Poetry Friday ~ The Night Sky

27 Mar

Hi, everyone! Welcome.

Photo by Mark Basarab

It’s the fourth week of the month – time for a Theme Prompt! Last month, Colleen Chesebro from Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge selected Sally Cronin to pick this month’s theme:

The Night Sky

I am the night sky

you are the feverish stars

that fill up my soul

You are the night sky

I am the stars you embrace

only to help me

shimmer all the more brighter

you hold me close until dawn

Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a safe and happy Friday!

Why don’t you join me on:

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/vashtiwrites/

Twitter http://twitter.com/VashtiQV

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/vashti-quiroz-vega

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

20 Mar

Welcome, everyone! I’m thrilled to have you visit. It’s the 3rd week of the month, and that means we have a photo prompt. Colleen’s 2020 Poetry Prompt Challenge.

Padre, from Padre’s Ramblings, provided the photo for this month’s challenge.

Here’s my contribution for this week, a Butterfly Cinquain:

I Prefer a Book

tempted

by the Autumn

that labored to make it

thoughts of the soil and its duty

and the

full bellies of

grapes who hang on to vines

that twirl and reach to the heavens

s o r r y.

“Reading—the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay.”

—William Styron

Photo by Tim Rebkavets @timreb9

“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” —Mary Schmich

I know there are many people who are self-quarantined or in mandatory isolation due to the coronavirus. Don’t despair. Grab a book, and meet some fascinating characters, walk in their shoes and take an extraordinary journey. I wish everyone a calm, safe and happy Friday and weekend.

Comes This Time To Float Blog Tour! Stephen Geez

17 Mar

Hi, everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m happy to introduce Stephen Geez, a talented and prolific author. He has a new book out so I’ve invited him to share an excerpt and some information about it on my blog today. So please give a warm welcome to my fabulous guest author, Stephen Geez!

Salutations!

I am elated to find you here at Vashti’s blog on my extended blog tour. I am humbled by the kindness of my wondrous host for sharing some blog space today. I hope to interest you bookish types in trying my first book in way too many years, this my only collection of short fiction: Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez.You could add another “by Stephen Geez” to that, as I put the moniker in the subtitle, too. I’d be forcing it to find a theme, except maybe that all my stories try to look at something I think is important, but told in a decorative sort of way. Written here and there among novels over two decades, they show a variety of genres and styles, as I get restless. Now they’re tucked between jacketed hard covers and softs, or in e-however-you-likes.

The Enticement

Each tour stop will offer the opening paragraphs of a story from the book, then link to the full story online.  A few will also link to audio-shorts narrated by me. An RRBC-specific promo video will be foisted on you every day. Using a narrator didn’t seem right for my own trailer, so yeah, it’s me. Be sure to post reviews in your favorite places, most helpfully if Amazon. RRBC members, be sure to report the Amazon link to your Reviews Coordinator for quarterly credit.

And you, I thank, too.

Stephen Geez-author-RRBC-blog tour-Vashti Quiroz Vega-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q

A Geez Author Blurb

Stephen Geez grew up in the Detroit suburbs during the American-auto domination. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan—Ann Arbor. He retired from scripting/producing television and composing/producing television music, then expanded his small literary management firm into indie-publisher and multi-media company Fresh Ink Group. Now he works from a deck overlooking the lake in north Alabama, helping other writers share their compelling narratives with the world.

The Book Blurb

Prepare to think as you explore these wildly disparate literary short stories by author, composer, and producer Stephen Geez. Avoiding any single genre, this collection showcases Geez’s storytelling from southern gothic to contemporary drama to coming-of-age, humor, sci-fi, and fantasy—all finessed to say something about who we are and what we seek. Some of these have been passed around enough to need a shot of penicillin, others so virgin they have never known the seductive gaze of a reader’s eyes. So when life’s currents get to pulling too hard, don’t fight it, just open the book and discover nineteen new ways of going with the flow, because NOW more than ever Comes this Time to Float.

