Friday, December 24, 2021

The Missing Writer

Hello, my loyal readers!

I know I haven't made an appearance in a while. Peri-menopause has been doing a number on my sleep cycle. To the point, I was going to bed when DH was waking up. In turn, the sleep issues have screwed up my blood sugars. So, I've pushed back bedtime over the last week until I slept for the last eighteen hours straight and woke up at a normal morning time today.

It doesn't mean I haven't been writing. I've been typing at a furious pace during my waking hours. I've been setting up things for my January Kickstarter to launch the Soccer Moms of the Apocalypse series. And finally, I've been working on the last edits to get the last few novels' paperbacks out.

However, I'm taking today off and watching the Doctor Who marathon on BBCAmerica. Later this evening, I'll make chicken phyllo, and we'll curl up and watch It's a Wonderful Life. That's our Christmas tradition. However, it's the first Christmas Eve where it's just me, DH, and the pet(s) we've had in twenty-two years.

Take care everyone! I hope you have a peaceful weekend.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Signed Books

For those of you who want a signed book, but you can't make it to Toledo tomorrow, drop me a line through the Contact Me! tab.

If you're in the U.S., let me know which book you want, and I'll contact you about availability and payment through PayPal.

If you live outside of the U.S., the costs for mailing you books from the U.S. has become absolutely f**king ridiculous, so I'm looking into getting signed bookplates to you.

Either way, shipping is taking a little longer than normal. (I'm still waiting on Kickstarters I supported that were supposed to be fulfilled LAST year.) So a little patience will be necessary on all our parts.

On my list of plans for next year is to set up an online shop, so you can order ebooks and print books.

I just need to remember to take a Wonder Woman mask with me tomorrow!

Monday, December 6, 2021

Christmas Paperback Sale in Person!

The Writer's Block Author Fair will take place this Saturday, December 11th from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. in the Food Court at Franklin Park Mall, Toledo, Ohio.

38 writers from Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan will be there to sign and sell their paperbacks. (Yeah, I know the original sign says 30, but we got more!)

Drop by and say hi!

Novel Writing Craft

Do you want to write a novel, but you don't know where to start? Need some tips to finish that novel that's been plaguing you? Have a question about the writing process?

Join me on Zoom for a talk about some of the elements that go into writing a novel. The event is free, but you do need to register ahead of time in order to receive the link.

Click here to pre-register for this talk.

 Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New Release Day - A Vero Hero New Year!

We got an early present. Genius Kid and Puppy Anubis are in town for the week. Princess Bella was slightly disturbed at having two oversized visitors.

Or she was until she discovered how delicious Puppy Anubis's food and snacks are.

Also, A Very Hero New Year dropped today. It's available right now at Amazon. I'll update links on the 888-555-HERO page as they go live.

Have a great December 1st!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Updates and Notices

If you haven't read the current Free Short Story, you have until midnight EST tonight before it comes down. If you want your own copy, The Trickster Priestess and the Demon will be released on August 15th. You can pre-order it on Amazon, and pre-orders will be set up on other retailers soon.

Also, Blood Magick will be free until the midnight on January 1st. If you liked it, please recommend it to your friends.

Holiday stories abound!

The Yule Switch was released on November 15th. It's available at all major retailers.

Amazon, all countries
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

And A Very Hero New Year will be released tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Very Hero New Year - Chapter 4

Like it's predecessor A Very Hero Christmas, the characters are rather insistant that A Very Hero New Year be longer than the light, humorous novella I'd originally planned.

Here's your last taste before the whatever-length-this-book-ends-being comes out on December 1st!

Steve’s gut twisted as he touched down on the law school’s roof patio with Mariah in his arms. All the other students stared at him. A few even had out their phones, no doubt taking both still pictures as well as video.

At the forefront of the crowd stood his friends. Bethany and Nick stared at him with open mouths. Carter, however, scowled at him.

“Mariah,” Steve whispered. “We’re back on the roof. Do you think you can stand?”

Her eyes were still squeezed tight, and she shook her head vigorously against his chest.

Carter charged toward him. “What the fuck, man? All the crap you give me about being rich, and you’re a super?”

“I do not give you crap,” Steve growled through clenched teeth. “And now is definitely not the time for this discussion.”

“Get me out of here.” Mariah’s words were followed by a sob.

Dammit, he couldn’t leave her alone. And he couldn’t do a thing about all the witnesses either. So, he did what he usually did when faced with a major problem. He plowed forward.

The other students parted to let Mariah and him pass.

“Steve, wait.” Bethany caught up with them. “You’re going to need some help tonight.” He hated to admitted, she was right. Mariah need more help than he knew how to give, and Aisha would be chewing him a new one for displaying his powers in public the minute she found out. He just hoped he’d be the one to tell her.

He gave Bethany a curt nod. “Come on.”

She rushed ahead of him and Mariah and opened the stairwell door. Pounding footsteps and gasping breath announced Nick’s presence.

“I’m coming with you guys,” he said.

“Is that okay, Mariah?” Steve murmured.

She clutched his shirt and whimpered, “Just don’t let me go.”

Steve glanced over his shoulder. The other students continued to stare at him, and no one spoke a word, even among themselves. That settled any indecision he had. He headed down the stairs.

“I’ll drive your truck,” Nick said as he and Bethany jogged after Steve. “You need to focus on her.”

“Are you saying girls can’t drive trucks?” Bethany bit out.

“I know damn well you can’t drive a manual transmission,” Nick shot back. “I can. You take my car and follow us.”

Once they were out of the building and in the parking lot, Bethany dug into Steve’s pocket for his keys and traded them for Nick’s set. Bethany whirled and raced for Nick’s car two rows over from the truck. Nick made sure Steve and Mariah were settled in the passenger seat of the pickup before he carefully shut the door, ran around to the driver side and slid into the seat.

“Wait,” Steve said right before Nick turned the ignition. “How much have you had to drink? Last thing either of us need is to get picked up for DUI.”

“Only a couple of swallows from my cup before you arrived.” Nick started the truck and shot Steve a look. “I am not Carter.”

“Never said you were.” Steve reached behind the seat and grabbed the emergency blanket. Mariah shivered so hard her teeth chattered. However, the city retained so much of the day’s heat, the temperatures were still in the high seventies. Which meant she was going into shock.

Steve wrapped Mariah in the blanket and held her tight in his right arm while he tugged his phone out of his pocket with his left hand. He scrolled through his contacts and tapped Serena’s number.

The line rang three times before Serena mumbled, “This better be good, Connors.”

He quickly explained the situation with Mariah’s threat to jump and how he talked her off the ledge.

Ese, you need to take her to the ER,” she said. “I don’t do mental health issues.”

Crap. He wanted to avoid the rest of the truth, but Serena wouldn’t be as ticked off as Aisha.

“I can’t,” he said through gritted teeth. “She started to climb back onto the roof and slipped. I had to use my powers to save her, and she’s so freaked by the partial fall I think she’s going into shock, which a physical issue.”

“Oh, my god,” Serena whispered. “Did anyone see you?”

“Yes,” he bit out. “Make a left on MLK,” he said to Nick. Thankfully, his fellow student focused on the streets and traffic, and he didn’t ask questions.

Yet, anyway. Steve knew Nick and Bethany would demand answers later.

“Who’s with you?” Serena demanded.

“A friend I trust to keep his mouth shut,” Steve barked. “Can you help this girl or not?”

“I’ll meet you at Lechuza,” Serena snapped back. The line went dead.

“She’s intense,” Nick commented.

“Not as intense as my girlfriend.” Despite the quip, Steve could visualize Qiang’s reaction. She was a fiercely private person. When the story got out about his rescue of Mariah, she wouldn’t just chew him out like Aisha would.

No, Qiang would electrocute him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

A Very Hero New Year - Chapter 3

Here's the unedited Chapter 3 of A Very Hero New Year. I don't know about the rest of you, but I needed to write lots of things with a happy ending this year.


Aisha Franklin’s phone vibrated on the side table. She sighed and hit the pause button on the remote. Dang it. Her son went down without a fuss, and she and Rey were cuddled on the couch, watching a sci-fi movie, after a horrible interview with a potential associate.

“It’s late. You could let it go to voicemail,” her husband said.

She picked up the phone and checked the caller ID. “It’s Harri, and she’s not pounding on the door and waking Mitch. So I will be civil and answer her.”

She flicked the answer icon on her smart phone. “What’s wrong, girl? You still pissed about the interview.”

“This isn’t about the jackass. Turn on the Action 12! News twenty-four-hour channel.” Harri sighed. “Your brother-in-law is on camera doing something he shouldn’t be doing in public.”

“Please be drunk, Steve,” Aisha whispered as she switched from the movie streaming service to the news channel. “Please be drunk.”

Sure enough, Ted Meadowfield’s voice spoke over the amateur video onscreen. “…unknown super rescued a jumper. We haven’t been able to reach anyone at Canyon Pointe University for comment, but according to the law school’s website, the student council scheduled a post-finals party tonight at the Margaret Jackson Patio on the roof of the Hardwick Building which houses the law school. Ted Meadowfield. Action 12! News.”

The camera switched back to Brian Mason, the backup evening anchor, at the studio. “Thank you, Ted. We’ll be updating this story throughout the night as more information comes in. We’ll be back with this week’s weather report after these short messages from our sponsors.”

