Lone Wolf Tales: A Lone Wolf Series Companion by Dellani Oakes

Lone Wolf Tales: A Lone Wolf Series Companion, is a collection of 9 short stories related to the Lone Wolf Series by Dellani Oakes. These short stories explore aspects of the series that are only briefly mentioned in the novels themselves. Each story is set in a different place and time. Step into the world of the Lone Wolf and meet giant cat people, evil despots and a dangerously handsome Galactic Marine.

And Itza Danced 2And Itza Danced: The character of Itza is introduced in The Kahlea – Book 4 of the Lone Wolf Series. Itza is of the Zarbanni people of Bankaywan. Constantly harassed by brigands and marauders, Itza must send a message to all comers to leave her people alone. Unfortunately, the message hasn’t been clear enough and she must fight once more for her people.

 

blackened coverBlackened: On a backwater planet in the middle of absolute nowhere, Wil Vanlipsig and his men have been sent on another horrendous mission. This time, the odds are decidedly stacked against them. Their objective is to secure and liberate a weapon of mass destruction. Unfortunately, it’s more than any of them counted on.

 

brothers at arms 2Brothers at Arms: Wil and Marc grew up together, were fast friends and even joined the Galactic Marines at the same time. When tapped for a special unit, they meet Lill Simpson, a vivacious redhead. She sets her sights on Marc, but for some reason, Wil doesn’t trust her. Is it paranoia or can she really not be trusted?

 

Call Me Penny coverCall Me Penny: Caught off guard on the scummy, armpit of planet Wercha, Barbara Stennis – known as Penny, because of her copper red hair – is arrested and forced to join the Galactic Marines. Something fishy is going on and the new recruits grow alarmed as many of their number start to mysteriously disappear at night. Penny finds herself in over her head when her sergeant orders her to investigate.

Fractured coverFractured: Wil’s had a crazy life. Thrown into one hellhole after another, he’s always managed to escape. After a mission goes horribly long, he’s forced to take a vacation to a distant, isolated planet called New Aussie. While there, he’s in an accident. Hovering between life and death, he’s rescued by an exotically beautiful woman named Siegra. Strange things happen in the desert, deep in the Heriatis Hills—some of which should never be explained.

forgotten coverGone But Not Forgotten: When they met, there was a spark of recognition, of longing, that neither Wil nor Matilda could explain. This tale explores not only Wil’s past, but Matilda’s, explaining why they fell instantly in love.

 

 

 

white lie coverA Little White Lie: Wil’s been on more than one mysterious mission, given ambiguous orders and dropped in a war zone. That doesn’t bother him anymore. However, this time, there is more than one agenda in play and Wil must tread carefully if he wants to survive.

 

 

 

Pain Killer CoverPain Killer: “It’s a cakewalk.” That’s what Admiral Greyling tells Will when she sends him on a solo mission not unlike the one he’d recently been on. Yet another crazed despot needs to be assassinated so that his people can be—enslaved by some other crazed despot. Wil goes in with only his brains and instincts to keep him alive.

 

rejoicing story coverThere Shall Be Great Rejoicing: This story, also set on Bankaywan, tells the tale of Sta Hyt Mai’s rise to fame and glory as the Champion of Bankaywan. How did Mai rise from her humble beginnings to become the most respected and fame filled woman on her planet?

 

 

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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The Maker – Lone Wolf Book 3 by Dellani Oakes

If anyone had told Wil VanLipsig that five years in the future, he’d be part of a small, dedicated force who stood against an legendary evil, light years from home, on a planet that’s buried in the mists of time, he would have shot them—pure and simple.

Now, he and his wife, Matilda Dulac, stand together with a well trained, but meager, army at their backs, waiting for the coming of the Kahlea. Are they up to the challenge? Read The Maker and find out!

 

The Maker has recently been re-released on Amazon. Below is a short excerpt from The Maker – Book 3 of the Lone Wolf Series.

Ben sat quietly, thinking along lines he had never ventured down before. It was a little like doing recon in a dark swamp, in the fog, but he was slogging through. He had latched onto a comment made in passing and he was working on that idea slowly, deliberately, like Marc playing a game of What If.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Matilda sounded concerned.

“I was just thinking about what you said about the string and getting back to Becky.”

“It was a story, Ben, written thousands of years ago.”

“I know that, but it’s given me an idea. Remember how your dad did that thing with the Trimagnite finders, to locate Iyundo when the High Elder disappeared it? He said he got the idea when Patsy was talking about playing with mirrors, right?”

They waited to see where he was going with this.