The Promo Video

Today’s Sample: “Holler Song”

Retta danced the willy-nilly, grabbed at slick branches, then lost both feet and whomped back-end down on the ice. Hit ’em mean like that and 70-year-old bones act scared, then angry, then out for revenge—and they’ll complain bitterly for weeks. It’s not how hard the ground is, makes ’em mad; it’s how brittle the bones has got.

Now a sheet of frozen slick, this low patch in the double-rut drive-back had been needing some ’dozer work a long time running, one of many get-to’s set for when next year’s lump-sum money could hire some younger help. Hardly anyone drove it but Randall, easing the pickup ’tween overgrown mirror-snaggers when he brung groceries and what-not to Lurlene and her girl. Deputy Wallace used to ramble back here regular-like to pretend friendly and keep an eye for signs local cookers mighta set up, but when he found Hollis’s makeshift lab a ways down Cutter Road, his brother Cletus shot him dead. State Police come in and tore ’ern up from there to right up Middleton Holler just beyond. Now a new deputy’s done took over, but ain’t yet been out here lying about smells to claim “probable cause” when he trespasses on Lurlene and Retta’s private property. This very minute would be a good time, him to show for a howdy-ma’am, seein’ as how there’s an old lady needs picking up off her arse.

Retta rolled over on her side and wound up mashing the holdin’ end of that pocketed fish-knife into her thigh, then managed despite bad arthritis to pull herself up and set about shuffling forward, keeping to the treeline for more grab-branching. She came to sight of cousin Lurlene’s place, built by their granddaddy when he carried his unimpressed young bride here for a lifetime of second thoughts in the hills of East Tennessee. Lately the place looked embarrassed at being let to run down, but now the dim gray fog and last night’s snow gave it a fairy-tale gingerbread-house look, all sugar-frosted and gleaming with drips of icing drooping its eaves. Wisps of smoke fed by a stingy stack of splits curled from the chimney and bent north to tickle more sleet from dark clouds of a mind to paint these hollers another coat of quick-freeze.

Lurlene stepped out and stood on the wide, covered porch. Ten years younger than cousin Retta, she looked real old of a sudden. Bundled in wool coat, crochet hat and scarf, jeans and hide boots, she’d already got a mind to head out. “Found her, didn’t they?” she asked as Retta stopped at the slicked-over bottom step. Eyes red and swole, Lurlene had been crying, imagining the worst and expecting nothing better.

The Whole Story

I’ve posted the whole story on my blog today. Be sure to come back here!

https://StephenGeez.WordPress.com

Find the Book Now

Should be just about everywhere, but here are the biggies:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/comes+this+time+to+float?_requestid=1776240

Other Places I Lurk

Instagram: StephenGeezWriter

https://StephenGeez.com

https://StephenGeez.Wordpress.com

Poetry Friday ~ Comfort & Worn

13 Mar

Welcome, everyone! Happy Friday the 13th!

I have several topics I want to address today, and it’s going to seem random. I apologize in advance.

Firstly, let’s talk about the coronavirus and COVID- 19. Unless you’ve been vacationing on the moon you’ve heard these terms before. The coronavirus has been around for a long time. It’s the same virus associated with SARS in 2003. COVID- 19 is the disease caused by the newly identified type of coronavirus that emerged in China in December 2019.

COVID- 19 symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. Now, these symptoms are similar to the flu, and we are in flu season so if you have these symptoms call your doctor and let her know, but don’t go crazy thinking you have COVID- 19. Don’t automatically go to the ER without speaking to your doctor first because if you don’t have it the ER (emergency room) is probably a great place to catch it, and if you do have it you’ll most likely pass it on to people that are probably in a more vulnerable state than you are. Please call your doctor and act calmly.

There is no coronavirus vaccine yet. Prevention involves frequent hand-washing, coughing into the bend of your elbow and staying home when you’re sick.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has these suggestions:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds (about a round of Old McDonald had a Farm). Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects people frequently touch.

I’m not a doctor, but I’ve worked in the medical field closely with doctors for many years. There are a lot of nervous people out there acting in panic, and that only makes things worse for them, others and people in the medical field who are only trying to help. You can calm your nerves by simply keeping yourself informed and by applying the 3 Ps: Positivity, Preparedness, and don’t Panic.

