Cover problem

Had a bit of a problem yesterday. There’s another book on Amazon that uses the same stock photo as my cover. Publisher and I decided to not change our cover. The photo so matches the main character whom I described before I ever saw the picture. My first thought on seeing the photo, “That’s Sean!”



Coming next month

Andy got out of his car at the lakefront a few minutes before eight.

A bulldozer, three logging trucks, a crane, and a truck equipped with a giant saw on the back stood between the lake and the woods.

The sky was cloudless, there was not even a hint of a breeze, and the temperature was unseasonably warm, especially for so early in the morning.

James Buckler stood beside the bulldozer. He wiped his face with a handkerchief as a news truck pulled into the clearing next to the logging trucks, and a reporter and photographer got out.

Andy smiled inwardly. Buckner was acting nervous. Maybe the talk of witches was getting to him. Or it could be the mind-talking. Hearing voices and not knowing what it was about would be unnerving. He was glad Sean had explained it to him.

The photographer turned a video camera on the assembled group.

“You people have no business here,” James Buckler said to the gathered crowd. “Go on home and stay home.”

“We’re just watching to see what happens when you try to clear the woods,” Bill Davis said. “We’ll see how the witches handle things.”

James’ face turned red in anger. “I told you there’s no such thing as a witch!”

The reporter approached James. “Mr. Buckler, how do you propose to clear that hedge? The townspeople seem to believe the woods are protected by witches.”

“Really? In this day and age, you believe in witches?”

“Didn’t say I believe, but the townspeople seem to. What’s going to happen to the trees?” He held the microphone toward James.

A fake smile covered James’ face as he handed him a folder. “Here’s the official statement regarding these proceedings from Aronson Resorts. You’ll find architects’ drawings of the planned facility. The wood from the trees has already been negotiated for with a fencing company. The proceeds will be used to offset the cost of construction.”

A black limo pulled up, and the mayor and governor emerged.

Are you ready Andy? Sean’s calm voice sounded in his head. Look to the top of the hill.

He turned his head. Ready as I’ll ever be. “Look!” He pointed to the top of the hill as three hooded figures appeared out of nowhere. Two tall figures flanked a third about a foot shorter. All three held tall staffs. A huge black bird perched on the shoulder of one of the taller figures, and an enormous black dog stood beside the other. “There. See. The witches.”

The photographer turned his video camera toward the three.

The figure with the raven raised his hand and pointed a finger toward the photographer. A red stream, almost like a laser beam, followed the trajectory of the finger.

The camera fell from his hands.

The reporter glared at him. “What happened? Why did you drop the camera? That thing is delicate and expensive. You break it, it’ll come out of your pay.”

“It felt like it’s on fire.” The photographer shook his hands and blew on them.

The reporter turned to James. “Do you foresee trouble?”

James shook his head. “If they think they can scare us into stopping this, they’re very much mistaken. It’s just three people dressed in robes. That one must have a laser gun.”

“We’ll see,” Andy said. “They may do more than try to scare you.”

The governor looked around at the assembled equipment. “Are we ready to break ground?” He was sweating, and his eyes darted around the area nervously.

“Ready when you are.” James handed the governor an axe and pointed toward a small tree. “If you’ll chop that sapling, the photographer will take a picture, and we can get started. The ‘dozer will make quick work of the hedge around the trees, and then we can cut the taller trees down.”

The governor looked at the photographer. “Be sure and film me from the front and from the waist up. I don’t want my paunch to show.”

The photographer nodded, gingerly picked the camera up from the ground, and moved to get a better shot.

The governor took the axe from James and moved toward the sapling.

On the hill, Sean, Kyra, and Kieran raised their joined hands. Their voices carried to the assembled group as if they were speaking through amplifiers. As one, they said:

“We call upon the power of three.

As we will, so mote it be.”