“Well, the thread and Becky is what gave me the idea. We can’t follow a string back, exactly, but maybe a string could come to us?”

“I still don’t get your direction on this,” Wil muttered.

“We know that Marc and Becky have their rings, linked by their AI’s,” Ben said.

“Yes, so do we. It didn’t help us find Matilda.”

Ben shook his head. “I don’t know, maybe it did. Think about it, would we have pressed the balloon idea if Grandma hadn’t nagged the ever loving shit out of you for twenty-four hours?”

Wil chuckled. “No, we would have trashed it after about five minutes. It seemed too ridiculous.”

“But it worked. Also, you didn’t have two telepaths, the Maker and a whole butt load of raw Trimagnite to boost your signal. Marc, you have Matilda and me to work with you. We do something similar like we did to reach Ysilvalov, and we try like hell to contact Becky or the Elders. Worth a try, right?”

Wil stared at his son, amazed and proud. “Damn, Ben, you have a good idea there!”

Matilda looked around at the three men whom she loved the most in her entire life. “That’s what I like about this family, creative thinkers.” Giggling, she stood with difficulty.

“You okay, babe?” Wil supported her.

“I need to go the the bathroom, Wil. I’m fine.”

“Again? You just went five minutes ago.”

“And I’ll probably go again in five more minutes. Try having an eight pound weight on your bladder and see how you feel!” Playfully smacking his hand away, she walked to the bathroom.

Wil followed her with his eyes, worry all over his face. “I don’t know how we’re going to get her out of here safely. She can’t walk all that way, it could take months. Based on what we saw of the indigenous life around here, it’s dangerous as hell. We have no weapons, no food and no water. The suits are good for a week, but we could be a lot longer than that. Hell, we could walk for years and never get back. I think we can find our way out of here all right. I have my doubts about finding our way home.”

“We might find a teleporter,” Marc suggested.

“And risk that with a pregnant woman?” Wil shook his head adamantly. “If it were just the three of us, I’d say fuck it and run for the roses. We can’t do that with Matilda, not with the baby—” His voice trailed off as she came out of the bathroom.

“You’ve been talking about me, I can see it all over your faces.” Smiling, she sat heavily by Wil. “You don’t look happy. I thought we had a plan. We do have a plan, don’t we?”

“Yes, of sorts. But, Matilda, think about it for a moment. This is a big planet, who knows how deep we are. Maybe the shaft is our best approach. We could be wandering around for days, weeks or years with no way out! I can’t risk that.”

“You mean you can’t do it with a fat lady in tow.” Her eyes sparked dangerously.

“No, Matilda, that isn’t what I mean and you know it.”

“I’d slow you down, I get that. Do you think I don’t realize what a liability I am right now? If I weren’t pregnant, we could run out of here and never look back.”

Wil took both her hands in his, their rings gliding over one another. Lowering his voice, he spoke calmly.

“What I’m saying is that you and Mariah are too precious to risk in this place. Even without the baby, I wouldn’t risk you in this environment. The shaft is really our best bet.”

“I won’t go back in that shaft, Wil. I’m sorry. No, I’m not sorry! I’m being irrational, I know, but we nearly died in there! I won’t go back!”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book 2

Where Lone Wolf left off, Shakazhan begins.

Three years after leaving Mining Guild Headquarters on Aolani, Wil and Matilda find themselves on the isolated planet of Iyundo. they followed Wil’s psychotic son, John Riley, who is on a quest to release an imprisoned Kahlea.

The Kahlea, a beast so powerful, it can kill with its mind, has called to John, demanding that he come and release it from his prison. John leads his father to Iyundo, escaping from his clutches at the last possible moment.

On the long deserted planet in deep, forgotten space, Wil and Matilda watch as their quarry sets the controls on an ancient transport device and disappears into the vastness of space. With a little help from their friends, Wil & Matilda follow him to a place from myth and legend—Shakazhan!

Excerpt from Shakazhan – Lone Wolf Book 2

The cavern they entered dwarfed the other one. The ships inside were enormous. Flotilla and Hannibal could fit in there easily with room to spare. The design was unlike anything Wil had ever seen. The ships were shaped like horizontal teardrops, the narrow end foremost and the full end aft. The colors ranged from dull gray to a lustrous blue. The hulls shifted color as they walked by, particularly if Wil and Matilda spoke or touched them.

Wil laid his hand on one. It throbbed like a gigantic heart. To their right, a green light flashed rapidly, accompanied with odd, piercing, urgent sounds. The High Elder motioned them to follow. It took several minutes, but soon they were close enough to see blue and red and amber yellow had joined the display.