Let’s stay positive, but prepared, and please don’t panic it only makes things worse for you and others.

I also wanted to mention that someone sent me a DM (direct message) on Twitter asking why I only feature certain people on my blog. First of all, I’m an equal opportunity blogger and always have been. I’m constantly volunteering to host people on my blog. If we know each other, and you want to be featured on my blog let me know. Contrary to what some people may believe I don’t own a crystal ball. If you’ve never asked me to feature you on my blog don’t bitch complain about not being featured on my blog.

Lastly, don’t allow anyone to influence your thinking or how you feel about another person. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Before you reject, turn your back on or completely disregard someone because another person told you to do so, think for yourself. Judge someone according to the way they’ve treated you and by their deeds. Make up your own mind who that person is. Don’t allow anyone to do that for you.

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge (Synonyms Only)

Here are the two words selected by Ruth Scribbles, winner from last month’s Syllables Only challenge:

COMFORT & WORN

Photograph by Aimee Vogelsang @vogelina

With painted on smile

she raises silent uproars

Once she brought you cheer

and kept you safe through the night

you happily held her tight

***

Now she’s forgotten

in a dusty li’l corner

wearing tattered clothes

recalling when a simple

hug could heal that broken soul

Photograph by Dominic Romero @domr_

Have a fun, safe and creepy Friday the 13th!

Photograph by Franck V. @franckinjapan

GRINDERS ~ a new release by C. S. Boyack

9 Mar

Happy Monday, everyone! I am excited to welcome back an exceptional guest, Author, C. S. Boyack.

He’s got a brand new release and is here to talk about it. So, without further ado, let’s welcome him!

Thanks for having me over today, Vashti. You’re always welcome to stop at my place the next time you’re touring a project around.

My newest book is called Grinders, and it’s a bit of science fiction known as cyberpunk. I’ll let the blurb go into the details about the story. My topic on this leg of the tour is research.

I write speculative fiction, and that includes fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. Many people think we have it easy, because we don’t have to do the deep research that other authors do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Oh, we don’t have it so bad, I think the murder procedural type authors might have it a bit worse, but there is research involved.

One my things is to tie as much as I can to something realistic whenever possible. That way when I ask for a leap of faith from readers they’ll be more likely to take one with me.

Grinders is set in San Francisco of the future. The California coastline is already eroding, and some cities currently have plans of relocating homeowners along crumbling cliffs and such. With global warming already upon us, and a melting ice pack in Antarctica, what might San Francisco look like 100 years from now? Turns out there are some projections available online.

I modified my version of San Francisco to destroy some coastal areas, and even moved the shoreline to some different streets. I even made a slight reference to Telegraph Island in the story which is known as Telegraph Hill on today’s map.

Then I made a small leap of faith, and included some underwater apartments. These are refurbished towers, that are now just offshore. We must have made some advances in a hundred years.

One cool bit of research I included involved scientists who’ve learned to grow electrical circuitry inside plants. These are more carbon based than copper wires you might be used to. I decided there was an electric forest just outside the city. Using the process of photosynthesis and some of these carbon connections, the city generated power from the forest.

In the world of Grinders, the electric forest is old technology. It’s currently being torn down and developed, because something better came along.

There is, or was, a group in my home state of Idaho who developed a different kind of solar power collection units. These involve pebbled glass hexagons that snap together like some kind of toys. The original thought was to use them as roofing material. Then they came up with the idea of replacing asphalt with them. There are thousands of miles of roads in this country, and if deployed, it could produce one hell of a lot of electricity without defacing anything that hasn’t already been defaced.

The electronic forest has been replaced by something called The Grid, based upon these solar panels. It’s science fiction, so I get to ramp things up. Power flows both ways from this grid, and it can light up for first responders, that kind of thing. It’s also hooked to a central database and all the cars are electric. It drives the cars with more efficiency than we are capable of. Just tell The Grid where you’re going and enjoy the ride.

This is just a small taste of what the grid is capable of, and it’s almost a character in its own right within the story.

One last one for this post. The main characters in the story are cops. They are assigned to the worst duty in the department, and I make references to more high profile duty as they go about their tasks. This brings me to opiate yeast.