Rey mumbled a few choice obscenities as he scowled at the screen.

“Have you spoken with Steve yet?” Aisha asked her law partner.

“No,” Harri answered. “What do I tell him? Especially after Rey saved my ass in the same manner before he registered? That Steve should have let the kid splatter on the concrete?”

“Put it on speaker.” Rey gestured at Aisha’s phone. She tapped the appropriate icon. “Harri, do you want me to head down to the school and pick up Steve?”

“We do not need Black Falcon pulled into this mess,” Harri snapped.

“I was going to take the minivan,” Rey said dryly. “We registered it in Aisha’s name only for a reason. It’s not going to raise as many questions if an attorney picks up a client who accidentally outed himself.”

“If we’re going that route, I should be the one who goes to retrieve him,” Aisha murmured.

“What about Steve’s truck?” Tim’s voice crackled through the speaker.

Aisha exchanged a look with her husband. When Miguel Esperanza, their building manager replaced his work truck, Steve had bought the ancient red pickup because he didn’t want to stand out among the students at the law school. She knew exactly how the other students regarded the trust-fund babies, even though Steve’s adoptive parents were new money, not old like Harri and Tim’s families.

“I’ll grab Emilio,” Rey said. “I’ve got Steve’s spare keys.”

“Then go,” Harri said. “Aisha and I will brainstorm some damage control.”

“Can you please come over here?” Aisha asked.

“I wasn’t going to make you wake Mitch and bring him across the hall,” Harri grumbled. “Come over to our loft and bring the baby monitor with you so I don’t wake him.”

Aisha chuckled. “You plan on getting loud?”

“Not on purpose.”

“I’ll be over in a minute.” Aisha tapped the icon to end the call.

Rey kissed her before he rose from the couch. “I’ll go get my shoes and keys. We’ll finish our movie tomorrow night.”

But something deep inside said Aisha would never see the end of the movie until she and Rey returned from Paris next December.

Monday, November 15, 2021

New Release Day! - The Yule Switch

That's right! A brand-new holiday short story drops today!

Lonely craftshop owner Finlay Brewster has already lost her family. Can she save a homeless woman from a motorcycle club leader on the Winter Solstice? Or will she lose her soul to her mysterious guests?

P.S. Deputy, now Sheriff Jimmy Birkheimer from the Bloodlines series and the Millersburg Magick Mysteries makes a special guest appearance!

Amazon, all countries
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

New Release - Halloween Harvest: A Holiday Anthology

It's official! My very first sci-fi story (that wasn't fanfic) "A Place at the Table" was published in Halloween Harvest. If you like Alien or Pitch Black, this story might be up your alley.

The rest of the stories are pretty awesome, too. *grin*

You can purchase it at the following places:

Amazon, all countries
Barnes & Noble
WMG Publishing

Thursday, November 4, 2021

A Very Hero New Year - Chapter 2

I'm three days into National Novel Writing Month, and it's already kicking my ass. Sorry, I'm late again with the unedited next chapter. I'll try to do better next week.


Still in her suit, Harri Winters flopped on her mattress, bouncing her fiancé Tim Canyon as he read on his tablet. Despite the cleaning she’d done to their loft last weekend, the entire place was still tainted with hints of sage, onions, and pumpkin spice.

Or maybe the last one was the cinnamon and vanilla-scented bath products their building manager’s sons had gifted her with for her birthday.

Tim looked at her over his reading glasses. “How did the interview go?”

“Urgh, argh.”

“That good, huh?” He snickered.

“Steve and Patty cannot get licensed fast enough,” she muttered.

“So what was the problem with this prospective associate?”

“Other than mansplaining superhero law to three of the attorneys who helped write the book on it?” She groaned. “I wasn’t sure if Susan was going to tase him or Aisha would punch him through the wall.”

“Have you had any problems with Travis?” Tim asked.

“Surprisingly, no.” She rolled over on her side and propped her cheek on her fist. “Even Aisha admits he knows his stuff. We haven’t had any issues with him not doing his work or the actual quality of his products. Plus, he’s been very careful to walk the fine line between being too deferential and acting like a know-it-all.”

Neither of Harri’s partners had been happy when she first suggested bringing Travis Beckham on board as an associate. Aisha more so than Susan because Travis had been promoted over her at Dewey and Cheatham, their previous employer. Between Travis busting his ass to prove himself and a couple of former colleagues confirming Travis’s story about him protecting his paralegal and secretary from the predatory excesses of the Dewey and Cheatham senior partners, Aisha’s attitude had lightened up quite a bit.

“Were there any other former Dewey and Cheatham associates of the same caliber as Travis?” Tim asked.

“By the time the bankruptcy trustee laid off the remaining attorneys, there weren’t that many left.” She rolled onto her back and stared at the exposed beams of the loft. “Any quality ones resigned and either got a job or got the hell out of the state once Howard was arrested.”

“What about someone you knew in law school like Susan?” Tim asked.

“They all want a bigger piece of the pie than we’re willing to give them, or they’re too scared of the targets we all have on our backs.” She kick off the sensible heels she’d worn to the interview dinner. They landed on the area rug with soft thunks. “It didn’t help when we declined to represent Captain Mojave.”

“I don’t know.” Tim chuckled. “Sourpuss seems to be having a great time on the talk show circuit, dishing about how he abandoned her and her sister after he knocked up their mother.”

“Don’t say that in front of Aisha,” Harri chided. “None of this revenge tour is sitting well with her.”

“Really? Wasn’t she and Jeremy the ones who destroyed Quantum Commander’s reputation?” Tim cocked his head. “How is that different than Captain Mojave getting punished for running around bad-mouthing the firm?”

“Quantum Commander’s children weren’t our clients,” Harri said.

“Kerry’s petty revenge stunt has nothing to do with needing an extra attorney,” Tim pointed out.

“Unfortunately, we still have the same original problem,” Harri said. “More billable work than four attorneys can reasonably do. Especially since the introduction campaign for Eagle Rising is about to start. Not to mention Aisha leaving in a month.”

Despite Aisha laying out everything Harri would need to do for Paul Inunza’s debut as a superhero, she still wished her best friend would stay in the U.S. long enough to hold her hand. The last thing Harri wanted to do was ruin the kid’s chances of being a positive influence in the city. Especially with his mom currently in prison and his dad losing his job.

“Are you planning to go apeshit on me when she and Rey head to France?” Tim asked.

“Yep, but I’m limiting myself to one day of crying, gnashing my teeth, and rending my clothes.” She grinned up at him. “Then I expect you to keep the freezer full of ice cream for the following week.”

“I can think of a good way to work off the calories and keep you distracted,” Tim said.

“I am not doing any extra workouts,” she snapped.

“Let me amend my statement, counselor.” Tim unbuttoned her blouse. “I can think of a much better way to work off the calories and keep you distracted.” And he did until the intercom by the front door of the loft buzzed.

Harri gently pressed her hands against his chest. “Wait. That may be important.”

“Steve was going to a law school party tonight,” Tim murmured. “He’s probably drunk and hit the wrong button.”

She frowned. “While I’m glad you’re taking your superhero retirement seriously, I did go to law school, and it’s way too early for him to be home.” The obnoxious buzz filled their loft again. “We’d better check.”

Her phone started warbling the Dolly Parton tune, “Nine to Five”.

“That’s not a drunk Steve.” She yanked the phone out of her jacket pocket and tapped the answer icon. “What’s wrong, Patty?”

Patty Ames, their legal assistant and all-around Girl Friday, sounded terribly worried. “Turn on Channel 12. There’s a special report. One of our twins got busted for flying in his civvies at Canyon Pointe University.”

Harri’s fingers tightened around her phone as she launched herself from the bed and charged into the living room. It was a good thing she hadn’t turned off the lamp on the end table. She grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. Tim had programmed the channel into the quick buttons after Aisha became the station’s on-air legal commentator during the summer.

Shaky video appeared to show a Christmas party at the Madison Hotel’s rooftop restaurant, but it was the action in the background that worried Harri. A person in a hoodie and jeans stood on the exterior ledge of the roof for the Hardwick Building which housed the Canyon Pointe University Law School. Harri’s heart lodged in her throat.

A jumper.

Someone with dark hair leaned on the retaining wall near the jumper. The attention of the partiers at the hotel were drawn to the drama by someone pointing it out. The figure in the hoodie started to turn toward the person with them.

The jumper jerked as if startled, then they were falling. And the second person literally dived over the roof. The folks at the hotel party screamed. A fraction of a second later, both people from the law school reappeared in the video. The dark-haired person obviously flew as he carried the jumper back to the roof.

Harri looked up at Tim. “I told you Steve wasn’t home this early.”

Friday, October 29, 2021

A Very Hero New Year - Chapter 1

I'm sorry this post is late, but it worked out for the best. My cover designer Elaina Lee of For the Muse Design deliver the cover for A Very Hero New Year Thursday morning. I think she did an incredible job!

As usual, this is the unedited chapter of my upcoming book.


The party sounds got louder while Steve Connors jogged up the southwest stairwell of the Canyon Pointe University Law School building. When he pushed open the steel door to the rooftop patio, the music and laughter ratchetted up several decibels. The December post-finals party was in full swing.