“Wil, I think it’s singing to us! Listen!” Matilda approached, mesmerized.
The ship was a deep, rich peacock blue. Larger than those below, it dwarfed any ship Wil had seen. Even the huge Guild ore transports weren’t this big. He felt like an ant in comparison.

Reaching up to the ship, Matilda’s hand smoothed the side. “It is singing!”
The tune changed when she touched it. Removing her hand, she heard the sounds modulate yet again. She stroked the hull of the ship, the colors shifted, altered and realigned themselves following the movement of her hand. A contented purr vibrated under her palm.

“Wil, it’s alive! Feel it!”

She grabbed his hand before he could pull away. Their two left hands brushed the hull together, hers atop his. The skin of the ship glowed a vibrant red, changing gradually to orange, flickered to dark yellow, settling to blue again.

Wil laid both his hands beside each other, leaning against the ship, placing his cheek to the side. As he moved back from it, the imprint of the outline of his face and hands remained for a moment, gradually receding.

“By God, Matilda, you’re right!”

The smiles of Felix and the High Elder confirmed their suspicions.

“I’ve heard legends of ships like this, but never expected to see one! This is incredible!”

Grabbing Matilda’s hand, Wil dragged her around the side of the ship, looking for an opening. About twenty feet from the point, a doorway appeared where none had been before. Steps descended, the ship molding them from its skin, forming depressions for their feet. They entered excitedly. Moments later, Felix, The High Elder and Aisulov joined them.
The sight greeting their eyes was one they hardly expected. The inside was ultra high tech, the instrumentation so advanced, they could only imagine what most of it was. The consoles had an Art Nouveau feel, with flowing lines and organic shapes. Here too, the colors melded and shifted.

“She’s beautiful!” Matilda’s eyes glowed happily as she walked around.

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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Lone Wolf – Book 1 by Dellani Oakes

Lone Wolf – sci-fi adventure at its best! The year is 3032 and mankind has expanded far beyond Earth’s galaxy. Matilda Dulac is a member of the Galactic Mining Guild. With her lover, Marc Slatterly, she works in a small mining ship in deep space. Their well ordered life if suddenly thrown into chaos when one miner arrives with a load of Trimagnite, a highly toxic liquid ore. Enter the Lone Wolf. Wil VanLipsig, known as the Lone Wolf, arrives to take the Trigmagnite off their hands. Is it a coincidence for him to show up on Marc’s ship years after Marc thought he’d killed Wil? Or is this the beginning of something far more insidious? The Lone Wolf is book in a new science fiction series by Dellani Oakes. Below is an excerpt from Lone Wolf. Wil has just arrived on the mining vessel where Matilda and Marc serve together. It’s obvious fairly early on that something isn’t right between the two men.

Marc opened the door to the docking bay. The other ship had attached and the airlock was pressurizing. As the door spiraled open, Matilda sensed a shudder pass through Marc. He raised his weapon, covering the entrance.

Slowly, with a casual air, a man entered the airlock. Nearly as tall as Marc, he was leaner of build. His curly, dark brown hair fell to his shoulders. He stood still while Rubee scanned his identification tag before releasing the force shield in front of him.

He wore a black eye patch over his left eye and a scar ran from his left temple to the corner of his lips. It was an old scar, worn and somewhat sunken. A slight stubble of beard shaded the lower half of his face, all but the scar line, leaving a pale crescent in the dark. His uncovered eye glittered, black and dangerous in his ruggedly handsome face. Holding his arms from his sides, he waited as Rubee scanned him for weapons. Finding none, she gave clearance for him to pass.

He stepped forward, lighting a dark, thin object. The pungent odor of a cheroot filled the confined space. Squinting past the smoke, he gazed into Marc’s eyes. Marc’s weapon remained pointed at the other man’s head, his calm expression strangely predatory.

Their visitor sized Matilda up with a glance, dismissing her as non-threatening. He puffed on his cheroot thoughtfully. A crooked grin cracked his face in half, the scar pulling his left lip up at an odd angle.

“Marc, it’s been a long time.” He held out his hand.

Marc remained aloof, not taking his eyes off the visitor, lowering his weapon or acknowledging the proffered hand.

“Kind of a cold reception, isn’t it?” His voice was rasping and low.

The smile was replaced by a slight frown, a hint of sadness in the obsidian eye. Then the same placid expression took its place. Nothing in Marc’s face betrayed what he was thinking or feeling.

Marc spoke calmly. “Commander Dulac, please show Colonel VanLipsig to the lounge.”

“Of course, sir.” Looking puzzled, she did as he asked, feeling his eyes on her.