A few years ago, a group in New Zealand decided they could take over the legal opium trade by replacing all the poppies with yeast. This involved some gene editing, and in their minds would be safer and more secure in a lab environment they could control. No more of those nasty gangs converting the crops for the illegal opium trade.

I thought it was a horrible idea at the time, and used that in Grinders. Yeast is microscopic. It’s in our homes, environment, and the air we breathe. I just don’t see it staying confined to a lab, and it’s going to run wild at some point. I keep a thirty year old sourdough starter at home, so I know a little about this.

Again, it’s a leap of faith, but in the world of Grinders, the opiate yeast has become the dominant organism. Home brewers and bakers are a real problem, and those cops get the better equipment and headlines. It also gave me a chance to bring up San Francisco sourdough and the difficulty of finding opiate free yeast. Basic bread and beer now come from laboratory controlled producers. It’s a fun way of turning things on their heads as part of the setting for my story.

These are just a few of the things that make up the environment of Grinders. The story is fun, the characters are great, but I wanted to focus on the setting for today’s post. I hope I intrigued you enough to check out the book.

Thanks again for lending me your space today, Vashti. It means a lot to me.

It’s a pleasure to have you here, my friend. Your world building skills are amazing. Research is a huge part of fiction writing, especially in Sc-Fi and Fantasy. Many readers are not aware of the extensive research that goes into these books. Thank you for demonstrating that today.

***

Blurb:

Jimi Cabot made one mistake as a starving college student. When she went to work for the San Francisco Police Department, it nearly cost her the job. The union stepped in and they had to reinstate her. They did so by assigning her to the duty nobody wants, Grinder Squad.

Grinders are people who use back room surgeries to enhance their bodies with computer chips, and various kinds of hardware. Jimi is sure that if she can just bust one grind shop, it will be her ticket back.

Paired with veteran cop, she soon learns that Grinder Squad is a cash-cow for the department. They are nothing more than glorified patrol cops, and generally get the worst assignments.

Matchless is the most wanted grinder of all time. He disappeared years ago, leaving only the evidence of those he enhanced during his career. With these pieces, Jimi picks up the cold trail to try working her way back to more respectable duty.

Grinders is a cyberpunk story set in a world where global warming has eroded coastlines, and society has solved many of our current problems by replacing them with new ones. There are cyber shut-ins, cyber-currency skimming schemes, and more in this futuristic tale.

This book also takes the opportunity to poke a stick at current issues that seem to have lasted into the future. Entitled people, helicopter moms, overzealous homeowner associations, and lack of decent jobs are all present. Never preachy, these issues make up the day to day work of a patrol officer.

I hope you enjoy Grinders as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you.

Purchase link: http://mybook.to/Grinders

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

Blog My Novels  Twitter Goodreads Facebook Pinterest BookBub

Poetry Friday

6 Mar

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog. It’s Poet’s Choice on Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge.

I’ve been super busy working on the 5th and final draft of my WIP (The Rise of Gadreel). As my own worst critic it took me a while to get my book as close to perfection as possible before sending it off to my editor. I have an amazing editor who misses nothing (that’s why I secretly dubbed her Eagle Eyes), but I’m a firm believer that a writer should work harder than the editor on his or her own book. Since one of my mantras is to make each book I write better than the previous one, I had my work cut out for me.

Beta readers are also an important part of the writing process. I had several fantastic betas critique my first draft. Although the first draft of anything is crap I’m grateful to have received lots of great feedback from these brilliant people. I’m excited with how the 5th draft is going, and I can’t wait to continue to refine my book with my editor.

Within my pen what words are pent, What mystery, what merriment!

It hath a door, my pen, somewhere, And what a throng is waiting there!

Bright thoughts are standing all about, And quivering to be let out.

O could I find the golden key, Open the door and set them free!

The poem above was written anonymously. I love it, and thought I should share it. I hope you enjoy it.

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

21 Feb

Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge: It’s the third week of the month! Time for a #PhotoPrompt

Photo Credit: Ritu Bathal

The clouds reflected the light of a full moon. For a while longer, I’ll be able to spot them at a distance, but that meant they would be able to see me, too. It’s difficult to know who’s side the moon’s on. As I searched for refuge, I moved quickly dissolving into shadows whenever I heard their creepy grunts and shrieks. The night was hot and humid making me feel sticky and sofocated. I couldn’t help thinking it might be too late for me to make it to safety tonight.