The dry wind of the western desert kept the traffic fumes at street level. That left the odor of alcohol and intoxicated humans at the top of the seven-story edifice.

Bethany Spears from his Con law class waved, and he strode over to the study group who’d become his friends. Carter Swift slapped him on the shoulder and shoved a cup of beer into Steve’s hand. “It’s about time Mr. A+ showed up.” Carter looked around him. “Now where’s the hottie you claim you’re dating?”

“She took her son to her parent’s for dinner tonight, and you can keep the cup.” Steve pressed the red plastic back into his friend’s hand. He was more than a little disappointed Qiang refused to come. She claimed she got all her partying out of her system when she was an undergrad.

The truth was situations like this underscored their age difference, and it made Qiang damn uncomfortable. Part of him understood. Because of his size, people had always assumed he was older. The rest of him tried to convince her no one would know her age unless she announced it.

For some reason, she didn’t take that as the compliment he meant it to be.

“I don’t think this woman exists,” Bethany remarked. “Unless Qiang is the nickname for your right hand.”

“Oh, come on,” Nick Lyons drawled. “For all you know, he could have bought one of those lifelike Japanese sex dolls.”

Carter and Bethany roared with laughter.

Maybe it was a good thing Qiang didn’t come after all. She would have electrocuted Nick’s balls for saying that.

“Ha, ha.” Steve rolled his eyes. “Thank you for proving her point that she didn’t want spend a boring evening with a bunch of immature trust-fund babies.”

“Hey, I resemble that remark.” Carter waved his cup, sloshing beer over the side. “Maybe your mystery woman is really waiting for a rich and charming guy to sweep her off her feet.”

“More like Prince Charming to sweep her floor,” Nick shot back.

Steve snorted and Bethany laughed out loud.

“I think I’ll find something to drink before Carter washes the floor with all the beer.” Steve headed for the corner where tables were set up with food, alcohol, and soft drinks.

He selected a plastic bottle of cola. The last thing he needed was to get drunk and accidentally display his powers. Though honestly, it would take every bit of beer and wine on the table to produce a slight buzz thanks to his metabolism.

For the last twelve years of his life, he’d been so careful to keep his secret, only to discover he had a twin with the exact same powers. A twin brother who was a noted and popular superhero.

A brother who despised him.

Steve stepped away from the crowd. The old guilt resurfaced though everyone told him Professor Paranoia kidnapping and controlling him wasn’t his fault. Even Tim Canyon, AKA the original Ghost Owl, didn’t blame Steve for the severe injuries he inflicted. Tim was damn lucky he could walk again after what Steve had done. In fact, Tim insisted on training Steve in some basic self-defense techniques.

Tim’s lessons remained at the forefront of Steve’s mind despite the festive atmosphere. He scanned the area. Red, green, and white lights lit up several buildings in downtown. A few others offices twinkled blue and white. Above all of them, the Del Oro Bank’s red and gold eagle ruled the skyline.

Below the bank’s signage, a girl wearing a hoodie and jeans leaned against the retaining wall on the other side of the roof. She wasn’t staring at the lights of downtown. No, her head stretched over the edge of ledge. There wouldn’t be anything on that side of the building, but the street, traffic, and pedestrians. The school didn’t even have a door to enter the building on that side, so she couldn’t be watching for someone who said they’d be here tonight.

Steve went back to the refreshment tables and grabbed a second bottle of cola. Before he crossed halfway across the roof, the girl straightened and flung her right leg over the ledge.

He raced toward as fast as he could without using superspeed toward that corner. “Hey—” Thankfully, she turned to look at him. Mariah Pendleton. She had been in several of his first year classes. Quiet, but she had the right answer every time one of the professors called on her.

“It’s Mariah, right?” Steve said.

“Yeah.” She looked at him suspiciously. “Why aren’t you with your friends, Connors?” A strong whiff of alcohol came from her.

“I went to get a drink, and I saw you over here by yourself.” He held out one of the bottles of cola. “So I brought you one.”

She shook her head. “Don’t want it.”

“I can get you orange? Root beer? Lemon-lime?”

“I don’t want anything from you. Go away.” Mariah looked down again and swung her other leg over the ledge.

“Hey, that’s kind of dangerous.” Blood roared in his ears. This situation was way out of his wheelhouse.

“That’s me. Stupid Mariah.” A sob caught in her throat.

Steve looked back at the party. No one noticed what was going on over here, and he needed help. If he left to grab Bethany, Mariah would fall. Or worse, jump.

He looked at Mariah who was studiously ignoring him in favor of the pavement. “You’re not stupid, Mariah. You always know the answers when you’re called on.”

“Then why am I at the bottom of the class?” she wailed.

“We can all get the same exact score, and the profs still rank us,” he said. “It’s part of the stupidity of law school. We have to figure out what really matters.”

“All that matters to my family is that I be the best.” Mariah cried in earnest now. “I’m not. I can’t go home.”

Her pain infiltrated the scars of his heart. It didn’t matter how much Mom and Dad loved him. He’d wondered why his biological family didn’t want him his entire life.

“Have you told them about your rank?” he asked.

“No.” She hiccupped.

“Why does your rank matter more to your parents than whether you’re learning the material?”

“Because they need to see the measurement.” She gulped. “Because they told me if I wasn’t in the top five percent, there was no reason to pay for my tuition.”

“Wow,” he muttered. “What a pair of douches.”

“B-but they’re right. I-I don’t deserve the education if I can’t do it.”

“If money’s an issue, I know a scholarship you could apply for.” Steve edged over to the retaining wall and leaned against it. He peeked over the side. Yep, all concrete below. With her shaking and the amount of alcohol she had probably consumed, he needed to get her back on this side of the wall. “Why don’t you come with me, and I can get the info for you?”

“Don’t touch me!” she screeched.

“I won’t if you climb back on this side of the wall,” he assured her.

“Why would you care?” She finally looked at him. “Mister Top-of-the-Class,” she spat.

“Maybe that’s the difference,” he said. “My parents don’t really care about class rank. I don’t have the same pressure on me that you do.”

“Except you already have an internship with a firm,” she said morosely.

Was that the real issue? She was jealous of him.

“Where did you hear that?” he asked.

“People talk.” Mariah stared at the traffic below again. “You do realize I’m working for my sister-in-law to pay for my room and board while I’m going to school, right?” he said dryly.

Mariah looked at him and sniffed. “You do realize that’s still experience, right?”

Steve chuckled. “More like my brother got lucky, and his wife takes pity on me. Not to mention, it’s a very small firm. They could use some help. I could set up a meeting—”

“I don’t need your pity,” Mariah snapped.

“It’s not pity,” he said. “Like I said rank is bullshit. You’re the smartest person in our class. And my boss Harri would be the first one to say, ‘What do you call someone who scores 675 on the Mojave bar exam?”


“A lawyer,” he answered.

A slight giggle escaped from Mariah.

“And if you don’t believe me, believe Harri. The bar exam has nothing to do with your class rank,” he added.

“I don’t want to go home for break.” Mariah stared at the traffic below once again. “I can’t face them.”

“What if I find you a place to stay over break?” Steve said gently. “Would you climb back over the wall?”

Mariah sniffed again. “You sure your brother and his wife would be okay if I surf on their couch?”

“Actually, I was going to offer the spare bedroom at my apartment,” he said. “But if that was too weird for you, there’s some other ladies in the building who would let you stay with them for a few days until we can figure something out.”

“Okay.” Mariah wiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her hoodie.

Some idiot blasted an air horn behind him. Mariah jerked. Her one hand on the retaining wall slipped from the concrete. In slow motion horror, she dropped.

Steve tossed aside the cola bottles, leapt over the retaining wall, and dived for the screaming Mariah.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Status Update - October 2021

It's been a busy end of 2021 for me!

A Very Hero Wedding (888-555-HERO #8) dropped last Friday on Amazon. It should be live on other retailers soon-ish.

"A Place at the Table" will be released somewhere between October 25th and November 2nd under the WMG Holiday Spectacular. On November 4th, the anthology Halloween Harvest will be released by WMG with "A Place at the Table" among the many great stories that were selected.

On November 15th, another holiday story "The Yule Switch" will drop. It's currently on pre-order  across all online stores.

On December 1st, my last New Hallowthanksmas story A Very Hero New Year (888-555-HERO #9) will hit stores.

I'm still playing catch-up with my Angry Sheep Publishing paperbacks. Hero Amicus Curiae (888-555-HERO #7) will be out in a couple of weeks if I can get a breather next week to review the print interior. That leaves the latest two Justice and latest two HERO books to put together for paperbacks.

Once A Very Hero New Year is finished (hopefully, this weekend *fingers crossed*), I'll be going full bore on the Soccer Moms of the Apocalypse series. I plan on doing something a little different with this series. I'm going to do my first Kickstarter and release the series all at once to my backers before the books go on sale in stores.

Why am I doing this? Because outside deadlines make a bigger impact on my production focus than internal deadlines do. Second, I've been supporting Kickstarter projects for the last ten years, and now, I want to try one. Third, I've already been ordering some nifty rewards to make sure I have them in time for my Kickstarter. So stay tuned for the official Kickstarter announcement!