Marc followed, covering the man from the rear. When they had seated themselves, Matilda ordered three cups of joe from the synthunit. Marc kept his weapon out on his knee with his hand resting upon it.

The other fellow leaned back, seemingly unconcerned and at ease. Taking a sip of the joe, he grimaced, glancing down at his cup before matching his gaze with Marc’s.

“I know we parted under difficult circumstances, but is this really necessary? I’m here to do a job, nothing more.” He carefully kept his hands in plain view, moving slowly, talking with deliberate ease.

Marc looked at him blankly. “I thought you were dead, Wil.”

VanLipsig nodded slowly, thoughtfully. “You were sure you killed me.” His voice was flat, toneless, unemotional. He shrugged casually, tilting his head to the left. “I got better.” There was a flash of a chilling smile.

“The reports….”

“The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated,” VanLipsig quipped, dark eye glittering mischievously.

Marc’s fist dented the metal table with a furious blow. “Dammit, Wil! Can’t you stay dead?”

VanLipsig threw back his head, laughing caustically. The laugh became a long, high-pitched, chilling howl. Matilda felt a shiver run through her to the very bone. She did her best not to show it, but a subtle shift of her bearing betrayed her. His gaze penetrated her soul, laying it bare, finding it wanting.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to the lady, Marc?”

“No.”

Marc hid his anger, but Matilda knew he was furious. His attitude toward VanLipsig was puzzling. They seemed to have known one another for years, obviously parting on less than amicable terms. Though VanLipsig seemed to harbor no ill will, Marc certainly did.

“May I present myself, ma’am? I’m Colonel Wilhelm VanLipsig, also known as the Lone Wolf. Perhaps you’ve heard of me?” He attempted to look humble. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” His glance flicked to her nametag and insignia, dark eye lingering hungrily on her chest. “Commander Dulac.” His mouth formed the words, enjoying the feel of the consonants on his tongue. He waited patiently for a response. Getting none, his eye locked with hers, curious, intrigued. “Do you speak?”

Matilda studied him quizzically, raising an eyebrow. “There seemed little to say.”

© 2017 Dellani Oakes

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This Lovely New Cover by Suzette Vaughn

I Love Dialogue! from Full Measure #3

books by dellani oakes 1Ralan and Daphne finally meet and are immediately attracted. So much so, they give in to their passions without thinking. Ralan realizes, too late, that being with her could compromise his case, but he finds it hard to care. He also realizes he must tell his Captain, Jeff Givens, what’s happened.

Givens and Ralan went to the Captain’s office. One of the office assistants brought in coffee and a platter of bagels, donuts and pastries. Ralan thanked her, Givens more or less ignored her, though he nodded slightly in her direction as she served him.

“So, who do you think these schmucks are?”

“No idea. I’m not even sure who all the players are, Jeff.”

“Then we need to find out asap. I can’t have my best agent looking over his shoulder.”

“I always look over my shoulder.” He sipped his coffee and took a cherry danish.

“I meant more than usual. Being paranoid’s kept you alive a long time. You sure no one followed you to Ian’s?”

“No. I watched for a tail, but that means nothing. I didn’t hide my plans, Jeff. What puzzles me is how they knew I was back.”

“Maybe they didn’t. Maybe they were breaking in for some other reason.”

“Armed for bear? Not a casual break in. They were after me. Maybe Daphne too.”

“Why would they think she was there?”

Ralan sipped his coffee, refusing to answer.

“Tell me.” Jeff Givens wasn’t a man to back away from confrontation. He dogged a bone better than anyone, including Ralan.

Not feeling like arguing, Ralan leaned forward, arms on his thighs. “I messed up.”

“Meaning you compromised our case by misconduct with the woman?”

Closing his eyes, Ralan nodded. Givens didn’t speak for a long time. Ralan could hear him breathing. He could almost hear the older man thinking.

“Ralan, did I ever tell you about the time I had a beautiful personal assistant I was protecting? Her boss was up to his ass in some crazy scheme and she made the mistake of doing her job and told him about some irregularities she’d found.”

The younger agent sat quietly. Jeff didn’t want a reply. Ralan waited.

“I was about your age, and they gave me this. My first witness protection as lead. We were stuck in a cabin deep in the woods. Just us two. Had some guys running patrols, but it was just us for over a week. We were bored and scared as hell we were gonna die. . . . I took that girl to bed. Damn near ruined my career.”

“What saved you?”

“I had a boss who’d been in the same situation and made the same mistake.” He paused, eyes on his desk. Glancing up at Ralan, he folded his hands in front of him. “Can you promise me this is the only time this will happen?”

