Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Council:

After the return of magic, the one group that every preternatural fears is known simply as “The Council.”  A mysterious lot, they’re believed to be the most powerful of each of the preternatural races, but since there has never been an open council position that anyone knows about, the truth of this is unclear.  What is known is that they concern themselves with the policing of the preternatural races.  Most people never see them, and most people prefer it that way.  Riley and her crew seem to be summoned to see them more often than they’re comfortable with.  

The public line put out is simply that since no man made court of law could control, or hold, a supernatural being, the Council is there to make sure things don’t get out of hand.  In addition, preternatural species all have their own rules for ascension to power that mundanes would never understand.  In the case of disputes between groups, the council is billed as a court of mediation, but regardless what the publicity says, rumors abound about who they are and why they’re here.  Some live as a part of the world with a corporate identity, or as an artist, or any number of other types of lives that mortals live, but some want nothing to do with the world, and live lives that inspire much conjecture because of the limited information available. 

Some believe their plan is to take over our world, and that if the mundane government had its way, the Council wouldn’t exist, but the mundanes know they can’t build jails strong enough to hold supernatural beings without help.  Others believe the Council has no desire to control our world; their only goal is to make sure the preternatural beings don’t destroy it or the people who live here.  

Among the other beliefs are that they can influence events if need be to ensure things go the right way, their way, but no one knows if this is true, or just one of the many rumors floating around.  The only thing that is known for sure is that they are delegates from the Rulers of Atlantis, sent to keep an eye on things.  Exactly what that means is as big a mystery as everything else about them. 


I’d lived in the Metroplex, the region around Dallas, my entire life before testifying against Joey, but I had no idea where we were. The building loomed above us. Its dark glass surface reflected the fading daylight oddly, adding unusual blues and greens to the reds and golds of the sunset.

Inside, I saw numerous carbon copies of the men accompanying us. Some sat behind desks on either side of the revolving door while others were strategically positioned around a chrome and glass lobby with its inlaid marble floors. No one spoke. None of the men inside greeted the four returning or acknowledged in any way that we’d entered. They just watched. At a chrome and glass reception desk in the center of the large lobby, the only female in sight watched, but said nothing. They all projected that same creepy stillness.

We took the elevator to the top floor. Stepping out on to plush pile carpet, we entered another reception area that guarded a single large door. Here, the desk, the door, and the furniture had the look of heavy, solid wood. This receptionist looked up at us but didn’t speak either. One of our guards waved his hand, and the door swung open.

Beyond the door was air. Oh good. I really don’t like heights, and this was dizzying. About twenty feet back, floating in the air, a man sat behind a desk. We walked forward. My brain screamed at me that I was about to step out into nothingness, but I kept walking. My heart was pounding as I stepped through the door—and onto a solid floor. With each step, my internal screaming returned, sure that the floor would end at any moment, but I kept walking. My eyes told me I was walking on air, but I could feel the floor, solid beneath my feet.

 The man behind the desk scared me more than seeming to walk on air. Strikingly handsome, he stood around six feet tall, and he had dark hair. He almost pulsed with power. He appeared human, but dragon fear washed over me, so strong I couldn’t tell where my fear stopped and Jason’s began. I could only assume the man had the same effect on Cam. 

Three chairs appeared before the desk. They hadn’t been there when we entered. We sat. He smiled at us like we were children on the first day of class.

“So nice of you to come. I trust you will not try anything foolish.”

Other than my inability to move my limbs, I hadn’t been able to feel the control they had on us, but I knew when it was released. Our movements were now our own, but he was right, none of us was going to try anything foolish.

“Who are you? What do you want?” Cam spoke first.

“Ah, the wolf.” He looked surprised. “Who knew you’d be so outspoken. Good. Good.” He smiled again. “In answer to your first question, my name is Derek Chastain. I represent the Council of Light.”

My breath caught in my throat, but I pushed past it. “What do you want with us?”

“We simply wanted to meet you, and assure you that we had nothing to do with the theft of this spade you seek.”

“You couldn’t have told us that over the phone?” Jason’s resentment was plain in his voice.

“Would you have believed us?”

“Point taken,” I said, “but isn’t this a bit drastic for someone just wanting to proclaim their innocence?”

“If that were all it is, you would be correct. However, we have another point that we wish to discuss with you as well.”

Digging Up the Past Available at:


Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Spade of Apocatequil

The Spade of Apocatequil

When I first met Riley Perez, the main character in Digging Up the Past, she introduced herself to me as Peruvian, which peaked my interest in Peruvian myths and legends, and I became fascinated with the tale of Apocatequil.  Apocatequil is the God of Lightning and the High Priest of the Moon to the Huamachuco Indians in Peru. He is often associated with evil because of this connection to night.  His twin brother Piguerao is the God of the Day, so the association with night comes naturally.

According to Huamachuco Indian legend, Apocatequil and his brother were born among the underground people known as the Guachimines.  Their father was the first man sent above to Earth by the creator god Atagudu.  The Guachimines killed both the brother’s parents, before they were born, but when Apocatequil touched his mother’s body, she came back to life.  Atagudu helped Apocatequil kill the Guachimines, and told him to use a golden spade to dig his way to the above ground.  This hole enabled the Huamachuco to escape and populate the land.  After that, it was believe that wherever he struck his spade into the ground, people rose up.

Like most authors, I tend to play the “what if” game quite often, and from there it was an easy leap to the spade offering immortality to the holder and the ability to raise the dead.  In a world where magic has returned within the last 200 years, magical artifacts are suddenly active again, and they are often quite dangerous, particularly in the wrong hands. That seemed a fitting place for the Tales from Atlantis to start.