Oh, the picture above? That's the magnet currently on my refrigerator. I'm so excited about this project!

Next week, we'll go back to our regularly scheduled sample chapters. 😎

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

It's Release Week!

That's right! A Very Hero Wedding will drop on Friday! You can preorder it at Amazon. Otherwise, I'll update links as they go live.


Aisha Franklin’s baby brother is getting married, and the whole office has been invited to the big event in Atlanta. However, trouble follows them across the country, and it’s not the usual superhero shenanigans. Personal conflicts may tear the firm apart before they even get to the nuptials.

Can the bride and groom rebuild their family and friends’ relationships before a super battle erupts at their reception and becomes the leading story on the evening news?

Call us at 888-555-HERO. The Law Offices of Winters & Franklin, where the only thing more dangerous than a superhero is his attorney.

Amazon, all countries

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Coming Soon! Halloween Harvest!

The month of October offers you a double-feature from me (and in one case, a few other writers)!

WMG Publishing, Inc., has been doing an advent-type calendar of short stories for the Winter Holidays for the last three years. This year, they've added Valentine and Halloween short stories in addition to the Winter Holidays.

Given the books I write, it isn't too hard to figure out I have a story in the Halloween collection.

For $15, here's what you'll get:

1) Starting October 25th and ending November 2nd, you will receive one story per day. An email will be sent to you with a link to download the short story in the e-book reading form you prefer.

2) "Wait a minute, Suzan," you say. "$15 for only nine stories?" Nope, you will also get the e-book anthology including the nine original stories plus two additional short stories on November 4th!

3) Not into Halloween, but you know someone who would love this collection as a gift? Just give WMG the e-mail address of the gift recipient. Easy-peasy!

4) What about a paperback version of Halloween Harvest? Yes, there will be, but I don't have a date yet. The cost for a paperback will be separate from the cost for the newsletters and e-book.

To order Halloween Harvest, go to the Halloween Spectacular Calendar 2021.

My story is "A Place at the Table," a sci-fi tale where the exoplanet Onizuka's axial tilt is so sharp that the night lasts for three months. And when Dark falls, creatures come out of hibernation. Creatures that modern weapons cannot kill.

All the stories in the collection are marvelous. I hope you'll check it out!

Thursday, September 30, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 6

Oops! I was so busy writing and proofing a paperback, I totally forgot to post Chapter 6 of A Very Hero Wedding.


Harri carried Mitch down with her on the elevator. She didn’t think the Owl’s Nest was the best place for either Mitch or Grace to hang out, anymore than it had been for Francisco, but a year later, Miguel’s youngest was attending one of the top STEM universities on a full scholarship. Arthur and Tim kept a playpen down there with an array of toys for the kids, along with diapers, bottles, and snacks. However, taking Mitch down to the Nest also meant she’d have to apologize to Tim even if she hadn’t done anything wrong.

She entered the reception area as Aisha walked out of her office.

“What are you doing with my son?” her partner demanded.

“I fed him since the guy who was supposed to do it stormed out of my loft.” Harri held out Mitch to Aisha. “I also burped him and changed his diaper.”

Aisha frowned and didn’t take her baby. “Molly’s not back yet?”

“Does it look like she’s back?”

Instead of taking Mitch, Aisha pulled out her phone and started scrolling with her thumb. “Well, crap. It looks like one of the cables holding the shipping containers in place either wasn’t secured properly or snapped. Nix is using ultrasonics to keep the ship stable while Black Falcon and Captain Mojave are retrieving the containers.”

She looked up at Harri. “You know the shipping company is going to try to blame the supers. I guess I need some more coffee and have Arthur pulling surveillance footage for me when he gets back.” She pivoted and headed back toward her office.

“Hey, what about your son?” Harri snapped.

“Well, you weren’t bringing him to me, were you?” Aisha pointedly looked at her office door, then at the door to the basement. “If I were you, I’d do some serious sucking up to my man.”

“I didn’t do anything!” Harri glared at her partner.

Aisha slid her phone back into her slacks pocket. “Taking your anger at me out on Tim isn’t helping your relationship. He said he’d watch Mitch until Molly gets back. Since you chased him down to the Nest, you need to be the one to take Mitch down and apologize.”

Harri gritted her teeth, but she wasn’t going to win this one. Aisha could be more stubborn than Captain Mojave. Maybe that we why their friendship survived when all Harri’s other relationships bit the dust.

Aisha took two steps toward the break room before she pivoted on her stilettos to face Harri again. “By the way, I do not want to hear anymore bitching from you about me going to Paris if you are going behind my back to recruit more clients.” She flew to the break room, probably to keep from breaking her precious designer shoes by stomping on the antique floor tiles.

Or breaking the irreplaceable art deco tiles with her superstrength.

Blood roared in Harri’s ears. Dammit! Tim narced on her! She didn’t need this crap from either her boyfriend or her law partner. She was definitely collecting on one of Jeremy’s dinners tonight.


None of the Owl’s Nest security measures were active when Harri and Mitch reached the bottom of the basement stairs. Technically, the superhero lair belonged to Tim as the original Ghost Owl, but Rey and Aisha had sort of inherited it. Or rather, their superhero personas Black Falcon and Ghost Owl II had inherited the hideout.

Actually, a good chunk of the superheroes in Canyon Pointe used the Owl’s Nest. All of them happened to be Winters and Franklin clients, too. Like Molly Reinhold AKA Nix.

Lights flickered on as the motion sensors picked up Harri’s strides. Mitch nestled against her shoulder and chest. He was about ready to pass out for his post-lunch nap. She prayed Tim wasn’t running any heavy machinery. Mitch without his nap could be as cranky as his mom without pixie barf first thing in the morning.

When she entered the lab, Tim quietly clicked away on his ergonomic keyboard. Yet another concession he’d made for her, she realized with a pang of guilt. They’d both gotten the same model when they’d spent one evening icing their wrists after a particularly intense round of video games with the Esperanza boys over the summer.

He looked up at her, and the cold anger from earlier still sparked from his dark blue eyes.

“I came down to apologize. I’m sorry for taking my anger with Aisha out on you. It wasn’t fair.” She forced the words between her teeth. “Can you please still watch Mitch while she and I meet with Jeremy’s potential client?”

Tim’s face softened a bit. “Thank you for apologizing. And yes, I’ll watch our godson and pick up your bridesmaid dress.”

“You don’t have to—”

“I said I would, and I will,” he stated firmly. “I’m not that petty.” He stood and held out his hands for the baby. “Though I will wait until after his nap.”

Mitch barely opened his eyes at the trade-off. He made sucking noises with his pacifier, and his eyes drifted shut again. Tim laid Mitch in the portable bassinet next to his computer desk. The pacifier fell out of the baby’s mouth, and he was softly snoring before Tim could lay the Black Falcon baby blanket over Mitch.

Yep, Aisha definitely had more of a clue of marketing and licensing superhero merchandise than Harri did.

“What are you working on?” Harri asked.

“Finishing up the background check on your afternoon appointment,” Tim murmured.

“But Arthur—”

“Had to run an errand, and he took Grace with him.” Tim straightened.

“Does this have anything to do with a ring?” Harri raised an eyebrow.

A funny look came over Tim.

“Oh, my god!” Harri resorted to waving her hands excitedly to keep herself from yelling and waking Mitch. “When’s he going to ask her?”

“I’m staying out of Arthur and Patty’s business.” Tim crossed his arms over his chest. “And you are, too.”

“You’re no fun.” Harri wrapped her arms around his waist. “But I could convince you to tell me.”

“You can try, but don’t you have a client intake interview in an hour?”

“Getting too old for a lunchtime quickie?” she mocked.

“I prefer to take my time and make sure things are done right.” Tim cupped her head and lowered his lips to hers.

Their kiss was slow. And sweet. Really sweet. She detected hints of chocolate, caramel, coconut and vanilla cookie in his taste.

Harri broke the kiss and glared at Tim. “Where did you get the Samoas?”

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 5

Here's the unedited version of Chapter 5!


Aisha walked out of her office to grab a soda as Tim charged into the reception area, carrying a sandwich on a plate and a dark scowl on his face. She didn’t have to ask who caused the latter.

“What did she do this time?” she asked.

Patty twirled around on her chair to watch the fireworks.

“It’s nothing,” he muttered. But he stopped in front of the door to the basement and turned back to Aisha. “Why does she think she can run everyone’s life?”

Aisha and Patty exchanged looks before they both looked at Tim again.

“I’ll get the stash.” Patty jumped up from her chair and headed for Arthur’s office.

“What do you want to drink?” Aisha asked.

Tim blinked. “Drink?”

“You know…” She waved her hand in the direction of their breakroom. “Coffee, tea, soda, water, milk, juice?”

His shoulders sagged. “Can I have water without anyone bitching at me about it?”

“Sure.” She grinned. “Go have a seat in my office. We’ll be there in a minute.”

Aisha strode into the breakroom and collected a bottle of diet cola for herself and a bottle of water for Tim before she heated milk for Patty’s hot chocolate. She carried all three drinks to her office. Patty ran in behind her and quietly closed the door.

“The phones?” Aisha asked.

“Aren’t you the one who keeps telling me to let calls roll over to voicemail during my lunch hour?” Patty arched her right brow.

