Saturday Snippet: Taking Out The Trash

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Just in time for Christmas, snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading…and yes, it is snowing on my page.

This little snippet comes from BARRON’S LAST STAND. Bo and Blade are back in action and taking on a hit team.


BLS Mockup4cBo snatched the com-set from around his ear and spun, kicking Kres hard in the chest. He stumbled backwards, his arms windmilling wildly as he struggled to regain his balance. Unfortunately for him, he ran out of roof first. The back of his legs hit the low wall, giving gravity the win in this contest. With a screech, he flipped backwards over the railing and plunged headlong towards the sidewalk below.

Resisting the urge to race to the edge and make sure he was dead, Bo contented herself with the sickening thunk of flesh against pavement as confirmation that the trash was effectively taken out.

Wasting no time, she dove for the rifle on its tripod and settled into position. Closing one eye, she peered through the scope. Her stomach twisted. Crosshairs settled over a slim little boy with dark hair and a happy grin. Bo tapped her com implant.

“Barron to Devon.”

“Yeah, Bo?”

“The roof is secure.”



10833692_10152898735596489_1030819852_nThat’s the last snippet for me this year. Merry Christmas to you, and wishing you a Happy New Year, too. Thank you for making 2014 a great year. Look for my new short story collection of Bo’s adventures BARRON: A NEW HERO RISES coming soon.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

No Such Thing As A Free Ride
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part II
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part III
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part IV
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part V
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VI
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VII
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VIII
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part IX
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part X

Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Portrait of a Crime Lord — Part Four
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

The Blurb Is Here For Barron’s Last Stand!

BLS Mockup4cCONVICTED of terrorism and treason

HUNTED by the very Sovran she is sworn to serve

BETRAYED by the man she trusted to rule in her absence

FORSAKEN by the man she loved

FRAMED for an assassination attempt on the only man with the power to restore her to her rightful place, time is running out for BO BARRON. A power mad Sovran’s bid to take over the United Galactic Commonwealth pushes the seven allied sectors to the brink of civil war. Only the brave young Barron and the enigmatic Blade Devon stand in their way.

Can Bo look past all the lies and secrets that poisoned her love for Blade and trust him to be the hero he was meant to be? Or is his timely return nothing more than another attempt to secure the balance of power in this interstellar game of politics?

One way or another, Bo is coming out of exile and taking back her rightful place as Commanding General of The Black Wing — even if it means she’s making BARRON’S LAST STAND.


The Results Are In!! Barron’s Last Stand Has A Cover!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the cover poll to determine which of the two images was to be the cover of BARRON’S LAST STAND. An overwhelming 88% of you preferred this cover…
BLS Mockup4c


BLS MockupB2Not to worry…fans of the cover with Bo’s solo image on it will be pleased to learn that cover will appear on a collection of short stories covering Bo’s adventures during the five years of her life following HERO’S END and leading up to BARRON’S LAST STAND.

The book will include the much anticipated “The Ostra Child,” as well as “Shakedown,” and “The Marked One.”

The short story collection is scheduled for a December 2014 release, while BARRON’S LAST STAND is due out sometime in early 2015.


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Saturday Snippet: Bo and the Pirates

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Hi! I’m back! It’s nice to be back for Saturday Snippets after all the busy writing on BARRON’S LAST STAND. I’m also working on a few short stories of Bo’s solo adventures that take place between HERO’S END and BARRON’S LAST STAND. Today I give you a first look at a brand new adventure. It’s so new, I don’t have a title for it. But here, for your enjoyment are the first fifteen sentences from this new story. Please keep in mind, it is still a work in progress and hasn’t been edited yet.



BLS MockupB2“It’s an easy enough proposition, Barron. Just pick up cargo and my representatives and deliver them on schedule. What could be so objectionable about that?”

Bo Barron slowly swirled the amber liquid in her glass as she studied the crime boss across from her.

Objections? She had several.

From the moment he’d settled his rotund form into the chair across from her, she hadn’t liked anything about him. The nasal tenor of his voice held more whine than power.  His gaze slithered over her and he licked his pudgy lips. His brown eyes glittered with lust and he tried a smile that she supposed was intended to be harmless, but came out as a full-blown leer. Though he couldn’t be much older than her own twenty-four standard years, the unruly crop of curly hair on his head had already mounted a retreat. Perspiration glistened through open patches on his scalp. Excited color lit his cheeks and his nostrils flared.

Swallowing her revulsion, Bo’s lips curled in an inviting smile.

“Keep talking, I’ll let you know when I hear something I don’t like.”