Riley Perez and her partner Jason have to retrieve the spade before anyone uses it, and preferably before the Peruvian Government finds out that it’s missing.  The problem is, most of their suspects were on the dig in Peru, and are on the dig now. No one is missing or has changed their lifestyle in the least that anyone can tell. Anyone with that kind of power would hardly be able to resist using it. As a result, Riley and Jason are undercover.  Riley is posing as a dog walker and grad student, and Jason as a grad student. 


Mena should be here, but there was no trace of her emotions in the house. The only thing left of her was a void in the house where life should be. There’s a unique emotional sensation that comes with sudden death. Rather than there just not being any emotion to feel, it’s like there’s a hole in the emotional fabric of the house.

A shot exploded through the house. Keesha screamed again. Clutching her tighter, I ran out the front door. My heart ached at not being able to go back in to see for myself what had happened to Mena, and to check on Angel, but my only option at that point was to call the cops. With the lack of actual activity the past five months, we’d all been lulled into a false sense of security and hadn’t really expected any problems. That was our first mistake.

My ragged Ford Escort, the color of which can best be described as rust and green, was parked in front of the house. When we reached the car, I opened the passenger door and tried to put Keesha in. She wrapped her arms around me tighter and screamed louder. Finally, I sat down in the seat and swung myself in with Keesha still attached. Holding her close to me, we leaned over and I reached under the driver’s seat to replace my gun. Once she stopped screaming again, I pulled out my cell phone, dialed 911 and then called Keesha’s parents.

“Braden.” Keesha’s father answered on the second ring.

“Dr. Braden, something’s happened at the house!” I almost sobbed into the phone. “I’ve got Keesha with me, and I’ve called the police, but I can’t find Mena. Angel was after something upstairs, and I think I heard a gunshot!”

“Where are you now?”

“In my car! With the doors locked!” I focused on sounding just a bit unsteady and very scared. I really was a bit unsteady because my senses told me Mena was dead, but I was more pissed than scared. 

Digging Up the Past is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Meet Riley Perez

Well, exciting news!!! The rerelease of Digging Up the Past is out!!!  It has a wonderful new cover, and a great publishing team, and I hope you all enjoy it.

Digging Up the Past is the first of a series called the Tales of Atlantis.  The premise for the series is that scavengers removed the stones from the Bimini Road, and Atlantis rose.  Preternaturals in Riley’s world call this the restoration, but the politically correct term among norms is the simply the return.

The main character, Riley Perez, is a Peruvian shape shifter, who just can’t seem to shift shapes.  Her parents feel that it’s because her mother wasn’t a shape shifter until she married Riley’s dad, but he was always a shape shifter. Prior to becoming a shape shifter, Riley’s mother was, however, a witch.  Riley has inherited this portion of her mother’s background rather than being able to shift like her parents and her brothers.  Unfortunately, in the shape shifter community she grew up in, this makes her an outsider.  

She knows her parents love her, family friends are polite, and she was even engaged once to the boy next door, but there are those that don’t bother to hide their disdain, dismissing her empathy and spell casting skills as less than.  This just made her push herself harder.  Her mother and grandmother taught her well, and she does have much of the shape shifter strength, eyesight, and sense of smell.  

Since her fiancĂ© was sent to jail for her brother’s murder, she’s honed her skills even further.  The fact that she’s a petite five feet, four inches hasn’t stopped her from training her body as well as her mind.  In college, she got her masters in photography in hopes of chronicling the development of the paranormal races since the restoration.  After Danal was killed, that changed.  She was so angry; she was using her talents to being down those she saw as the bad guys. That’s when she met Giles Walker.

Giles of the best agents the Department of Unusual Events (DUE) ever had.  He brought her into DUE and helped her learn to control the anger, and become an effective agent.  She and her half-demon partner, Jason, now worked to police the preternatural community, no easy task, since no human jail can hold them.


Immortality? Now that’s tempting. Throw in an army of the dead, and hey, any evil overlord would kill for that package.

When the Homeland Security Service’s Department of Unusual Events, or DUE, assigned my partner, Jason, and me to this case, the file said the spade we were looking for was valued at eighteen million dollars and belonged to the Peruvian government. Stolen during shipment from Peru to the local university, the spade, along with a number of the other artifacts uncovered on a dig site in Peru, was scheduled for study here. According to our file, the HSS believed it had been stolen for financial gain or, perhaps, to cause an international incident. Not our usual type of case, but not unheard of either.

What the file didn’t mention was that this wasn’t just any gold spade. This was the Spade of Apocatequil. Peruvian legend has it that anywhere Apocatequil stuck this spade in the ground, people sprang up. Now, the spade is believed to grant the holder immortality and the power to raise the dead. Minor omission.

My cover on this assignment was that of a college student. I also worked as a dog walker for the Bradens, who were our primary suspects, so every afternoon, Angel, the Bradens’ German shepherd, and I made the two-block walk to the dog park near the Bradens’ house.

When I pulled in at the house, I could tell no one was home. The Bradens would be at the local dig site until at least dark, getting set for the summer dig, and it wasn’t unusual for Keesha, the Bradens’ daughter, and Mena, the operative from Cerberus Security who’s been acting as her nanny, to be out in the early afternoon. I clipped the leash on Angel and we headed for the park.

Oh, as for why they should be our primary suspects, that’s the easy part. John Braden was the American archaeologist on the Peruvian dig. His wife, Sonya, was the lead anthropologist on that same dig, and that put them at the top of the list of suspects. That placement was further supported by the fact that someone else believed they had the spade. Our file also indicated that things had been stolen from other dig sites when they were in charge. The hard part was that there was no evidence, solid or otherwise, that they took the spade, or that they were involved in any of the other thefts.