“Just don’t let her catch you,” Aisha muttered.

Tim’s eyebrows rose when he caught sight of the boxes in Patty’s hands. “Where’d you get Girl Scout Samoas this time of year?”

“You know the subzero freezer you have downstairs?” Patty grinned.

“I keep medical samples in that freezer!” Tim leaned away from the boxes she sat on the coffee table.

“Chill, Canyon.” Aisha set Patty’s mug on the table before she handed the bottle of water to Tim. “She’s messing with you. We have a small chest freezer in Arthur’s first floor workshop. It’s the only cookie hiding place Harri hasn’t found.”

“Yet,” Patty grumbled.

“So we’ll share as long as you can keep your mouth shut,” Aisha said. “Otherwise—”

“I’ll chip in when you restock,” Tim offered. “I didn’t even get one cookie out of the three boxes I bought last spring.”

“Exactly.” Patty nodded as she ripped open the first package. “I learned my lesson back in our City Hall days. I made the mistake of sharing my Thin Mints. I started charging her. She’d pay me and inhale them just the same. But will she order them for herself?”

“No,” Aisha said in sync with Tim.

“She did the same thing with me and Jeremy when we were undergrads,” Aisha continued. “I thought it was some weirdness about not being able to afford them back then. Nope, she still did it when she interned for Judge Reeves. I thought his bailiff was going to kill her after she ate his four boxes of Tagalongs he stashed in his bottom desk drawer.”

“I was hoping it was some crazy relationship thing.” Tim took a couple of cookies out of the package Patty held out to him. “She does her best to drive me away, but when I accede to her wishes, she comes up with some new demand. I thought her weird push-pull behavior was why she ate all my cookies.” He took a bite of one of the treats, ignoring the ham and Swiss sandwich on the plate in front of him.

“Don’t take it personally.” Aisha grabbed two cookies from the package Patty held out to her. “I think Jeremy and me are the only people in her life she hasn’t driven away.”

“That’s not for lack of trying.” Patty shoved a whole Samoa into her mouth and chewed loudly.

“Unfortunately, my life choices are probably what’s driving her little trip to Crazytown today,” Aisha admitted.

“There’s no probably about it,” Patty grumbled around her mouthful of cookie.

“Wait a minute.” Tim cocked his head. “Where’s Grace?”

Patty swallowed her cookie. “Arthur took her to the electronics supply warehouse with him. It’s not the park, but it gets her out of the building. And nice try in changing the subject.”

Someone knocked, and they all froze with guilty expressions on their faces.

“I didn’t lock the door,” Patty whispered.

The knob turned, and the door swung open. Susan wore a puzzled expression until she spotted the two boxes on Aisha’s coffee table.

“You bitches,” Susan hissed before she closed and locked the office door. “I can’t believe you dug into the stash without me.” She laid the paperwork she carried on Aisha’s office chair and grabbed the seat on the couch next to Tim. “Gimme.”

Patty slid the open package across the table.

“Are we dishing about the battle royale this morning?” Susan grabbed a cookie and took a bite.

“Sort of,” Aisha admitted. “Now she’s taking her pissy mood out on Tim.”

“This is getting ridiculous,” Susan mumbled around the chocolate, caramel, and coconut. “She can’t force you to stay in the United States while your husband is in France.”

Tim shook his head. “I’m still trying to figure out why you agreed to taking on a new client when you’re overloaded already.”

“What new client?” Aisha’s back and neck tensed. Not even her superpowers kept her muscles from contracting due to stress. Unfortunately, she could no longer go to her regular masseuse for any relief.

“Shit.” Tim closed his eyes. “I didn’t mean to spring this on you.”

Susan stared at Aisha. “Is she deliberately trying to tank the firm?”

“The sad part is I don’t think it’s deliberate.” Aisha shook her head. “Damn, every time I think she’d gotten this insecurity crap out of her system, it blows up in my face.”

“I can’t be looking for a new job right now,” Patty wailed. “Grace isn’t ready for preschool yet.”

“That’s assuming you can ever send her.” Aisha sank back in her couch and rubbed her forehead. “This is getting freakin’ ridiculous.”

“Can I amend my statement, counselor?” Tim wore a rueful grin. “In all fairness, she only agreed to talk to this person because Jeremy begged her.”

She groaned. “No, it does not make me feel better. Jeremy knows how overwhelmed we are. At least, Patty and I are handling the daycare. I don’t think she’s made one damn call to find us an associate we can train.”

“Why don’t I stay in Canyon Pointe?” Susan said. “I’m not related to Martin like you and Harri are. I can start the associate search and weed out the unacceptable candidates before you guys get back from Atlanta.”

“Maybe I should stay here with Susan. It’s not like I’m family either.” Patty nibbled on her lower lip.

“That’s just exchanging one crabby woman for another.” Aisha smiled. “I’ll never hear the end of it from Aunt Queenie if you, Arthur, and Grace don’t come.”

“You mean, if Grace doesn’t attend the wedding.” Patty made a face.

“She’s looking forward to spoiling both of our babies along with LaShun’s kids. And she can throw a hissy fit to rival one of Harri’s. Please don’t make me suffer through both of them at the same time.” Aisha popped the Samoa she’d been holding in her mouth and licked the melted chocolate smears from her fingers. She was definitely going to need to raid the stash of cookies in order to survive this entire damn wedding trip.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

New Short Story - The Trickster Priestess and the Demon

Instead of a new chapter of my current work-in-progress, there's a new short story under the Free Short Story tab. (Or you can click this link.)

The Trickster Priestess and the Demon is set in the Justice universe. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 4

Here's the unedited version of chapter 4 of A Very Hero Wedding.


Harri’s cell phone warbled and broke her concentration on the doll licensing contract she was reviewing. She checked the caller. Jeremy. Now, why wasn’t he calling Aisha? She was the one interviewing the kid he recommended. She thumbed the answer icon.

“Hola! Que pasa?”

“Do you realize you have a British accent when you speak Spanish?” There was none of the salon chatter in the background. Either Jeremy was at home, or he was working at his unofficial side hustle.

“You just heard my entire Spanish vocabulary.” Harri pulled off her reading glasses and leaned back in her office chair.

“That’s not true, sweetie. You know how to say margarita,” he shot back.

Harri laughed. “Look, if you’re just calling to chat, can it wait until after work hours. I’ve a shit ton of stuff to get done before we leave for Atlanta.”

“Actually, this is work related.” When Jeremy turned serious, it meant superhero business. “I know you guys haven’t been taking too many new clients—”

“Try not any, Jaye,” Harri interjected. “Did you not hear what I said about a shit ton of work before Martin and Renata’s wedding?”

“I think you guys need to meet my client.” Jeremy sighed. “Great potential, but he needs a kick in the backside. Huge chip on his shoulder.”

She groaned. “Look, I get you want to save the world, but I don’t have—”

“Just talk to him, sweetie,” Jeremy pleaded. “That’s all I’m asking.”

“You owe me dinner at La Churro’s—”

“Done!” Jeremy yelled.

“—for the next year,” Harri finished.

“Bitch,” he growled.

“Takes one to know one.” Harri would have stuck out her tongue if he could see her.

“When can you see my guy?” Jeremy persisted.

She tapped the keys on her laptop to bring up her calendar. “Can he come in this afternoon at two? That’s the only time I’ve got open until we get back from the wedding.”

“What about Aisha and Susan?” Jeremy just had to push.

“They are just as swamped as I am,” Harri snapped. “What part of we’re not taking new clients do you not understand? I’ve already got my partners breathing down my neck because I haven’t had two minutes to pee much less interview potential associates.”

“Thanks, Harri,” Jeremy said. “Let me know when you’re ready to start collecting on La Churro’s.” The line abruptly went dead.

Probably because whoever Jeremy wanted to send to her was sitting with him.

Crap. Why did she agree to this? She’d planned to pick up her bridesmaid dress from the alterations shop this afternoon. And if she brought home work for the twentieth night the last thirty days, Tim would have a conniption fit.


Around ten minutes after noon, the antique elevator creaked and groaned as it rose to the fifth floor of the Lechuza Building. Harri hated asking her boyfriend for favors, but the dress was a necessity. Even though she wasn’t quite sure why Renata asked her to be a bridesmaid. If Tim agreed to pick up the dress while she talked to Jeremy’s potential client and she got up an extra half hour early for the next two weeks, then, and only then, she might be able to safely go to Atlanta for the wedding.

Whistling floated down the hallway from the open doorway of her loft as the car ground to a halt. Harri pulled both gates open and exited the elevator. Super conscious of the infant living on the same floor, she pushed the gates closed.

Even though she expected Mitch to start flying any day now.

The whistling mixed with baby gurgling and cooing. She entered her loft to find Tim dancing around the kitchen with Mitch on his hip while making lunch. He looked much younger than his forty-nine years, even though silver highlighted his auburn hair. The cargo shorts, vintage hair band t-shirt, and bare feet helped.

For the first time, regret infiltrated her heart. Regret that she’d strung her ex-husband Eddie along over his desire to have kids. Regret she hadn’t encountered adult Tim sooner in her life. A red-headed baby with Tim’s sense of humor might have made her change her mind about having her own children. However, spoiling her godchildren would have to do. Wallowing over what could have been was never her style. She leaned against the wall and watched the joy exhibited by her boyfriend and her godson.