Ralan looked away, unable to lie to his boss. “I’d love to tell you that, Jeff. I’m not sure I believe it.”

“Good, cause I wouldn’t either. If you’d given me a guarantee, I’d of pulled you off so damn fast your nuts would spin.”

“You could still do that.”

“I’m reserving that right,” Givens replied. “This goes no further.”

“Romy knows.”

“Who’s he gonna tell? Me? If I pull you off, I have to give a reason. Do you think I want to answer questions like that? Do you?”

“No, sir.”

“Damn Skippy, no. Keep it in your pants, Agent Hendrix. Get a hobby. Needlepoint is relaxing.”

“Yes, sir.” He stood, knowing he’d been dismissed. “Thank you, sir.”

“Kid, we all make mistakes. If I canned every agent who had an inconvenient itch, I wouldn’t have a team.”

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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I Love Dialogue! from Full Measure #2

Dellani Oakes with glasses smallerDaphne Winstead is new in town. She meets a woman named Karen at the doctor’s office whose records she’s going over. The practice head thinks that someone is embezzling. It’s up to Daphne to find out who and how. For now, however, the city’s had the first major snow of the season, so the women get an unexpected day off. They decide to spend a long weekend at the home of Ian and Cynthia Yarrow—a multi-billionaire and his wife.

“Booya! Beat you at your own game, Mister Yarrow!” Frtiz’ British accent was strong, but sounded genuine.

“Someone give the man a cookie,” another male voice said. “Or he’s gonna explode from puffed up self-importance.”

Loud laughter ensued. It faded slightly when Karen and Daphne entered the room. They looked up expectantly. Some of the faces were familiar, others weren’t. The women rushed to her, hugging her and dragging her into the room. They tried to introduce her to everyone at once until Karen took control.

“Give the girl a chance to breathe! Let’s start with the host and his lovely wife. Daphne, my cousin Ian Yarrow and his wife Cynthia.”

A strikingly handsome man sat on a chaise lounge, his legs in some sort of odd braces. He smiled. “I’d get up, but I’m still getting used to this contraption. Welcome, Daphne. We’ve heard about little else from the girls. Glad to finally meet you.”

“Thanks for inviting me, Mr. Yarrow.”

Ian’s booming laugh warmed her. “Just Ian is fine. Or Yarrow. I even answer to hey you.” He took her hand. “Welcome. I’m glad to have another person to call friend. Honey?”

He deferred to the attractive redhead seated next to him. She was very pregnant, due pretty much any day, so far as Daphne could tell.

“I’m so glad to meet you. I hated that I missed the last girl’s night, but we were getting Ian’s brace adjusted.” She stood awkwardly, hugging Daphne. The baby kicked and both women laughed.

“When are you due?”

“Soon. About a month. Gillian’s due Monday.”

“Which is why they invited me,” a handsome dark haired man next to Reva said. “I’m Hal.”

“The token doctor,” Ian interjected.

“What they don’t know is I haven’t delivered a baby since my residency.”

“A hundred years ago,” the ginger haired Brit said, coughing.

“Don’t get cocky, squirt!” Hal said, laughing. “He thinks since he just won that round, he’s da bomb!”

“The British contingent is represented by Gillian and Fritz Heathrow-Cooper,” a pretty dark haired British woman said politely. “I’m Gillie and that ginger haired turnip is my husband. . . .”

“And hyphen,” he added. “Fritz Cooper. She hyphenated, I didn’t. What we’ll do when the baby is born, I don’t know. I can’t see saddling a little tyke with that sort of handle, can you?”

Daphne wasn’t sure what to say. She didn’t want to get into the middle of an argument, if such it was. “I don’t know. I never had any occasion to hyphenate.”

“Sounds positively dirty when you say it like that,” Fritz said with an enthusiastic rubbing of his hands. “Oi, love! Let’s hyphenate!” He winked at his wife, nudging her ribs.

She smacked him playfully. “Cocky bugger. As to the babe, she won’t hyphenate. Her middle name is Heathrow, her last Cooper.”

“Really? When did you decide that?”

“Just now.” She looked self-satisfied.

“They’re a crazy bunch,” Karen explained. “But fun. Last, but not least, my spouse, Luc Vaughan. Honey, this is Daphne.”

“The one you’re trying to hook up with Ralan? Aw, hon, she’s too good for him.” He kissed his wife soundly. “Kidding. He’s a great guy. Nice to meet you, Daphne. What would you like to drink?”

“What are my choices?”

