly early on, that he wasn’t being chased. He was offended because it meant they didn’t consider him important enough to search for.

The truth of it was, they had forgotten about him in the avalanche of events following his escape. The disappearance of Matilda, and Wil’s obsession with finding her, had shoved all thought of Surau from everyone’s minds.

Grumbling, he dressed and prepared his daily meal. He allowed himself one meal a day. It saved time and energy on his part. Although he had both in abundance, he felt more like a fugitive this way, and that pleased him.

His meal complete, Surau cleaned himself as well as he could in his crude surroundings. He had found a place to camp which had water and power. These spots on Shakazhan were rare indeed and he intended to stay here until something better presented itself. Since he had been here several months, the likelihood of his moving on was quite negligible.

The only drawback to his camp was the lack of anything to cook in. He had no fuel for a fire either, so he was reduced to raw meat. It was another reason he had taken to eating only once a day. Facing raw blue meat for three meals held little appeal. He found himself thinking about moving on and had taken to scouting raids, looking for somewhere to go which was better. So far, he had found nothing.

His plan for the day was to examine a set of passages a few kilometers to the east of his position. Having traveled under ground for several decades, he knew to blaze a trail as he went, so that he could find his way back later on. Surau was many things, but he wasn’t a fool.

Picking up the bones from his meal, he detoured long enough to drop them at the head of a passage leading to the Blue Devil territory. What they might do with the bones he didn’t know or care, but they were always gone when he came back. They had given up attacking him several weeks ago when it became apparent that the more raids they sent, the more of them died. Not wishing to make hunting easier for Surau, they had come to the conclusion that hiding was prudent.

After some deliberation on their parts, the Blue Devils decided for the betterment of the clan, they’d allow Surau to catch one of them a day. This individual died bravely, for the benefit of all. Generally, an older person, one who found the burden of life great, would volunteer.

Eventually, they hoped, the monster would tire of his campsite and move on. He had been there many months and still he stayed. The time had come for more overt action and so they Blue Devils, or Chimarria, as they called themselves, prayed to the Goddess of Light for help and guidance. If the Silver Lady couldn’t help them, they feared they’d soon be extinct.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Lone Wolf by Dellani

ABC ChallengeThe following scene is from Lone Wolf, book 1 of my sci-fi series. Wil VanLipsig has recently reunited with his friend, Marc Slatterly, after a long absence. He’s just started dating Matilda Dulac and finds out that some very old friends, the giant cat warriors, The Fellicians, are on planet. He takes Matilda to meet them. These characters are some of my favorites, especially Caprilla and Cavitus. I think after this brief scene, you will understand why. (Some of this scene was edited out in the book)

Wil’s understanding of the Fellician language was limited. He simply didn’t have the capacity to accurately mimic their speech. Their language was very musical in nature and Wil was virtually tone deaf. The same words could have different meanings. Depending on how they were pitched and the clicks and trills accompanying them, dictated the context. It was a very subtle form of communication.

Unfortunately, if one could not properly imitate the sounds and pitch, instead of saying, “I need to use the restroom,” one would say, “I have a black asp for a penis.”

After having said that to the wrong Fellician female, Wil had given up trying to learn the language. It had taken him nearly a month to recover. A normal man would have been crippled for life. He hoped Caprilla had forgotten the incident, but he doubted it.

About five minutes later, Marc and the three Fellician males came down in the elevator. They were singing some rather ribald lyrics to an old Earth tune, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” It was something about fornicating in the mine shaft. Wil had never bothered to learn the words, since he couldn’t carry a tune.

Marc had a clear and booming baritone. Caprilla had a brasslike bass, and the other two cat men had smooth tenors. The effect was rather magical until one heard the lyrics clearly, so Matilda tried not to. She hoped the females didn’t understand. One last chorus and the others declared themselves ready to eat.

Matilda was introduced to Caprilla and his two companions. Errollic Vennistra was of the fighter Liluye. Cavitus Passhaa was Escascia’s right wing man in the Nirvelli. They were as varied as humans in looks, but the most outstanding feature was their fur. Each was a different color and the markings were subtle and unique.

Caprilla was blue-black like midnight, his markings drops of rain on water, concentric circles mottling his fur. Errollic was a tawny brown with feathery wisps scattered about on his coat. A neatly trimmed mane circled his head. Ariella looked like a Siamese, sable on fawn. Cavitus resembled a very large, Old Earth tiger. The prettiest by far was Escascia. She was pure white with silver swirls all over her coat.

Matilda wanted to stare, but felt it would be rude to do so. She didn’t know if the Fellician female would mind being admired. The fur was so soft looking, she wanted to touch it, but thought it would probably be an unforgivable breach of etiquette.

As they walked to the same restaurant on the boardwalk where Matilda and Wil had first lunched together, Caprilla noticed her looks of longing and smiled warmly. Other people would not have considered it so, but after having known Wil for even so short a time, a warm smile had taken a slightly different definition.