Then the figure with the bird raised his arms, pointed the top of his staff toward the woods, and chanted:

“Let the trees their voices scream,

Let their bright, red blood be seen.

I call on Flidais, ‘Hear my plea.’

As I will, so mote it be.”

He turned his other hand over, and something fluttered to the ground.

The governor raised the axe and struck the sapling, felling it with one blow. An earsplitting scream echoed through the air. It sounded as if it came from the sapling as it fell.

A loud wailing, like the sound of a thousand voices, arose from the woods. Although the people felt not even a small breeze, it looked like a hurricane had hit the woods. Branches waved in the air as if the trees were waving their arms.

A red substance oozed from the stump of the sapling.

Bill Davis pointed at the stump. “Look! The tree’s bleeding!”

A waving branch from one of the younger trees caught James on the shoulder and nearly knocked him down.

“It’s the witches!” a woman called. “The trees are protecting their own.”

The governor cowered behind the mayor and grabbed her arm, his eyes wild with fear.

“You pantywaist, get away from me!” She pulled her arm away.

The shortest figure pointed its staff at the lake and a female voice intoned:

“Mighty Morgan, I call on thee.

Let the waves roll wild and free.

Let the winds stir up the sea.

As I will, so mote it be.”

The woman made a motion of waves with her hand.

James hurriedly stepped away from the lake as waves whipped up by strong, gale-force winds rose to a height tall enough to please the most avid surfer and crashed against the shore of the usually calm water. Each wave brought the waters of the lake closer to the group, the equipment, and the trucks.

The governor ran and stood beside the limo.

Larry Stewart spoke, “It’s just like the story my dad told last night about my grandfather trying to put a boat in the water. The lake wouldn’t allow it.”

The third figure raised its staff:

“Taranis, we call upon your lightning.

Let it strike an it harm none,

Just kill the beast that eats our trees.

As I will, so mote it be.”

He struck the ground with his staff.

Visible rays of light rose from the head of the staff.

Lightning flickered across the clear sky, and thunder immediately exploded in a deafening roar that shook the ground. A bolt of lightning struck the bulldozer. Smoke rose from the engine, and the smell of burning oil filled the air. Rain poured in buckets from the cloudless sky. The tracks of the ‘dozer sank into the fast-developing mud. Most of the crowd raced for the shelter of their cars leaving only a handful of people standing in the rain.

As the crowd stared at the trio on the hill, their bodies shimmered with light, and they disappeared leaving three clouds of energy.

Andy ducked his head to hide his grin.

“Who were those people?” the governor asked. “Where did they go?” He looked around wildly and grabbed James’ arm.

“We warned you,” Andy answered. “The witches of Witches’ Woods don’t want you here.”

James pulled away from the governor. “I told you people, there is no such thing as a witch.” He stomped his foot like a petulant child.

It’s been a while

Sometimes I wonder why I have a blog other than they told me that as an author I should have one.

So what have I been up to lately?

Working with publisher on cover for Witches Woods – due out in November.

Working on a shifter/mystery series with a co-author. First book has been received back from betas and is in editing process.

Second book is in process.

Did a beta read for a Y/A Sci-fi series by my co-author under a new pen name. Two books written/third in process.

Trying to stay cool in nearly 100-degree heat.

Updating bio in Queeromance Ink.

Starting new writers’ group for writers of LGBT fiction in the Kansas City area.


The Adventures of Damien and Drew – Part II

This will be the last chapter for a while. Watch for the continuing adventures later this summer.

Chapter three

Drew followed Damien out of the house. He looked around the small area since he hadn’t gotten a good look around last night because of the dark.

The two-story, A-frame log cabin nestled in the middle of a grove of evergreens. Their branches shadowed the roof letting only a bare sliver of sunlight reach the ground. It would be nearly impossible to see the cabin from above. Only a small foot trail led into the small area around the cabin. There was no way for a vehicle to get close.

The motorcycle stood next to the steps of the porch.

The air was heavy with the scent of pine.