A golden light shone brightly in the distance. My heart rapped against my ribs in anticipation. It could be a safe house. I followed the light, and saw a house lit like a beacon beckoning me to come. A scream cut through the night sky followed by numerous growls. They were close. I gasped and hurried. The house seemed to bend forward like a mother trying to reach for her child to bring him to the security of her arms. If I could make it to the light I’d be safe. I heard a crash to my right, a garbage can rolled in my direction spilling its garbage and stench along the way. More growling sounds came from the gloom to my left. Behind me, I heard the unmistakable sounds of feet pounding the ground. I bolted down the bumpy uneven paving stones. Exhaustion threatened to wear me out as my legs turned to lead. They lurked in the shadows all around me. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

A

light shines

giving me

hope that I may

survive this nightmare

It guides me to safety

A house of refuge from pain

offering protection from death

by zombies in this apocalypse

Photo Credit: Yohann Libot @yohannlibot

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the post. Have a great day!

Poetry Friday & Book Reviews

6 Feb

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 163, Poet’s Choice!

Photograph by Lacie Slezak @nbb_photos

I’d like to share the latest books I’ve read and my reviews for them. Firstly, I will share my poem called Book Reviews.

I adored this book

You hated every word

This book gave me chills

but for you, it was as if

you had taken sleeping pills

***

On any one book

we may not agree, and what’s

good for you may not

be good for me. If we all

agreed how boring we’d be

Book Reviews:

Caste Metal by Fiza Pathan

Caste Metal-Fiza Pathan-short-story-book review-Vashti Quiroz Vega-Vashti Q

My Review:

Caste Metal is a fascinating and powerful short story about the life of an Indian boy and his family during the year 1877.

Cacchar was a gifted boy who had taught himself how to read, but because he was born an “untouchable” outside of the Hindu caste system, he was considered “the scum of the Earth” and was meant only for a life of slavery. He was not allowed to read or even touch books or scrolls. However, Cacchar was addicted to the sacred Hindu texts and was unaware of the severe consequences if he were caught reading.

He collected books and scrolls discarded by priests. He read them every day, sitting under a holy peepul tree, which he had cultivated using his own water supply, since the tree was dying in the heat, leaving him with only animal urine and blood to quench his thirst. He loved the words of the Hindu scriptures and enjoyed reciting the holy prayers.

I was outraged by the treatment of the “untouchables” and by the brutality, depravity, and hypocrisy of the so-called “holy” priests. Who determined how the Hindu people were divided into the different castes? If you’re poor, you’re automatically an untouchable, despite your intelligence and other gifts? And it seemed hypocritical how the girls in the lowest caste had to be married off at age ten in order to prevent priests and others in higher castes from raping them. These children are seen as disgusting subhumans––untouchables––whose footprints pollute the land, but it’s okay to have intercourse with them?

Fear not; in the end, the wrongdoers get their comeuppances.

This short story is fierce and not for the faint of heart, but I believe it needed to be so. Things happened that I wish had not; however, I was satisfied with the ending. The author’s writing style is beautiful and engaging, and I loved the way she pointed out the hypocrisy of the priests and rituals in subtly sarcastic ways. Like what she wrote at the end, “It had been a long ‘holy-day’ and he needed some refreshment.” I highly recommend this short story.

Just Her Poetry by D.L. Finn

My Review:

Author D.L. Finn’s diverse poetry collection Just Her Poetry is full of reflection, creativeness, and soul searching. The book is divided into nature poetry, the seasons, poetry written by her while riding on the back of a Harley, and emotional contemplations.

I enjoyed every poem in this book; although, the poems about nature and the seasons were my favorite. The heartfelt poems in this section reflect her love of nature. It seemed the author drew inspiration from nature to impart hope. As an animal lover, I enjoyed the poems “The Dog Stare” and “The Huntress.”