Tim abruptly halted his whistling and dancing in mid-squirt of mustard on her ham and cheese sandwich. Mitch gently patted Tim’s face in an effort to restart his entertainment.

“How long have you been standing there?” Tim said.

“Long enough you should have tased and hogtied me if I were a supervillain.” Harri sauntered over and took Mitch from Tim. “The original Ghost Owl is slipping in his old age,” she said in a sing-song voice to the baby. “You’d better develop your powers soon, kiddo. Your uncle Tim is going to need you.” She looked up at your boyfriend. “By the way, why do you have him?”

Tim shrugged. “Molly got an emergency call. I told her I’d watch the kids until she got back. When Patty poked her head in to collect Grace, she said you’ve interviewed the first potential nanny.”

“Not me.” Harri grinned. “I’m leaving that to the professional moms.”

Mitch clapped his hands and laughed. She blew a raspberry on his round tummy, and he shrieked at the sensation.

“I’m assuming you and/or Arthur did background checks on all the applicants,” she added.

“Arthur did, and Rey promised to pound the crap out of whoever takes the job if they screw up. So I’m leaving everything to the professional dads.” For the first time in a long time, grief over the loss Tim’s own son didn’t shadow his face.

“Crap, I was going to ask you for a favor.” Harri grimaced.

“Something for the wedding?” Tim cocked his right eyebrow. “I think Mitch and I can handle it if you don’t mind losing Arthur or Patty to Grace until we get back.”

“Are you sure?”

He nodded.

“Can you pick up my bridesmaid dress from Hernandez Alterations?” she said. “They’re on 10th Street.”

“I can pick it up.” Tim grinned. “And I know where it is. I think both our families have used them for a couple of generations.”

“Thank you so much-ow!” She tried to gently pry Mitch’s little fist from her ponytail.

“Ri-ri-ri!” he shrieked.

“I think he wants you to fly him around.” Tim smirked as he turned to put away the condiments.

“Sorry, Mitch. Aunt Harri can’t do it the same way as Mommy and Daddy.” She winced at the kid’s other hand latched onto her hair. He didn’t need superstrength. His ability to yank on hair longer than Aisha’s short afro could being anyone to tears. No wonder Rey broke down and let Jeremy trim his hair in a much shorter ’do. “Uh, Tim, I need a little help here.”

Tim set aside the baby food jars he’d pulled from their cupboard and grabbed the baby around his waist. “Wanna fly, little guy?”

Mitch shrieked again and released Harri’s tresses. She blinked the tears out of her eyes while Tim made engine noises and zoomed their godson around the living room. After the second circuit, Tim landed Mitch in the spare high chair they kept in their loft. The baby giggled and clapped his hands some more. “Can I ask why didn’t you pick up your dress during lunch?” Tim asked as he buckled Mitch into his seat.

“First, I was hungry.” Harri grabbed the jars of pureed lamb and green beans from the counter along with a baby spoon from the utensil drawer. “Second, it won’t be ready until two. Third—” She steeled herself. “I’ve got a new client intake interview this afternoon.”

Tim straightened. “Does this have anything to do with the huge fight you were having with Aisha and Susan first thing the morning?”

“You heard that?” Harri popped the seal on the jar of lamb.

“Trust me, it didn’t take superhearing.” Tim grabbed their plates and brought them to the table. He returned to the kitchen to grab a couple of flavored seltzer waters from the refrigerator.

Harri tried to hide her grimace. Tim was determined to change her eating habits, not to mention her drinking ones, too. It was a good thing Jeremy owed her multiple trips to La Churro’s. It would be the only way for her to get her weekly dose of cheese dip and margaritas.

“If you keep making that face when I make lunch for you, Mitch will pick up your habits when his parents feed him,” Tim chided.

“What face?” Harri dipped the baby spoon into the jar and offered a bite to Mitch. He gave the pureed lamb a suspicious look and clamped his mouth shut.

“You know the face,” Tim lowered himself onto the chair on the other side of Mitch’s high chair. “It’s the same one you make when we go down to the gym first thing in the morning.”

“Couldn’t be the same expression. I hate exercising and love food.” Harri crossed her eyes and stuck out her tongue. Mitch laughed, and she took the opportunity to insert the spoon between his lips. An expression of annoyance at her betrayal crossed his tiny features until the taste of lamb registered. He banged his tiny fists on the tray and opened his mouth wide, demanding more.

“But the seltzer water is better for you than soda,” Tim said.

“You take away my coffee, and you won’t have to worry about the faces I make.” Harri smiled brightly at the baby as she spooned another bite of lamb between his tiny teeth.

“I’m not suicidal,” Tim said dryly. “So, what made you change your mind about accepting a new client?”

“We haven’t accept them yet.” She pushed the green beans in Tim’s direction. “Would you open this?”

“What made you even want to talk to this person?” Tim twisted the lid, and the seal popped. “You swore you guys couldn’t handle one more client until you hired an associate.”

“Jeremy begged me.” Harri dipped the spoon into the jar Tim slid back to her.

Tim snorted. “Since when has that started working?”

“It didn’t.” She inserted the spoon of pureed green beans in Mitch’s open maw. If the kid ended up being the size of his dad, Aisha would need the extra income to feed her son. “The bribe is what made me change my mind.”

“The bribe?” Tim groaned. “Let me guess. A dinner at La Churro’s?”

“No.” She dipped the spoon for another bite of lamb before she grinned at Tim. “It was dinners for a whole year.”

“The plan was to get you healthy before you ended up like me,” he growled.

“The plan was to keep supervillains from beating the crap out of you before the doctors have to do more than rebuild your leg and replace your knees.” She scowled back at him. “And you’re way too young for artificial joints.”

“Do you really want to turn this into a fight, too?” he said quietly.

“I don’t want to fight with anyone,” she snapped back. “If you all would listen to reason—”

Tim abruptly stood. Even Mitch looked up at him with a perplexed look on his round face. “I’ll eat in the lab. Bring Mitch down when he’s done with his lunch.” Tim grabbed his plate and stomped out of the loft.

Well, crap. She resisted the urge to run after him. She couldn’t leave Mitch alone. Why the hell was everyone on edge when it was only Monday? It wasn’t like anyone at the Lechuza building was getting married in two weeks.

Harri turned back to her godson. “Well, Mitch, I hope you’re free for your uncle Martin’s wedding. I may need a date.”

Mitch stared at her with his big brown eyes before he belched.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 3

Yeah, I'm running a little late today. I was trying to get as many paperback reviewed as I could before today when I needed to buckle down and get writing down. At least, we have hot water and heat again! I'll take that as a win for the month of August!


Aisha gestured for her interviewee to sit down, and she settled on the couch opposite from him. Her foster brother Jeremy had obviously coached the young man. He was dressed in a navy suit, white dress shirt, and a matching navy and gold striped tie. His haircut would have cost more than the kid’s rent, but she knew Jeremy or his husband Leonardo had styled it for free. The young man was nervous, but not to the point his palms were super sweaty when he shook her hand.

She smiled. “So, Mr. Keeler, tell me about yourself while we wait for Ms. Ames.”

“Please, call me Dajon,” he said.

“All right, Dajon.”

“Well—” He cleared his throat. Maybe he should have taken Steve’s offer for something to drink. “I have a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. I worked for Early Bird Daycare while I was in school—”

Aisha waved a hand for him to stop. “No, I’ve read your resume. Tell me something else. Like what you do for fun.”

“Um…” Dajon’s skin was just light enough to turn a deep rose.

She laughed. “I grew up with Jeremy Harkness. If you met him through Lady Jaye’s Review, that’s actually a point in your favor.”

“Oh.” Dajon released a deep breath. “Did he tell you about my last job?”

“If you mean the crazy mom who got you fired, yes, he did.” She shook her head. “Parents can overreact when it comes to their kids.”

“I swear I’d never endanger any child in my care.” Dajon signed a cross over his heart.

Aisha’s office door opened, and Patty slipped inside. She had a soda in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. After setting the water in front of Dajon, she plopped onto the couch next to Aisha.

“It’s not the kids’ safety we’re worried about here, it’s yours,” Patty announced before she twisted the cap off her bottle.

“I beg your pardon?” His attention flipped from Patty to Aisha and back again.

Aisha glared at Patty. Sure, she needed to be involved in this decision because the nanny they hired would be watching both of their children. But she didn’t need to scare any potential hire right out of the gate.

Patty shrugged. “He needs to understand what he’s getting into.” She turned back to Dajon. “Did Jeremy tell you what type of law firm we are?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Dajon nodded. “He said you represented superheroes.” He licked his lips. “But from what I’ve seen in the news, your firm has been doing a lot of criminal defense work.”

Aisha resisted the urge to groan. However, Patty giggled.

“It’s not by choice,” Aisha said. “There were extenuating circumstances.”

“I understand Ultramegaperson.” Dajon cocked his head. “She’s already a superhero client of yours who was wrongly accused. I’m talking about Miss Purrception and that attorney who tried to kill your partner, Ms. Winters.”