“You want to touch? It is all right, Lady Captain. It is something human females often want to do.” He purred softly, trilling his ‘l’. “My team and I have met many humans over the years. We are not offended by such. Please, if it would make you happy, you may touch.”

His musical voice filled her with warmth. He held out his hand, long fingered and velvety. She wondered what sort of claws these folk had, for there were none visible. His hand was warm and soft as down. The feathery fur tickled her fingers like a living thing. He bent his head over her hand, kissing it lightly. His whiskers sent a thrill down her spine. He looked into her face with his clear, blue eyes.

“Friend Wil, this is an amazing lady you have here. Were I an evil fellow, I would fight you for her.” he seemed to purr over the last word, his tongue trilling the ‘r’ seductively.

“Aw, hell, Cap. It’s not polite to kill your friend before dinner. I guess you will just have to leave her with me for now.” He chuckled, taking her by the hand. “Don’t mind him, Romance, he’s always been a joker.” He protectively tugged her closer to him.

Caprilla purred deep in his throat. “I never kid about anything, Captain Romance. I have no sense of humor.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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The Kahlea by Dellani

ABC ChallengeThe Kahlea is book four in my sci-fi series. The people on Shakazhan have decided to explore their planet inside and out. They discovered some time ago that the planet of Shakazhan is an artificial construct, like a living ship—a space age, psychotic Noah’s Ark, full of creatures, which are the results of experiments by The Maker. Knowing they need allies from the folk below, Wil sends an exploratory force. Unfortunately, they run across something that makes them act completely out of character for a bunch of grown men and women, most of whom are Galactic Marines.

Kindred scanner skittered across the stone, sliding out of sight. Kaz started to rise, going slowly toward his device, but Mitch jumped after it, holding it out of Kaz’s reach. Cold fury filled Kaz. Keeping a tenuous rein on his temper, he stood clenching his fists. Above all else, Kaz was a professional Marine recon team member, just like Mitch. They each had a few different specialties, but they held the same rank.

Mitch outweighed Kaz by a good thirty pounds of muscle and he had eleven inches on him as well. Kaz couldn’t help sizing Mitch up as an opponent; training was automatic. Holding out his hand, he kept his voice calm and level, neither of which he truly felt.

“I’d like that back, Mitch.”

Mitch laughed, leaping away, toying with him, his device just out of reach. With a silent decision, Kaz prepared to jump him. The other Marine, so absorbed in his game, didn’t see the small man ready to spring until it was too late. Kaz launched himself at the larger man, rage twisting his features.

Anger didn’t dictate his movements. Calculating coldly, he planned exactly how to take Mitch down with minimal damage to himself and maximum results. Rushing in low, he grabbed Mitch in the mid section, grappling for a hold. Before the taller Marine could react, he was up and over Kaz’s shoulder, dropped on the hard stone floor, flipped onto his face, with Kaz’s boot in the crook of his shoulder and his arm straight up behind him. Mitch knew an Aikido pin like this would dislocate his arm, but he still struggled to get up. A twist reminded him how much damage someone could do with that particular pin.

The Kindred device wavered just before Kaz’s long, pointy nose in the hand he held rigidly before him. Mitch tried to turn over, squirm out of the pin, to get himself free. More pressure applied to the shoulder, a slight twist and shift of weight and Mitch was screaming.

“Up! Screw you, let me up!”

“Tap out, Marine!” Kaz commanded.

Mitch struggled again, giving himself more pain, refusing to tap the floor. “Screw you, Kazinski, I will gut you in your sleep! I’ll cut off your balls and wear them as a necklace while you bleed to death! You scrawny, freckled bastard!” He ended in a scream.

Kaz had nearly dislocated his shoulder, ripping muscle and damaging tendons in the process. “Tap out, you completely, stupid son of a poxed whore! Tap out!”

“What goes on here?” Ray bellowed, picking up Kaz in one huge hand, disengaging him from Mitch in one swift and incredibly painful movement.

Mitch howled as the shoulder finally popped out of the socket. Holding his limp arm carefully, he scuffled out of the way of Ray’s feet.

Kaz grew redder in the face, suspended about eight inches off the floor, held by his shirt collar. The Kindred device had clattered to the floor, forgotten.

“You two boys got a problem, Kazinski? Mitchell, go see the medic about that shoulder. Suck it up, Marine. I’ve had worse and never pissed myself.” He looked disgustedly at the floor between Mitch’s legs as a flurry of copper colored bots came out to clean it up. A jerk of his head dismissed the hulking Marine.

Setting Kaz down with an unnecessarily hard thump, Ray frowned. His handsome face contorted in anger which he fought to control. Kaz couldn’t remember a time in the entire ten years they’d served together when he’d seen the Commander this furious. Ray’s fist shot out, grabbing the front of Kaz’s shirt and a handful of the chest hair beneath it. A tug and the lanky man was face to face with his enraged superior, wincing as the hairs popped free of his skin one by one.

“Talk!” He shook Kaz.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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Coming in 2018