A squirrel chattered from a low-hanging branch.

Damien handed him the helmet along with a small case. “Here, put your cell phone in this. I know it wasn’t damaged last night, but let’s not take any chances. This will protect it from my magic.” He mounted the bike.

Drew donned the helmet, climbed on behind him, and placed his arms around Damien’s waist. “Are you sure I won’t fall off?”

“See the strap around my chest? Just hold on to that and don’t worry. You’re safe.”

Damien’s muscles hardened, wings spread out from his body, and Drew found himself again lying on the back of a dragon.

He held on to the strap, tightened his legs, and raised his head. The ground seemed to fall away below them, and the cabin disappeared, completely hidden by the trees. The wind threatened to pull him off, and he grabbed the strap tighter.

Are you okay?

“I think so.”

Don’t try to talk; I won’t hear you. Just think what you want to say.

Are you sure I’m not going to fall?

Like I said last night, I’ll drop the bike before I let you fall.

Drew snickered. I can just see someone walking along and a motorcycle falls out of the sky.

* * *

Damien landed the motorcycle in an ally a few blocks from the restaurant. “Where do you want to go?”

“I need to get my car from the restaurant parking lot and then go home.”

As Drew dismounted from the bike, Damien asked, “Do you want me to come with you?”

Drew inhaled deeply. “I’d probably better do this myself. Mom isn’t going to be happy. When will I see you again?”

“I’ll pick you up after work. Are you going to give your boss notice?”

“Yeah. I don’t know if he’ll want me to work a few days until he can replace me. Probably he’ll just give some of the other waiters my hours.”

“Okay.” Damien leaned in and kissed him. “See you later.”

Drew drove home.

As he pulled into the driveway, his mother came running out. “Are you okay?”

“Mom, I told you I’m fine. I’m not a baby anymore.”

She grabbed him in a tight hold. “I don’t care how old you are, I still worry.”

Drew kissed her cheek. “I’m okay.”

As they walked toward the house, his mother asked, “What happened last night. I know you said that man is a government agent of some kind. But what do you know about him? You just took off with a stranger? Did he threaten you or something?”

“No, Mom. He didn’t threaten me.” Drew opened the door and stood back for his mother to enter. “There was something about him that attracted me.”

“I know you’re an adult gay male, and I’ve heard stories. Did you sleep with him?”

“Mom, I don’t want to discuss my sex life with my mother.” Drew walked into the kitchen, pulled a can of soda from the fridge, popped the top, and took a long drink.

“I’m sorry. I just want to be sure you’re safe.”

“Don’t worry about me. I need to get ready for work.”

“Are you going to see him again?”

“Yes, Mother. In fact, I’m going back to his place tonight after work. Whether I come back tomorrow depends on what Mr. Snider says when I give my notice.”

“Where does this man live? Can I visit you there?”

“We’ll have to talk about that later. I’m not really sure how to get there. Like I said, he’s with a government agency. There’s a lot of secrecy involved. I had to be blindfolded to go there.” He figured that was better than telling her he flew there on the back of a dragon. “You’ll just have to trust me on this.” He turned and walked toward the stairs to his apartment.

“Will you stay in touch?”

“I’ll have my phone with me.”

“Call me.”

“We’ll talk every day, I promise.”

* * *

Drew walked into the restaurant and was met by Larry.

“That was some excitement last night. Where did you disappear to?”

“I went home with Damien.” Drew looked at the seating chart on the host desk and located his section for the night.

“Is that his name? According to gossip, he’s some kind of government agent.”

“Yes, he’s kind of like an FBI agent. Is Snider in his office?”

“Yeah, I think so. Why?”

“I’m turning in my notice. This may be my last night.”

* * *

Drew walked out the back door of the restaurant and found Damien waiting. He climbed on behind him on the bike and they roared out of the parking lot.


I have to apologize

I’m sorry there is no new chapter of Damien and Drew. I have been too sick to write.