“You don’t have any say in the clients we represent,” Aisha said coolly. She’d told Harri representing the supervillain was a big mistake even though Aisha owed Miss Purrception for helping out Aisha’s husband Rey when Professor Paranoia kidnapped him and whisked him to Indonesia.

And the incident with Carol Inunza still left a bad taste in her mouth. Not just from representing her after she helped Miss Purrception escape from prison, but putting her in the position that she had to save her previous employer from plummeting to his death.

Patty laid a hand on Aisha’s forearm. “He has a right to ask about situations he might face.” She turned back to Dajon. “Those aren’t even the people you need to worry about, though it’s good you did your homework about a potential employer.”

“They aren’t?” Both of Dajon’s perfectly plucked eyebrows rose.

“Nope.” Patty shook her head, her blond curls flying. “Actually, it’s the kids who live in the building.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t say it was the attorneys,” Aisha said dryly.

Patty ignored her. “You’ll be taking care of my daughter Grace, and Aisha’s son Mitch, except during college breaks when you’ll have Francisco to watch, too.”

“Why would I be watching a guy old enough to go to college?” Poor Dajon looked totally perplexed.

“Francisco is only eight,” Aisha clarified. “He’s our building manager’s son and a certified genius. He finished high school last year.”

“Oh.” Relief passed across Dajon’s face. “That makes a lot more sense.”

“You will also be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement,” Aisha added.

Dajon waved both of his hands. “I’d never post anything regarding your children on social media. I’m all too aware of the pervs out there.”

Aisha tilted her head. “Actually, it’s because you may accidentally run into clients, but it’s good to know you’ll protect our babies.”

“You’ll also need to take some weapons training,” Patty said.

Aisha looked over at their assistant’s notepad. She really should have gone over Patty’s interview questions with her prior to their first potential candidate. Patty was usually so practical, but some of her statements would sound crazy to a person who’d never been involved in real super culture, and not the crap they saw on videos and entertainment programs.

“Weapons training?” Once again, Dajon’s eyebrows rose.

“Just in case a supervillain shows up when no one else is in the building,” Patty chirped. “We’ll totally brief you on all the building’s security measures.”

“Supervillains waltz right into your office?” A tremor filled Dajon’s voice.

“They’ve tried,” Aisha bit out. “Your priority if security is breached will be to get the kids to safety. Just like if there was a fire, an earthquake, or any other emergency situation.”

The young man leaned back against the couch. “Jeremy said you all would have some crazy requirements, but I thought he was yanking my leg.”

A sinking feeling dragged at Aisha. They were losing this kid though he was the best candidate she’d talked to on the phone.

“They’re not that unusual,” she said smoothly.

“Unless Grace’s biological father shows up,” Patty said.

“Is it a joint custody arrangement?” he asked.

Patty snorted. “Not after he killed my boyfriend Arthur and tried to Harri. The judge gave me a restraining order after that.”

“Your ex killed your boyfriend?” Fear rolled off Dajon. Aisha wished she could ditched her heightened sense of smell. It was bad enough she knew when Mitch soiled his diaper before he even woke up.

“There’s a little more to the story than that,” she said calmly.

“I’m sure there is,” he said with an air of doubt.

“I know how crazy this all sounds.” Patty leaned forward, her elbows on her knees. “I didn’t really understand what superheroes go through until Harri and Aisha started this firm. But they’re dedicated to both their clients and their jobs, and they do right by both.”

“So…” Dajon drawled. “My real job is to give my charges a sense of normalcy out of their parents’ crazy lives.”

Aisha and Patty looked at each other before they both turned back to their candidate and nodded.

“That pretty much sums it up,” Aisha added.

“I can do that.” Dajon grinned.

“Did you have any other questions for us?” Aisha said.

He turned solemn. “I do, but it comes from a safety concern. Are either of the babies supers themselves?” He held up both of his palms when Aisha opened her mouth. “I’m not being nosey for the sake of gossip. I just don’t want one of the babies to set fire to the other one.” He shrugged. “Or if there’s the potential, we make sure there’s plenty of fire extinguishers in the daycare room.”

Aisha could feel Patty staring at her. She swallowed hard before she said. “Yes, they both are.”

Dajon nodded. “I swear that information will not leave this building, ma’am. Jeremy also mentioned you may be expanding the daycare down the road?”

Aisha nodded. “We’re looking for an associate or two. We want to make the daycare an option to any potential employees.”

“Even me?” Dajon said tentatively.

“Of course,” Patty volunteered. “But just to warn you, everyone at Winters and Franklin is a little too involved in each others’ lives. How’s your parents going to handle spending holidays with us?”

“Uh, my parents kicked me to the curb when I came out of the closet,” he said stiffly.

Aisha stifled the urge to hug Dajon. No wonder Jeremy took the kid under his wing. Her parents had taken in Jeremy after his parents did the same thing to him when they caught him kissing his boyfriend their freshmen year in high school.

“Then we’ll be the insufferably family you wish had,” Patty said brightly.

That seemed to lighten his mood. “Did you have any other questions for me?”

“You never said what you do for fun,” Aisha said.

He lifted his chin as if daring her to make a nasty comment. “I crochet while I watch TV.”

“That’s awesome! Me, too!” Patty said. “I’m still learning the shell stitch. I’ve been working on blankets for all the kids, but I want to stretch…”

Aisha’s mind glazed over as Patty and Dajon compared lemons and primroses and puffs. Then they switched to the different types of yarns. Natural fiber versus artificial fiber. Plant versus animal. The different types of hooks. Metal versus wooden versus plastic.

“If you two want to continue your conversation, why don’t you adjourn to the conference room?” Aisha cocked her head. “I’ve got a lot of work to do.” A horrified look appeared on Dajon’s face. “I, um, I—”

Patty winced. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent. It’s not like any of you gals here are into the same things I am.”

Aisha smiled. “I didn’t say you couldn’t continue talking. Don’t worry, Dajon. If I held people’s hobbies against them, I would never be partners with Harri and Susan.” She leaned forward and mock whispered, “They like golf.”

He laughed. “Well, it is a white thing.”

Patty stood. “Come on, Dajon. You and I are going to continue talking. She does have to make the money to pay our salaries.”

He stood and held out his hand to Aisha. “If you decide I’m the right one for this job, I’d be honored to work your firm, Ms. Franklin.”

She rose and shook his hand. “Thank you for coming in, Mr. Keeler.”

He followed Patty out of Aisha’s office, the pair animatedly talking about a local craft shop.

Aisha shook her head while she crossed to her desk. She plopped on the office chair and reached for the file at the top of her to-do file. Hopefully, Patty wouldn’t make the kid an offer before talking with the partners. They still had three more people to interview.

On the other hand, Patty and Arthur may end up adopting Dajon, even though he was only a year younger than her from Patty’s animated conversation with their potential nanny.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

A Very HERO Wedding - Chapter 2

Here's the unedited version of A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 2.


Harri stomped back into her office and slammed the door. Why the hell didn’t Aisha get the fact their fledgling law firm was too new for a partner to take a year off? Because no matter what she said about remote working from Paris while Rey attended culinary school, they couldn’t take the chance of Mitch developing his powers around some French au pair.

Which meant Aisha would need to be a full-time mother. Plus, there was the time difference between the western United States and France. There was simply no way for her to continue practicing law full-time.

Harri threw herself in her office chair and stared at the pile of paperwork sitting in her to-do box. The firm had too much business as it was. They had been turning away potential clients for the last couple of months after they successfully defended Ultramegaperson on charges of mass murder in the Golden Gate Bridge collapse. While she’d spent most of her professional life in the city legal department, she was all too aware of what happened to any type of business that grew too fast.

She’d thrown every last cent she had into starting up this firm. Worse, she knew she couldn’t do this without Aisha.

Sure, Susan was a decent IP attorney, but Aisha’s knowledge and expertise of superhero law outstripped both Harri and Susan put together. Not to mention the endorsements of Aisha’s superhero persona gave her a secondary income stream. Something Harri didn’t have.

Was that the real problem? Was she jealous that Aisha earned more money than she did? But Aisha had always earned more since they graduated from law school because she’d gone into the private sector. If it didn’t matter before, why did it matter now?

A slight knock on the office door intruded on Harri’s pouting fit. She took a deep breath before she called out, “Come in!”

The aroma of fresh-brewed coffee entered before Patty with a steaming cup. She closed the office door before she strode over to Harri’s desk and replaced the empty mug on the coaster with the fresh cup.

Harri looked inside the cup. It wasn’t her usual straight black. The liquid had a creamy brown appearance. She took a suspicious sniff. Cinnamon blended with the java. She eyed Patty.

Her assistant shrugged. “I’ve noticed someone else has been using the cinnamon-flavored creamer besides me. Given everybody else’s tastes, it had to be you.”

Damn. Harri rolled her eyes. She tried something new a couple of times, and now, Patty believed it’s what she wanted all the time. However, she couldn’t take her pissy mood out on the younger woman. She needed Patty’s skills even more than she needed Aisha’s.

“Thank you,” Harri said as she picked up the mug. “But next time, ask me first please. Did you need something in particular?”

“I thought you might want to talk.” Patty sat in one of the visitor chairs, her fingers clenched around the empty cup. “That was a pretty bad argument among you guys this morning. Not a good sign when all three partners are yelling at each other like that.”