Gillian replied, pointing to a variety of insulated carafes. “We’ve got tea, Earl Grey. Hot chocolate, coffee and hot cider.”

“Wow, so many choices! Cider sounds fantastic.”

“Excellent choice. My idea,” Ian answered. “See, someone besides me likes it, Fritz.”

“Insane, she is. Has to be. So, you’re dating Ralan?”

“No! What? I haven’t even met him.”

“Good,” Derrick said as he walked in. “That means there’s a chance for me to sweet talk you first.”

The room exploded in laughter. They weren’t laughing at Derrick, more at what he’d said. Daphne looked carefully at the pilot for the first time. He was tall, broad shouldered, blond and handsome. Every man in the room was gorgeous. How could there be so many good looking men in the world and she couldn’t seem to find even one? Her two boyfriends in college were nowhere near this handsome. She said as much to the room full of people.

“That’s a good question, that is,” Fritz said. “Let’s ponder it, shall we?”

“Ponder this,” Derrick said, grabbing his groin.

“I had hoped,” Cynthia said amidst loud, male laughter. “That we could go the weekend without that kind of humor.”

“With this lot?” Gillian said. “It’s amazing that none of them have dropped their pants and flashed us.”

“Give us time,” Ian countered. “The day is young and I’m sober.”

“I’ve seen your tukas,” Gillian replied in a bored tone. “Magnificent,” she whispered loudly to Daphne. “Really posh. Nothing quite so remarkable as a billionaire’s arse.”

Her husband pinched her ribs, laughing. “I’ll remember that, my girl, when you want to grab mine.”

“Yours is very nice too, sweetheart,” she said in a singsong voice.

“Are you always like this?” Daphne asked, somewhat taken aback.

“Sometimes we’re naughty,” Derrick replied, grinning as he poured himself some cider.

“I love it! You’re just like my family.”

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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The Chosen One or the Reluctant Hero

Dellani Oakes with glasses smallerI recently read an article about clichés authors shouldn’t use. It was a well written, well thought out article. For the most part, I agreed. There was one point I’d like to refute. The author of the article stated that fantasy & science fiction authors need to dispense with “The Chosen One” hero—someone destined to lead, kill the bad guy and save the world.

Here’s the thing: Nobody wants to read about the Nobody. We want the heroism, the special skills, the destiny factor. That’s part of what makes a hero heroic. No one wants to read about an insignificant peasant, unless the peasant steps up to greatness.

Where would Lord of the Rings be without Frodo? Where would the Hobbitt be without Bilbo? Where would the Narnia series be without the Pevensie children? I’ll tell you—at the bottom of a drawer, gathering dust, ignored for all time. The Hunger Games and Harry Potter books would meet the same end. Nobody wants to read about the Nobody.

That’s not to say that the hero must be perfect or of epic proportions. Even the famous heroes of yore, Hercules, Jason and Achilles, were flawed. Deeply, dare I say, Epically, flawed. Yes, they did great things, but their mistakes were equally as outstanding as their successes.

Books without a Chosen One hero aren’t likely to do well. Readers want and need someone to believe in, someone destined to lead, someone born to succeed. The problem here is not the cliché itself, but the way it is often handled. If the hero is too damaged, or reluctant, too afraid to step up, the story drags. Readers get angry with him. Some will stop reading.

I’m put in mind of the Thomas Covenant series. Here was a man who was horrendously flawed, his body ruined by disease, his life in tatters. But guess what? He’s the Chosen One! Who, less than five minutes after he arrives in the new land, rapes a girl simply because she’s there and he has to prove to himself he’s strong once more. I stayed angry with him through the entire book for that. I read several of the books in the series, because they were somewhat engaging, but his personality constantly grated. I finally gave up on them. I don’t mind a flawed character, but I don’t like a hero who’s only marginally better than the villain.

Readers don’t want fairytale princes either. Too perfect is as bad as too flawed. No one is perfect. We all have character flaws. Mr. Wonderful has to be Mr. Horrible at some point or again, readers lose interest. Make him interesting and realistic, not some two dimensional man of film.

The Chosen One, the person who, through no fault of his own, has been handed a job so daunting, no one would want it. He doesn’t want to believe he is the Chosen One, because no one in his right mind wants to do that job! He balks, he fights it, but eventually, he does what needs doing. Perhaps the belief in a higher being who has ordered this, grates with some readers. Perhaps it is because this seems to take away the concept of free will? That, I’m not sure of.