The poems in the other sections were meaningful and thought provoking. One poem in particular, “Your Words,” struck a chord with me in a positive way.

D.L. Finn’s free-style poetry is genuine, vibrant, and full of imagery. Her words came to life in living color in my head, invoking a plethora of emotions. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys beautiful poetry.

2121: Twilight’s Last Gleaming by Karl Morgan

My Review:

This is a fast-paced sci-fi dystopian novel about the USA in 2121, and a group of people fighting to stay alive, trying to take back a corrupted and decaying America from crooked politicians. The issues they faced were overwhelming: starvation, global warming, terrorists, and a bankrupt Medicare system.

A fourteen-year-old Jack Kennedy and his girlfriend are forced to leave their childhood behind in order to fight for their lives and the future of America. Senior citizens are thrown out of protected areas to die. There are cities governed by cannibals while gangs and terrorists overrun others. The weather is greatly affected by climate changes, causing deadly storms and famine.

Although there was plenty of action from beginning to end, some of the fight scenes dragged a bit. I was a little confused by some of the military jargon, and there were minor editing issues. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.

What I appreciated most was the characters, especially Jack Kennedy. I also enjoyed the underline messages of love, hope, and friendship throughout. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fun, fast-paced read with messages of love and hope and wonderful characters.

If you’d like to purchase any of the books on Amazon, just click on the cover image, and if you’d like to connect with any of the authors on Twitter, click on the author’s name by the book’s title. I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Happy Friday!

Poetry Friday ~ The Circle of Life

31 Jan

Hi, everyone! Welcome.

It’s the fourth week of the month which means Colleen from, Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge will pick a theme for us to write about for this month. On the Monday before the next challenge, she’ll select someone to choose next month’s theme. 

This month’s theme is:

“The Circle of Life”

Today I’m trying a new style of poetry called Gogyōka. It is a new form of a short poem that is based on the ancient Japanese Tanka and Kodai kayo. Gogyōhka has five lines but exceptionally may have four or six. Each line should be the duration of a single breath. 

Photo by Jordan Whitfield @whitfieldjordan

From the earth
we came
and to the earth
we return

Into flowers
we shall bloom
our fragrance
shall float

in the air
and travel the world

Thank you for stopping by! Have a lovely day.

“The Reckoning Squad” Cover Reveal

27 Jan

Hi, everyone! I’m excited to have Suzanne Burke as a guest on my blog today. I’m also ecstatic to be hosting the cover reveal for her new book, The Reckoning Squad. I’m a fan of Suzanne’s work, and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. Enjoy the post!

The Reckoning Squad

By

S. Burke

Available to Pre-Order NOW.
Release Date:  Monday FEBRUARY 24th, 2020.
Mystery>Psychological Thriller & Suspense >

It is such an exciting time for an author when releasing a new book! I would be remiss in not sharing my heartfelt thanks to the marvelous people who gave of their time so readily to beta read my latest book. Their valuable insights helped me enormously when crafting “The Reckoning Squad”

At long last, I’m able to share the cover and blurb for “The Reckoning Squad” my latest Psychological Thriller.

“The Reckoning Squad ” is due for release on Monday, February 24th, 2020.

It is NOW available for Pre-Order.

I have many good friends sharing this cover across the blogosphere today and tomorrow, so you’re likely to see it pop up in various places. Thank you to everyone participating in my cover reveal splash, and to everyone dropping by to share in my excitement.   Here’s my new baby . . .

With much gratitude to Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi for the cover creation.

Cover Created by Eeva Lancaster at The Book Khaleesi

Presenting “The Reckoning Squad” A Psychological thriller.

BLURB:

The Reckoning Squad was the new name being whispered in the darkened corridors of the powerful in Washington. The name was whispered with awe, and the whispers grew louder.

Twenty people had been carefully vetted and recruited to undergo specialized training. Training engineered to break them utterly, intended to shatter everything they once believed themselves capable of surviving. Only the best of them made it through the twelve weeks of hell. They now formed a cohesive black-ops unit, known as The Reckoning Squad.

Their facility is breached, and the team’s numbers are decimated. The survivors know that they’re in a fight for their lives. They have been betrayed from within. Trust has now become a rare commodity. They want answers.