“I know.” Harri sighed and sipped her cinnamon coffee. It was definitely a flavor that could become an addiction, though right now, she’d prefer a shot of whiskey in her mug. “I’m really sorry about that.”

Patty cocked her head. “Is this a serious problem, or is it your abandonment issues rearing their head again?”

Harri swallowed her defensive streak and considered the situation. Everyone in the building had called her on her emotional issues at one time or another, but only Patty had lost her parents at a young age like Harri had, and Patty was the most likely to listen instead of judge.

“It’s probably a little of both, but definitely serious if we lose a partner,” Harri admitted.

Patty cocked her head. “So why are you doing you damnedest to chase Aisha away?”

Harri paused in mid-sip. “I’m not trying to chase her away. I’m pointing out why this Paris thing isn’t a good idea.”

“You also promised to hire an associate this year, and it’s the beginning of September.” Patty crossed her arms. “Instead, you’ve been trying to push me to go to law school. You’ve dumped a ton of work on Steve, who’s not even a second-year law student yet. Not to mention, Aisha’s been pulling more than her fair share of the load while being a new mother and a superhero.”

Guilt poked at Harri’s conscience. Was that the problem? Aisha did everything perfectly. Sweet kid. Gorgeous husband. Awesome double career.

All while Harri could barely keep it together with one career and a boyfriend. It had been different when they were both freshly divorced, no kids, and no one else to lean on besides each other and Jeremy.

Then there was reality.

“Our firm isn’t at the point where a partner can take a year’s sabbatical,” Harri protested. “Our doors have only been open for a little over a year.”

Patty shook her head. “Will we ever be at a point were one of us could take some time off?”

“Probably not,” Harri reluctantly admitted.

“And that’s your personal insecurity talking.” Patty leaned her elbows on Harri’s desk. “What are you going to do when Arthur and I need time off for our wedding and honeymoon?”

“Did he pop the question?” The news yanked Harri out of her funk. Their IT guru was madly in love with Patty and adored Patty’s daughter Grace. He may be a genius, but his self-esteem when it came to personal relationships could be precarious at best.

“Not yet, and don’t you dare say a word to him.” Patty narrowed her eyes. “He’ll ask me when he’s ready. Not before. And that’s the point. I’m not letting my insecurities about abandonment run rampant when it comes to our relationship. Arthur loves me, and he shows me in a million ways Cade never could.” Harri took another sip of coffee to keep from reacting to her assistant’s statement. Patty’s ex-boyfriend, Cade Wilson AKA Black Death, had escaped from prison earlier this year. It was the first time Patty had even mentioned him since he killed Arthur last year. Only Baby Grace had saved Arthur, and none of their immediate circle understood why or how Grace’s powers had manifested that one time to bring Arthur back to life.

Even more worrisome was if Harri’s goddaughter could kill like her father could as well as heal. But if she brought up the subject, Patty would accuse her of deflecting from the more pertinent issue.

“Anything else you need to lecture me about this morning?” Harri asked.

“Yes, apologize to both Aisha and Susan before they quit, and find that associate you promised you would hire.” Patty rose to her feet. “Now, Aisha and have our own interviewing to do.”

“Molly offered to watch the kids—” Harri started. And Molly Reinhold AKA Nix had been rather put out when Aisha insisted the girl go back to college and earn her degree instead of babysitting Mitch.

“She needs her own life,” Patty snapped. “She’s only twenty-three.”

“So were you when Grace was born,” Harri shot back.

“I am not having this argument with you.” Patty pivoted on her sensible flats and marched out of Harri’s office. Surprisingly, she closed the door gently behind her.

Harri sipped more her coffee. What the hell was going on with everyone in the Law Office of Winters and Franklin? Did they expect her to be a figurehead? She was only looking for the most reasonable solutions to their problems, but everyone reacted like she was a tyrant.

She reached for the case file on the top of her inbox. Maybe the best way to deal with her irritation was to get some work done.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Very Hero Wedding - Chapter 1

As promised, here's the first of a few sample chapters from my next release. . .


The heat inside the Lechuza Building didn’t match the last blaze of sweltering summer in Canyon Pointe. No, the heat inside was much worse. Nor could it be soothed by the iced version of Aisha Franklin’s favorite no-fat, sugar-free peppermint mocha.

As much as she wanted to see her blood kin at her baby brother’s wedding, she wished she could leave her adopted family behind. She glared at her law partner and best friend, Harri Winters, who sat across their office conference room table.

“We need someone to cover the office. We can’t leave for a week with no one—”

“Then find someone we can trust!” Harri yelled.

“I said I would stay—” Susan Kennedy, their third and newest partner, started to say.

“No!” Aisha and Harri shouted at the same time.

Loud banging filled the room before Patty Ames, their legal assistant and all-around Girl Friday, shoved the door open. “Keep it down in here. The clients on the phone can hear you.”

Patty didn’t yell. She used what their tenants, the Esperanza boys, referred to as her “Mommy-growly” voice. Not even Aisha’s husband Rey or her brother-in-law Steve messed with Patty when she used that voice, and they were both supers.

“We’re sorry,” Aisha said. “We’ll be quieter.”

“Harri?” Patty’s voice carried an obvious warning. Ever since her daughter Grace was born, their assistant acted more and more like their boss. Or their mother.

“I’ll be quiet, Patty,” Harri grumbled.

“Thank you.” Patty closed the conference room door behind her.

“All I’m saying is opposing counsel will use the opportunity of the office being closed to pull shenanigans,” Aisha said.

“Because that’s what you’d do,” Harri snapped.

“Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?” Susan asked. When Aisha glared at her, Susan held up her palms. “Was that racist? I swear I wasn’t going there.”

Aisha blew out a deep breath. “Too bad Steve isn’t licensed yet. We could stick him with desk duty as the newbie.”

“Why don’t we?” Susan said. “He’s not going to Martin’s wedding because of classes. He’s taking the legal clinic at the law school next year. Let’s give him the experience. If something happens and he needs a licensed attorney, he can call one of us.”

Aisha exchanged looks with Harri. “It’s a good idea. I’ll fly home if there’s a major problem.”

“You can’t,” Harri said. “It’s your brother’s wedding.”

“You can’t,” Aisha replied. “It’s your foster brother’s wedding.”

Susan waved her arms. “Excuse me! I said I would stay from the beginning.”

“Shhhhh!” Aisha and Harri said at the same time.

Harri glanced over her shoulder, but the conference room door didn’t open. She looked at Susan. “You don’t want her back in here, yelling at us, do you?” “So, we’re agreed?” Aisha said. “Steve handles the phones except when he’s in class?”

“What about when he’s not in class?” Harri asked.

“What about Javier’s friend Josie?” Aisha suggested.

Harri shook her head. “She’s finally back in school. I don’t mind giving her odd jobs around the building on the weekends and summer, but I am not giving her an excuse to drop out. What about her mom Veronica? Javier said something about her losing her job again.”

Aisha slowly nodded. “Yeah, that might work.” Like a lot of people in the neighborhood, Veronica had grabbed her kids and fled north because of trouble in Central America. In their case, Veronica’s family had immigrated legally. However, Veronica had a lot of trouble getting her teaching certification in the U.S. She fell into a downward spiral her pride and American prejudice wouldn’t let her pull out of. Maybe this was a chance to do some good. “I’ll talk to her.”

“I can do it,” Harri said.

“Your Spanish sucks,” Aisha and Susan said in unison.

“I’ve been—” Harri started loudly. When Aisha hiss and pointed at the door, Harri lowered the volume of her voice. “I’ve been practicing.”

“I’ll talk with Veronica,” Aisha said.

“You mean the Ghost Owl will talk with Veronica.” Harri crossed her arms and sulked.

“The Ghost Owl will get through to her better than a bunch of stuckup gringa lawyers,” Susan said.

“She’s got a point,” Aisha said.

“Fine,” Harri said while she stood. “Anything else we need to talk about?”

Both Aisha and Susan shook their heads.

“Fine,” Harri repeated before she stomped out of the conference room.

“What the hell crawled up her butt?” Susan muttered. “It’s just a wedding. I’m not even sure why your brother invited me.”

“This isn’t about the wedding,” Aisha replied.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” Susan rolled her eyes. “This is still about the Paris thing?”

“Unfortunately.” Aisha tapped her nails against the conference table. Harri better get her shit sorted before they flew to Atlanta for Martin’s wedding. Otherwise, Aisha might just drop her best friend from thirty thousand feet.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

'Twas the Night Before Release Day

All right, Precious Readers! A Hand of Father has been uploaded on Amazon and will be available tomorrow. I'm still working on getting the previous books in the Justice series uploaded on the other retailers.

(For those of you who detest Amazon, I understand and I apologize for getting so behind over the last year and a half. I blame COVID. However it's a virus, and it really doesn't give a shit about me blaming it.)

Now for a question to you all:

I plan to post a Free Short Story in September. I'm giving you an opportunity to vote on what you'd like to read.

a) A totally new, unrelated fantasy story

b) A totally new, unrelated sci-fi story

c) A Justice short story

d) A prequel story set in the upcoming Soccer Moms of the Apocalypse universe.

Vote in the comments below!