#WednesdayWIP

Covers … covers … I get teased all the time about the changing of my book covers. Just as I don’t like wearing the same outfit every day, why should I have the same book cover? It’s not like I’m changing the name of the book. When my publisher says we have this great idea, arguing seems like a truly stupid plan. So yes, our beloved covers are going to be changed …

harbor2

in honor of this image’s retirement, I thought it would be fun to do a blog entry bidding it a tearful adieu.

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#ThrowbackThursday

This is from the second diary in our Haven series, Helm Abomination. Verity went from the frying pan … straight into a nuclear reactor. Enjoy!

helm

Eric, Maddox, Crane, and Talon landed and drew their weapons. For these guys all to be this uneasy we had to be on the trail of something bad. I pulled my own sword and braced my stance. Eric flanked me, “We think there’s a Snee Ne-Iq here.”

God. Bless. You.

Why do I even have to ask at this point?

Talon guessed my frustration, “She’s a cannibal. Usually she just sleeps, but we believe she snatched a kid.”

“Otherwise we would leave her alone,” Wren finished.

Then I felt it. I whirled around to the mountain face and braced my body. The others followed suit. “Why are you guys still on the ground?”

“We’re high in the mountains in British Columbia. The air can be way too thin to keep aloft. It’ll be more effective if we don’t even try. Think you can handle fighting next to us for a change?” Wren winked.

“Definitely,” I quipped, “bring it on, bird man.”

Pop goes the weasel, or the Snee Ne-Iq in this case.

Usually, the first time I catch sight of one of these things that I was created to spot for my friends, my brain reels in a desperate attempt to process the pieces of the creature, so I don’t freeze up at the whole horrific picture.

The Snee Ne-Iq just looked like a woman.

A cave woman, but nothing so out of my realm of experience that my brain did the stop and stare. Or freeze and freak.

Her hair was in serious need of conditioner and a comb. She was wearing what looked like animal hides, sewn together by a blind guy, and she had long strips of leather braided over her legs to make some kind of crude boots. I couldn’t tell what color her skin was because it was so covered with dirt.

But she was no different from any other female.

When she reached the summit and saw us, she froze. Turning to the side, the Snee Ne-Iq pulled a short dagger from her belt. This is when I saw it. On her back she had a pannier, one of those things Robin Hood uses to carry his arrows? Well, this woman’s backpack had a kid inside.

A terrified little girl.

My anger flared, blistering me past caring of any outcome or problems. I saw a flash of red, and I charged. Who did this bitch think she was? Eating little girls? There’s a McDonald’s like every five minutes in my country. We are the fattest nation in the world. Canada couldn’t be much different. There was no justifiable reason to snack on tiny people. Kids have it tough enough as it is.

Have you seen how many books they have to carry home every day from school? Most of them use rolling suitcases because they’re so heavy.

I guess I’ve been paying more attention in my training than I realized.

The guys were beside me, and whenever they got close enough they pushed me back behind them. At least they were trying. The Snee Nee-Iq was more powerful than any of us realized, and she could move like lightning when her safety was in jeopardy. Then Talon went down.

These guys were ruthless and unstoppable in the air.

On the ground, they were out of their league.

Which was when the quicksilver movements of the Snee Nee-Iq took out Wren.

Eric and Crane moved to cover their fallen comrades.

Which left Maddox and me. Oh good. You know it’s going to be a crap day when you have to fight side-by-side to save the life of a kid you don’t know with a guy who hates your guts.

And wants to marry your fourteen year old little sister.

This can’t be my life.

#WednesdayWIP

It was no small shock to come to the end of my Haven series … and discover a whole new story. Technically this isn’t a WIP, since it comes out in a week, but here’s a piece from HARBOR ABSOLUTION, hope you like it.

Eric came into the farmhouse with a hesitant step. “Verity,” he swallowed hard, “we need you to come outside.”

Ignoring him seemed like the wisest choice.

“Help us. Please?”

“I am not the ruler of Helm.”

“You are all we have.”

“Sucks to be you, huh?”

“Verity,” crouching beside me I watched from a disinterested space as he laid his hand on my arm. I couldn’t feel him. I couldn’t feel anything. “Verity, there’s a situation outside, girl. A bad one. We need you to lead us.”

“The last time I tried to lead, I got half of you killed.”

“No, girl,” his sigh made my hair move. I still felt … nothing. “The war is Cass’s fault. Not yours. No one blames you.”

“I blame myself.”

“We still need you, honey. Please come outside.”

Last time I went outside the slate tile where I stood dissolved into my bare feet and slowly moved up my legs. Looking down, I was not surprised to see that I was covered with a striped pattern, marking the places where I absorbed stone. The universe will always provide when you know how to ask. My problem was that I had asked not to feel any pain anymore. Not to feel anything at all.

So its solution was to turn me to stone.

I secretly hoped that someone would put me in the garden when there was nothing left of me but a pretty Verity statue, dressed in a miniskirt and baby doll tank.

And a great pair of heels.

Girl priorities. Get used to it.