Quite often, the Chosen One reaches a decision making stage. They can fight and fulfill their destiny, or they can give up. Usually, they step up and do what needs to be done because they are Frodo, or Bilbo or Peter the High King or Katniss Everdeen or Harry Potter. They choose to move forward and fight evil, not because it’s foretold, but because the alternative isn’t even an option for them.

As John McClain says in Live Free or Die Hard: “That’s what makes you that guy.”

Hooray for the reluctant hero!

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I Love Dialogue! From Full Measure

books by dellani oakes 1I’ve been having fun sharing these excerpts on my Writer’s Sanctuary blog, but I have so many, I decided to branch out. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Daphne Winstead is a young, struggling accountant who specializes in forensic accounting. When she’s hired to track and catch an embezzler at a local mental health facility, she jumps at the chance, little knowing that’s she’s stumbled into something far bigger than she anticipated. Not only has she made several people in the office hate her, she’s apparently being followed.

Daphne didn’t see it follow her to the Super WalMart a few blocks from her home. She’d decided as soon as she walked outside, she needed some warmer clothing. What she had was good for cold in Mississippi. For this far north, not far from the Canadian border, it wasn’t sufficient. She didn’t have a lot to spend, but could afford a few things. Most important was a heavy coat and a pair of boots. Snow was forecast for the coming week.

After selecting her clothing, she did her grocery shopping. She was low on milk and coffee, among other things. She picked up a deli fried chicken meal for her dinner. Walking out of the store, she searched for her car, having gotten turned around in the store. She spotted it across the lot from where she stood. She’d come out a different door from the one she came in. Taking a deep breath, she struck out for her vehicle, shivering in the gathering chill. Moisture touched her face and she glanced up at the sky as she passed a dark SUV. It sat in a parking space with the motor running.

“Snow? Really?” Daphne sighed.

The windows of the SUV were tinted, but she suspected someone was inside. Paying it no mind, she loaded her groceries and put the cart in the nearby rack. Carefully, she headed home. Not used to driving in this type of weather, she was unsure of herself. Karen had grown up here, maybe she could give her some tips.

At her apartment building, Daphne carried her groceries to her apartment and unloaded them quickly. Her chicken went in the oven to crisp, the rest in the microwave. She poured herself a glass of wine and settled in the living room with her food.

Outside, the SUV sat idling in her parking lot. A large black man sat in the driver’s seat. Beside him sat the man in black leather. Dark, brooding eyes gazed up at Daphne’s window. He couldn’t see in, but that didn’t stop him from seeing her. Right now, she was probably curled up on her couch watching TV. He wasn’t sure how he knew that, but somehow it made sense.

“We gonna sit here all night?” The black man asked him.

The other man didn’t answer right away. Instead, he twirled his finger. The driver put the car in gear and pulled out of the parking lot into the gloomy storm.

“What’s this girl done? She looks totally harmless, man.”

“Nothing.”

“Then why we spending our time watching her?”

The dark haired man shrugged, shaking his head. Pinching his lower lip, he gazed out the window at the thickening snow flurries.

“Well, I need a drink, dammit,” the black man said. “I’m freezing ass.”

“You’re wearing a heavy coat, the seat’s heated and the heat’s on high,” a man in the back seat said, his British accent strong.

“Shut up, man. I’m from Florida. This is fucking cold!”

The Brit and the dark haired man chuckled. “Pussy,” they said in chorus.

The rest of the trip took place in silence. The SUV turned in at Kelley’s parking lot.

“You two go in without me. I have to make a call. Get me a coffee,” he said as they got out.

“American or Irish?” The Brit asked.

“You seriously have to ask that question, what kind of spy are you?”

Laughing, the men walked off. The dark haired man made his call and joined them a short time later.

“Feeling better?” The Brit asked.

The dark haired man shrugged as his coffee was served. Thanking the waitress with a smile, he sipped it. Hot, creamy and enough whisky to stop a horse. Closing his eyes, he let the hot, stinging beverage trickle down his throat.

“You gonna tell us what this is about?” The Brit asked calmly, sipping his scotch.

“I told you. Nothing. Don’t worry your pretty head about it, baby,” he said as if he were talking to a particularly obtuse woman.

The British man punched him in the shoulder.

“Hey! You nearly spilled my coffee!”

“Oh, precious, you’ll manage,” the British man said, batting his eyelashes.

“Y’all are a couple fruits,” the black man said sourly. “Act like girls. You two gay for each other?”

“Because you’re new to the team and don’t know us,” the British man replied quietly. “I’ll let that slide—this time. Say it again, and pieces of you will go missing.”

“You ain’t right,” the driver said. “Neither of you.”

“You don’t like it, go back to Miami,” the dark haired man said.