The betrayers don’t understand just what they’ve unleashed.

But they are about to find out.

The Reckoning Squad are coming, and they have just rewritten the rules.

#

Here’s an extract from the Prologue.

Prologue.

New York: November 8th, 2003.

Chastity Adams checked the time, ran a brush through her long blonde curls and hurriedly grabbed her school books. She shoved them into her backpack and slipped on her gloves. One quick look from her bedroom window was enough to tell her just how windy it was outside. The last of the fall leaves still clung bravely to the branches all the while knowing it was futile. The others swirled in small angry spirals across her backyard. She grabbed her coat, pulled on a beanie, and loosely draped a scarf across her shoulders. Chastity was unaware of how pretty she looked with her long curls falling in a soft curtain around her. Her mind was too busy to cloud it with vanity.

She suddenly recalled a decision she’d made yesterday.

Chastity hurried down the hallway to her brother Nathan’s room and knocked on the door.

Nathan stood looking down at her from his 6ft 3ins, rubbing his eyes and leaning on the wall. “What’s up, squirt?”

Chastity ignored the nickname, she’d be thirteen in a couple of days then she’d ask her big brother to quit using it, “I was just wondering if you had some gloves and maybe a beanie or scarf you don’t ever wear.”

“Why would you need them?”

Chastity flushed a deep shade of pink, “There’s this boy at school, he kinda always looks cold. He’s still wearing the same stuff he was wearing back in June. It’s way too cold now for shorts and a tee-shirt. So, I figured maybe his folks just didn’t have enough money to buy him some warmer stuff, you know? I mean he could have one of mine, but he already gets picked on enough and adding bright girl colored stuff would just make it worse.”

“You off on another one of your missions to save the world, squirt?”

“I’m not! But it just doesn’t seem right that some folks have too much and some folks never have enough. That’s all.”

Her brother looked at her closely and nodded. “Okay. I guess I have some stuff I don’t really need.”

His sister flung her arms around him. “You are the best brother ever! You wouldn’t maybe have an old hoodie as well?”

Nathan knew he’d lose an argument with his kid sister. He had never been able to deny her anything. And the little minx knew it.

His eyes followed her as she left the room with her donated bootie. He tried to shrug off the thought that his friends may start looking at his kid sister a little differently, and soon.

Then he grinned and was comforted by the knowledge that the squirt was capable of laying them out flat on the ground, courtesy of the karate lessons she’d undertaken since the age of five. If she didn’t dissuade them they’d have to come through him. That wasn’t about to happen. This whole big brother thing had suddenly altered in a way he hadn’t anticipated happening quite so soon.

***

Travis Wilson shivered as he stepped outside and hurriedly locked the front door behind him. The baggy shorts and tee-shirt he was wearing gave him no armor to fight off the cold November wind. He steeled himself to brace it, picked up his violin case and hurried to catch the school bus.

He climbed on and made his way quickly down to the back corner and grabbed the window seat. He spoke to no one and kept his eyes averted, but he couldn’t shut his ears off from hearing the nasty comments from the other kids that sat nearest to him. “You going away to a beach somewhere, freak? Don’t much like your choice of swimwear.”

The guy had secured himself a good laugh with that one.

Then the other comments started. Kids seemed to grow braver when they formed a pack. Travis knew they weren’t allcruel, not normally, but the need they had to belongtrashed all over their distaste at what they were doing. Driven by the desire to be considered popular inspired them to be as cruel as they could be. Their words lacerated his already damaged soul and Travis felt his face darken with the shame of it. He didn’t respond either by word or action, knowing they’d soon become bored with their bullying of him and move their spiteful tongues on to some other kid they deemed to be weak and an easy target.

He looked out the window and sighed with relief when he spotted Chastity Adams and her best friends readying to climb onboard at the bus stop. Chastity was different from the rest of them. He always felt a little better about his day when she’d seek him out and give him a smile. He looked across at her then, just as she turned. He knew she had caught the wistful look on his face. She simply smiled across at him and turned back to her chattering best friends.

He caught the smile and burned it into his memory. He would remember it when the darkness descended again. It would help keep him warm.

***

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