If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or you can follow the links to the right over there.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

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What Is Your Type?

I love Buzzfeed. They come up with some of the most inane, time-sucking polls and quizzes in existence. I’ve taken many of them. I know where I should live, which 80’s song best describes me, what my romantic style is like, which 80’s action movie hero I am (Indiana Jones), and I even know which Star Wars character I am, (Han Solo.) I know what kind of warrior I am, (Pirate – big surprise there,) and what my personal style is. The one quiz I never needed to take was the one to tell me what kind of man is my “type.”

It started out as a joke with my friend and editor Laurel Kriegler because the question pops up with amazing regularity, “Who is Blade Devon?” I have  addressed the issue here in my blog and in interviews. I’ve fielded questions and taken suggestions on social media. Nobody seems to buy that Blade was originally inspired by Errol Flynn. He must be based on someone else, someone walking around today.


But I had to look closely at the question. Who is he? Well, I have to say that physically, Blade is my “type.”

I read an article about Francois Brunelle, a photographer who located what he calls “couples” or people who look alike; doppelgangers, if you will. They are strangers with uncanny resemblance to each other and Brunelle photographs them together. Curious about the coincidence, I read a little further on the subject and found a reference to there only being roughly 500 facial “templates” or types. (My apologies, but at the time, I didn’t realize how important that little tidbit would be so I didn’t bother bookmarking the article.) The idea that there are only 500 or so facial types triggered a memory of the “Golden Ratio.”

Malemask_printable - CopyThe Golden Ratio, or Phi, is a mathematical formula for calculating the symmetry of the human face that we link to beauty. Dr. Stephen Marquardt has made quite the study of it and is considered to be the expert on Phi. The idea is that the features of most attractive faces have a higher percentage of alignment with Marquardt’s beauty mask. This made sense to me because when I studied art and drawing many years ago, I studied proportion and the Golden Ratio.

Now where am I going with this?

Well, if there are only 500 or so different facial types, and a certain percentage of those are symmetrical enough to fall into line with the Golden Ratio, then perhaps there is a formula for finding the face of Blade among the faces I consider my “type.” I took several photos of  attractive men and I studied them for similarities to Blade. I divided them into two categories of men generally considered attractive and men who strongly appeal to me personally. I limited my search to men with the basic bone structure I attributed to Blade:  high cheekbones, long, lean jawline, barest hint of a cleft in his chin, devilish smile… Okay the lopsided, devilish smile isn’t exactly bone structure, but it helps to narrow the choices, especially when it comes to choosing between twins, and I also limited my pictures to those taken of men when they were between the ages of 25 and 35, or thereabouts.

I found an interesting collection of men who do fall into that category. Here are a few whose handsome faces have made an impression on me, one way or another –


100blade - CopyAnd it was while going through these pictures, looking for some clue about Blade that I found something I wasn’t expecting, and I found it in the person of a young Sean Bean. Yep. That’s a tattoo and it says “100% Blade.” Interestingly enough, he got that tattoo when his favorite football team won a championship. It has nothing to do with me and is a happy coincidence. You believe me, right? The grin on his face tells a different story, but ignore it…if you can.

Many years ago my husband, who is a history teacher, got hooked on a television show starring a young Sean Bean called “Sharpe’s Rifles.”  I must admit, I also enjoyed the show…and once commented that if my characters ever needed to be cast in a movie, “that guy” would make a great Blade.

I suppose it was with that in the back of my head that I went searching through stock photos, looking for a model who could stand in for Blade. I had my criteria. I knew my “type.” I was looking for a “Sean Bean  type.” I was looking for “that guy.”


Quite by accident, I stumbled across a very talented photographer named Andrey Kiselev who had recreated an image reminiscent of the iconic Game of Thrones poster (the one featuring a pensive and weary Sean Bean.) I dismissed the picture because armored guy with a sword wasn’t exactly the look I was going for. But something about the picture drew me back for another look.


© Photographer: Andrey Kiselev | Agency:

The model definitely had a Sean Bean look to him, rugged, handsome, a little dangerous with a glint in his eye. I just knew he’d have a lopsided grin. So I took a closer look at the photographer’s work and, sure enough, in other photos of him, he had that crooked smile I can’t resist.

 Brutal style
© Photographer: Andrey Kiselev | Agency:

But I didn’t want a smiling Blade on the cover of my book. I wanted a man with a concerned look, a man who looked ready for action. I was looking for a man who was like a tightly wound spring, all potential energy just waiting for his moment to act. That’s when I found “that guy.”