“St. Pete,” the black man corrected. “I can’t go back. Too damn hot.”

“Temperature?” The man in leather asked.

“Cops. One too many bodies disappeared in Alligator Ally. Got suspicious.” He shrugged.

The two white men exchanged a meaningful look. Nodding, they took a sip of their drinks in unison. The black man watched, shaking his head.

“Nope, y’all ain’t right.”

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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The Maker – Book 3 of the Lone Wolf Series by Dellani Oakes

414BKu5bOdL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-62,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I’ve been working on edits and, while I’m still in my write mind, I thought I’d share an excerpt from The Maker, coming later this year (I hope) from Second Wind Publishing.

This sci-fi/ action/ romance novel is set in the distant future around the year 3036 in a part of space so ancient, it’s the stuff of legends. The planet they live on, Shakazhan, is virtually dead above ground. Underneath, it teams with life–all of it dangerous and deadly.

Wil & Matilda VanLipsig, along with their friends Ben & Marc, are chasing the beast, Surau after he escapes from his prison inside Shakazhan.

The passage grew increasingly dim as they went further in. They had never been so far from Sentience and her repaired networks before. They initiated their Kindred suits as the air around them thinned and grew stale.

The dark men surged down the tunnel after them, unable to use their spears. Their numbers were overwhelming. Ben and Marc formed a wall, with Wil directly behind them. He tried to contact the ship to teleport them out, but there was too much interference. Backing slowly as the men advanced, Marc picked off two with very carefully aimed shots. Ben joined him, taking out a couple more. Their weapons were set to stun, but to the dark men, their comrades appeared to be dead.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]Instead of stopping, the dark men grew more determined, advancing rapidly. Suddenly, as one, they lunged forward, making a grab for the small, retreating party of humans. One grabbed Marc, who crushed the dark man’s skull with a blow from his gun butt.

One held Ben, who summarily broke his arm, yanking it from the socket. The dark man screamed in pain as Ben’s blow to his head killed him. Wil kicked another one in the teeth, aiming down the tunnel, attempting to determine which was the leader.

His kill shot was true, the men stopped advancing as their leader’s head exploded. With a mighty roar, they made a last, monumental attempt to grapple with the humans. Wil pressed his wife behind him, trying again to contact the ship. There was a crackle of static and a faint acknowledgment from Hammer.

“Smith, get us the hell out of here!” Wil roared into his com.

The dark men gathered their dwindling numbers, preparing for a final assault. Growling angrily, they reformed their ranks around the fallen, glaring at the humans with hatred.

Wil shouted to his wife, “Run, Baby! We’ll catch up to you! Run! Run!”

Matilda hesitated a moment. The passageway was dark, she could feel it surround her. Even the Kindred suit couldn’t compensate for the complete lack of light. The nightmares came back, freezing her in place.

“Wil, I can’t! I can’t see a thing! Oh, God, Wil, I’m so scared!”

“Baby, it’s okay. Hammer has us. He’ll get us out of here. Please, keep going a little longer.”

Hesitantly, she picked her way along, the floor sagging beneath her feet. The ceiling was lower with so much debris, she had to stoop to move. The others were engaged in combat, she could hear it. All her instincts screamed at her to go back, to fight beside her mate.

Wil’s voice echoed down the passage, “Run!”

One of the dark men broke through their line, scrabbling over the stones, nearly on top of her. Matilda knew Wil was aiming at him. Flattening herself against the wall, she pressed back as far as she could.

“Now!” she screamed. “You have a clear shot!”

The weapon fired as she ducked, turning further away, sensing the electromagnetic pulse from Wil’s gun, hit the dark man in the back, hurling toward her.

She tried to dodge him, but a hand shot out from his dying body, clutching at her flowing dress, dragging her with him. The floor collapsed beneath their combined weight. The man fell like an anchor into the nothingness below her. Kicking wildly, she scrabbled for a hand hold, screaming hysterically.

Wil heard her scream, felt the give in the floor and ran full speed down the passage. The ceiling collided with this forehead, the sides of the passage snagged his clothing. “I’m coming! I’m coming! Hang on!”

“Wil! Oh, Wil! I’m falling! Wil!” A scream ripped from her throat, fading away as she fell.

Wil reached for her a second too late. He saw her falling into the bottomless pit. His cry of despair turned into a howl of grief unmatched by any sound Ben or Marc had heard. Then he grew fuzzy. They lost sight of him and a moment later, found themselves on the bridge of Hammer. Matilda wasn’t with them. Wil lay on the floor, still as death.

“Oh, God,” he whispered. “Oh, God! No!”

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