He pulled my body from the chair where I sat staring into my Grandma’s empty hearth locked in the pain of the past. I had no family any more. Parents were gone. Grandma disappeared. Sister close to death last time I saw her, probably dead by now. Brother had been gone so long I was sure he was toast as well. Isn’t there some famous quote about being a destroyer? Oh yeah. J. Robert Oppenheimer said it at the trinity test in New Mexico. Of course, he stole it from the Bhagavad Gita. I guess I get to do some theft on him. “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

That. Was. Me.

#FridayFeeling

From the final installment of Haven, HARBOR ABSOLUTION

“You lost the God-squad?”

Right. Willow’s bellow got me to refocus on the issue at hand. My sister and her friend’s pending mutiny. Tell me something. Do other teenagers have problems like these?

“They weren’t helping as much as watching.”

“Even watching is better than nothing,” Willow said.cropped-haven-opt1.jpg

Stepping in between the budding feud between Kai and the resident witch, oh, our only witch, seemed wise at that point. Crap. We need Willow. “It was the best thing to do under the circumstances. You have to understand, if they’re not willing to help all of us what good are they?”

#ThrowbackThursday

“Why did Haydn tell me I had a choice between you and the Shade?”

Just as the last words cleared my lips, Cass’s shadow seemed to grow to a hundred times its normal size. A low rumbling laugh, the kind I heard that first day in the forest came taunting at me on the afternoon breeze. I guess taking a Shade vacation was not in my cards.

“Never mind.”

“You were made”—she looked away from me—“not born into this conflict. The only reason you’re at Haven is because I found you first.”

Deciding a change in topic would be wise, I shook my head as the shadow retracted back to normal size. Maybe it was my imagination? I did almost get eaten. That had to play hell with a girl’s senses. To think the twins wanted to come visit me. Over my dead body.

Hmm. Maybe I’d better stop mentioning my dead body. This is getting a little too possible in the scheme of things.

#TBThursday

“Haydn”—my hand cupped his cheek—“it will be fine.”

“No matter what, doll face, I do not leave your side.”

“Don’t worry so much.” I tried to laugh off the momentousness of the up-and-coming confrontation.

“I. Do Not. Leave. You.”

Realizing that he wasn’t going to bend in this situation, I sighed. “Okay, Haydn. We’re a team no matter what. I got it.”

“Good.”

“I’ve never been a team before,” I whispered.

“This one is for keeps, Verity. Don’t ever forget it.”

How could you not love hearing that sentence come out of a cute boy’s lips? And he was more sexy man than angelic kid. I didn’t know if I wanted to kiss him or put him in a box and stick him in my pocket. Wow, did I ever wish that was the only test I was going to have to cope with over the next few hours. I wished even harder that I had some idea, any iota of a clue, as to what I was going to say to the Haven kids.

Or where I belonged.

Do they make compasses for life paths? Could I order a boatload of them for express delivery please?

Like right now?

Anyone? FedEx? Amazon.com? God? Oprah?

I’m begging, just in case I hadn’t been clear the million times I’d mentioned it before.

#WednesdayWIP

She remembered. The bright light. The scream of the brakes. The sickening feeling of impact, and then the world turning around and around, until it stopped. She smelled the gas, opened her eyes to see her parents deadly still and contorted as if they were broken dolls … and then she saw the flames building, blocking the windows … cutting off all hope of escape. And finally the eye-burning flash of the car exploding. Topsy remembered every moment of the crash that killed her parents.

And ended her fifteen years on earth.

When she opened her eyes after the car exploded, it was to see this beautiful black girl staring at her with an irritated look on her face. Now she knew she was the one they called Cassandra, and Cassandra stated Topsy was too nice to be a part of her crew. So she was brought here, and thrust at the one called Nyx, who was supposed to be burdened by her presence.

She closed her eyes on earth and opened them in hell.

#ThrowbackThursday

He knelt next to me and lifted me up. As he held me close to his chest his stare riveted Cass to the spot as effectively as a nail gun. “How could you? She’s new to all this. You might remember mercy is as valued as triumph. Or did you forget today, when a newbie managed to identify a demon?”

“I did it,” Cassandra stated stiffly, “for you.”

“Don’t do me any favors. I have enough stains on my conscience.” Off he strode with me in his arms. I felt like my entire body had been rolled up, wrung out, and then tossed in a dryer.

Kaydn kept moving until we were inside my cabin. He set me on the bed and made a great show out of tucking me under the blanket. Gazing over me with appraising eyes, Kaydn went to the kitchenette and brought me over a bottle of water with a straw. He held it to my lips, waiting until I had taken several sips. “Give it a day or two and you’ll be fine. Haydn would never have let you go if he had thought there was still any real danger.”

I grabbed his arm before he turned away. “Kaydn, I’m sorry. I just don’t know what I did.”

“I know, Verity. I know you don’t know why I’m upset. I think that’s what hurts the most.” His tone of voice was so harsh and ugly I braced myself, afraid of him. I didn’t understand. The look he gave me cut to my soul, and I shrank away because of it.

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