I have no idea what his name is. I’ve seen him on only one other cover, in the guise of the ancient warrior with a sword and a battle weary look. But he has the bone structure, the lopsided smile, and as I’ve seen in other pictures, a wealth of charm and charisma, and a certain warmth. For my purposes, this guy is the public face of Blade…and definitely my type.

Yes, I have a type. Like I said, I limited my search to pictures of men between the ages of 25 and 35 (though the model I chose appears to be a bit older,) I stumbled across an old picture of Sean Bean that I wasn’t expecting.

tumblr_n9ojikabNL1reij4fo1_500 - Copy

Sean Bean and his daughter

When I saw it, it drove home to me just how ingrained “my type” is. I had to do a double take because at first, I mistook him for someone else. Someone who is most definitely more my type than anyone else.


My husband Dale and our daughter

I showed these pictures to my husband and after being taken aback, Dale threw back his head and busted out laughing.

Yes, he agrees. I have a type.

That Voice

WhoopiDaltonDuring a television interview while she was involved with Timothy Dalton, Whoopi Goldberg said something that resonated with me about her attraction to him. She leaned forward and canted her head as she is wont to do and lifted her finger to her ear explaining that Dalton had the kind of voice that a woman wants to wake up to, “right here.”

Oh yeah, I nodded with complete understanding. Dalton definitely has THAT VOICE.

There is something about THAT VOICE. It isn’t a particular accent that curls my toes. It’s a tone, a deep-chested timbre to the low, male voice that is foreplay for my ears. I know I’m not the only one who feels that way about certain tones of voice. My husband has a thing for throaty female torch singers. He’ll say of his favorites that they “make my eardrums hard.” He says my voice is never sexier than when I’m so sick that my voice sounds like I have a three pack a day habit.

Oh, I’ve heard scientific reports on human attraction and sexuality talking about tone of voice and why it appeals. Yeah, yeah. The bottom line for me is that certain men just have a voice with depth and resonance that for lack of a better term “makes my eardrums hard.”

Matt LeBlanc turned it into high camp on the TV show Friends when his character Joey would affect a smoldering look, a rakish smile and intone, “How you doin’?” My husband is possessed of THAT VOICE which he rolls out for his own amusement and quotes the Joey line. Having THAT VOICE is like having a super power. One must never use it indiscriminately. With great power comes great responsibility.

sean-bean-biography-228x300I can think of a handful of actors and singers with THAT VOICE. Dalton, of course is one, as are Sam Elliott, Sean Bean, and Russell Crowe. In my mother’s day, it was Sir Richard Burton, Lee Marvin, and Telly Savalas. I will admit that I adore hearing their voices. As far as singers go, I’m partial to crooners. Dean Martin still makes me swoon. Simon LeBon’s performance of New Moon on Monday has been quite accurately referred to as “panty dropping.”  Jim Morrison had it, too. For a real treat, I love to listen to Duran Duran cover of The Doors’ Crystal Ship. I can’t decide who did it better, Morrison or LeBon. They both make my eardrums hard.

Whose voice does it for you? I’d love to know.


The Women Who Inspire Me

Wow! Has it been over a month already since I last posted? How time does fly.

Even writers need time off and this girl is no exception. I am a bit of a workaholic, but only when it comes to writing. When I am in the throes of a book, it consumes my every thought every minute of the day. Not a problem if you’re single and childless, but when you have a husband and three rambunctious children at  home, it can create issues. After the flurry of wrapping up the end of the school year activities of recitals, awards ceremonies, parties and the like, I took a much needed break.

I kicked things off with a girl’s getaway weekend on Anna Maria Island, Florida with my BFFs, an amazing group of women who have encouraged, and inspired me for nearly a quarter of a century.

IMG_0662Our linchpin, Robin, is the very lady who got me my first paying job as a writer for the Tampa Tribune back in 1990. At the time, she was a photographer/multimedia specialist for the paper. She twisted an editor’s arm to give me a shot, then gave me a kick in the pants to produce. The rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, Robin’s career path has rambled through Real Estate, retail sales, and a few other ventures while she and her husband put themselves through school. She has a Master’s in Education and is a science teacher. She is the bright sun around which our system of sisterhood revolves. The credit for this enduring cadre lies solely at her feet. She brought us together. She organizes the getaways. She is the brains of the outfit. The fact that she has stood by my side through my best and worst days and loves me still is a testament to her big heart and forgiving nature. She was kind enough to wait until I had my eldest son before she and her husband decided to start a family. From the start our boys were inseparable. She is the only other parent I know who relies on canine obedience training as a basis for raising children. An avid reader herself, she has threatened me with dire consequences if I do not produce BARRON’S LAST STAND in a timely fashion.

Robin’s sister Kim is an ICU/Critical Care nurse by day and our cruise director by night…or whenever. Kim has a sense of glam and whimsy that takes a simple weekend and makes it into an event. There is no such thing as a simple meal with Kim around. Both sisters are foodies and when you send them for groceries you end up with gourmet fare that makes you wish you’d brought trousers with elastic waistbands. They both inherited their artist mother’s sense of aesthetics. Kim has a romantic eye for beauty. A sensualist by nature, Kim’s goal in life is to wring every drop of pleasure from the experience as possible. Kim reminds us to be in the moment. For someone like me, always looking at the overall plot and how it all works together, Kim brings my brain to a screeching halt and reminds me to stop thinking and breathe — enjoy the salt air, the warm sun, the cool water, and the decadent smorgasbord of the senses all around me.

Michelle is the steady hand at the helm. Robin and Michelle have been besties from childhood. Michelle served briefly in the US Army as a mechanic, but her dream was to fly. So, Michelle took lessons, got her license, and has flown the news chopper for local television and currently flies crews out to offshore oil rigs. Michelle is the voice of reason in our group. She is the soft-spoken conscience who asks the right questions, listens from the heart when we need to vent, and cuts through the crap when we try to delude ourselves. Her opinion is valued because it is seldom volunteered. Her wit and wisdom keep us laughing. Though we know we’ll never keep up with her, it doesn’t stop us from getting off the couch and following her out the door to our next adventure as she heads out with a gleam in her eyes.

We have raised our children together, helped one another move, scraped each other up off the floor when life kicked us so hard we didn’t think we would ever get up again, cleaned each other’s homes, celebrated triumphs and grieved losses together. We have forged memories and laughed until our sides ached. We have been friends so long that we are more family than anything else. No matter how far we move from one another, we always manage to come back home, back to our cadre of sisters. These are the women who knew me when I was young, thin, and full of big dreams. These are the women who have held my hand through every mistake, and put up with every embarrassing gaffe and misspoken word I’ve ever cringed to recall.  We have all fought health issues, financial setbacks, marital problems, and dramas enough to keep Women’s Entertainment in screenplays for the next decade. We are one another’s biggest fans. We get together as often as time, family, and careers will allow.

They are as much a part of me as the characters I create. You will find a bit of each of them in every character I write, as well as shades of our friendship in the relationships between the characters in my books. They are my sounding board, and my compass. These are the women I look to for guidance when I lose my way. They are the sisters of my heart and without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I just thought you should meet the women who inspire me.


Saturday Snippet: No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part X

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten to fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Yes, this is still from BARRON’S LAST STAND. The setting is the engine room of Bo’s ship Sundance. Following a prison break which Bo orchestrated, Blade stowed away aboard her ship (unbeknownst to her until after the ship had entered hyperspace.) They haven’t seen one another in five years due to a messy breakup in which Bo threatened to shoot him next time their paths crossed. Of course, Blade is on his knees and she has her blaster leveled on him…and they’re bickering. Bo is about to get a little more than she bargained for as we are winding down the Free Ride snippets.


Barron's Last Stand ART5

“That’s not the way I remember it. We always worked well together.”

“We did – until the day you screwed me over.”

“You mean in the literal or figurative sense?” His gaze raked her.

To her annoyance, her face heated as the color rose in her cheeks.

“There it is,” he said softly, the timbre of his voice dropped lower. “I never get tired of making you blush.”

If it had been any other man on his knees smiling up at her like that, she’d never have doubted the sincerity of his affection. Blade, however, was a master of manipulation and he knew exactly how to use every milligram of his considerable charm to get what he wanted.

“I just want a ride off-planet. I can make it worth your while.”

He wasn’t talking credits. She’d almost forgotten how this man wielded his sex appeal like a weapon.


I hope you enjoyed the snippet for this week. I will be off next weekend as I take a much-needed beach break with my besties, partying like a bunch of Joy Babes on vacay! I will be thinking of you all as I sip rum drinks on a white sand beach pondering Blade’s next move.

In the mean time, if you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or you can follow the links to the right over there.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

No Such Thing As A Free Ride
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part II
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part III
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part IV
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part V
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VI
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VII
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part VIII
No Such Thing As A Free Ride – Part IX

Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Two
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part Three
Portrait of a Crime Lord — Part Four
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Meet My Main Character Blog Hop

I was tagged by T.A. Munroe at meanderings to talk about my main character. In the past I’ve spoken about Blade…a lot! But since I’m at work on BARRON’S LAST STAND, it goes to reason that Bo really hasn’t gotten a fair shake in all this talking.

1. What is the name of your main character? Is she fictional or an historical person?
My main character is Bo Barron. She is completely fictional in as much as I can tell without having contact with the rest of the universe.

2. When and where is the story set?
The setting is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, more or less. I write primarily space opera, so THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series is set in a distant galaxy known as the United Galactic Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a more or less representative body divided into the Seven Allied Sectors, each ruled by a hereditary Sovran, with the Outland Fringe remaining autonomous. Each sector has a body known as the General Council with systems sending a representative known as Councillors. The Councillors are selected depending on the governmental structures of the planets or systems themselves. The seven Sovrans come together in a Sovran Council to regulate free trade and territorial disputes across the Commonwealth. The result is something with a blend of sleek, highly advanced cultures in the Inner Commonwealth of the first three sectors, cultures with more a mix of technology and agriculture in the Outer Commonwealth, and pockets of wild-west style lawlessness outside of the main shipping lanes where piracy, slavery, and all sorts of nasty things thrive.

3. What should we know about her?
Bo is a Councillor. She is a noble. She is The Barron, the leader of her people and Commanding General of the precision combat unit known as The Black Wing. She has been wrongly convicted of treason and sentenced to execution, but her people arranged for her escape into exile in the first book of the series SOVRAN’S PAWN. Of course, in the first book, Bo has just come of legal age. By the time BARRON’S LAST STAND rolls around, seven years have elapsed. Bo is no longer an idealist or an ingenue. She has lost everything and everyone who meant anything to her. This has left her bitter, angry, jaded, and dangerous.

4. What is the main conflict?
The main conflict in the series is Bo’s quest to find her father and clear her name so she can return home with honor. Unfortunately for her, her Sovran wants to take over the Commonwealth and he wants to use The Black Wing to do it. The way her people’s alliance with the Second Sector is worded, The Barron is in direct command of The Black Wing and must be petitioned for their deployment. The other obstacle in her Sovran’s path is Blade Devon, an elite commando and covert operative of the First Sector who answers only to the First Sector Sovran…and he is perhaps something else as well.

5. What is the personal goal of the character?
Bo’s goal is simple. She just wants to go home with honor and reclaim her rightful place as leader of her people. She has no interest in the interstellar politics. She just wants to be left alone to do the job she was born to. But when it all comes crashing down around her, she is forced onto the political stage as a renegade, and driven into exile in the seedy underworld. At that point, Bo’s goal is to find her kidnapped father and to survive. All the while, she is falling in love with the mysterious Blade Devon, who is “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” and she can’t tell from one minute to the next whose interests he is really serving.

6. What is the significance of the title of your book?
SOVRAN’S PAWN is basically what Bo and Blade are. They are pawns in the game between two Sovrans maneuvering for control over the Commonwealth. HERO’S END is significant for more than one reason which becomes apparent when you read it, but basically, it is the end of Blade’s career as a two-dimensional holofeature hero, and the end of Bo’s blind trust in him as her hero. BARRON’S LAST STAND is for the turning point in the book and the culmination of the series when Bo stops running and hiding and makes her defiant last stand against the forces that have ruined her life and taken or threatened everything she loves. This is foreshadowed in Chapter 21 of SOVRAN’S PAWN by the mention of the epic poem “Requiem For The Broken Wing.”

When dark clouds gather,
when the wind howls
through the Bluestone Valley
and whispers through the trees
atop the Gallis Highlands,
when the light of hope
is fading,
on the rising thunder will come
the Black Wing,
screaming through the darkness
like the avenging hand
of the Maker.

There, will
The Barron make his last stand.

Bo’s internal monologue goes on to state:

“If she had any lingering doubts about the plot to assassinate her, the poem dispelled them. With her doubts went her fear. If she hoped to get herself and Chase out of this alive, she needed to keep her head. Her ancestors, immortalized in the epic poem known as Requiem For The Broken Wing, had faced a no-win situation and fought fiercely to the last man. Like them, she intended to give a good accounting of herself before drawing her last breath.”

7. When can we expect the book to be published?
SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END  are already available. Just follow the links to the right. BARRON’S LAST STAND will be available sometime in 2015. That’s all I can say right now. I am also working on some Bo Barron short stories to tide my readers over in the mean time.

Next up is TM Hunter. Be sure to check him out. Also, click back, too, to see what characters came before. Thanks for reading!