Here’s a funny little true story from my childhood.

Grandma and the Snakes

Now, I am not afraid of snakes as long as I know they are not poisonous, but my Grandma Bennett was terrified of even a garter snake.

One fall when I was in junior high school, three of my classmates and I decided we wanted to ‘camp out’ at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Grandpa agreed we could camp down in the woods past the pond. Then Grandma got in on things. “Now you girls can’t sleep on the ground. A snake will come and crawl in bed with you.” So she told Grandpa to take the hay wagon down for us to sleep on. “But, don’t park it under a tree. A snake will climb the tree and jump down on them.” So Grandpa took the hay wagon down and parked it out in the open field for us to sleep on. I don’t think he realized he parked it in a pile of dry leaves.

Anyone who knows anything about teenaged girls knows a sleep over is never about sleeping. We were having a good time when, about 2 in the morning, one of the tires on the hay wagon sprung a leak. The air leaking from the tire caused the dry leave to rattle. If you can imagine four teenaged girls screaming at the top of their lungs because we were sure we were parked right in a nest of rattle snakes.

I’m surprised Grandpa and the closest neighbor (1/4 mile away) didn’t come out with shotguns thinking we were all being murdered.

The Adventures of Damien and Drew – Part II

Chapter two

Drew sat beside the window. His heels were drawn up to the edge of the chair seat in front of his butt, his arms were wrapped around his legs, and his chin rested on his knees. A blanket covered his bare back, and he held the corners of it in his hands.

Thoughts buzzed in his brain like bees gathering nectar from a field of clover:

Where was he?

How did he get here?

Who or what was the man sleeping in the bed in front of him?

What happened last night? Men don’t turn into wolves, and there’s no such thing as dragons.

Damien stretched and opened his eyes.

Drew was again pulled into those bright green, swirling eyes.

“What are you thinking?”

“My thoughts are all jumbled right now. I have a million questions.”

“Start with one.”

“Who are you? What are you? Where am I? How did I get here?”

“Whoa. One at a time.” Damien sat up in the bed. “First question, who am I? My name is Damien Talon. What am I? I’m an enforcer for the Council of Shifters. If you mean what kind of creature am I, I’m a dragon shifter. Where are you? In my home. I can’t tell you where that is at this time. Maybe if you stick around, I’ll tell you someday. How did you get here? On my back.

Drew shook his head as if in a daze. “So are you dragon or human?”

“Both.” Damien grinned. “I know it’s hard for a human to comprehend that shifters exist, but we do. My job is to help the shifter community keep a low profile. Humans would freak out if they knew how many shifters live among them. Both of my parents are dragon shifters. They were in human form when I was conceived, and my mother was human when I was born.” He paused. “It’s hard for me to say which form is more natural, but most of the time I stay in human form. Mainly because it’s easier to traverse the human world. Next question.”

“Can I go home, or am I a prisoner?”

Damien chuckled. “Did you feel like a prisoner last night?”

Drew ducked his head and his cheeks warmed as he remembered the nearly sleepless night in Damien’s arms.

“You can go home. You can stay. You can go back and forth. However, for now you can only travel between here and there if I take you. If you want to go, I won’t hold you.”

“What happens if I stay, or if I go and come back?”

“Who knows? We get to know each other better, and maybe become full partners. It’s up to you.”

Drew stood, walked to the bed, and crawled in beside Damien. “I think I’ll stay for now, but I would like to go home and get some clean clothes. I don’t like wearing my work clothes all the time. Plus, I owe it to my boss to give notice and my parents will be worried about me.”

“You live with your parents?”

“Kind of. I have an apartment in their basement.”

“That can all be taken care of later.” Damien lifted the covers and patted the mattress beside him. “Aren’t you cold? Come back to bed and let me warm you.”

Drew stood and walked to the bed.

* * *

Drew struggled to wake up. The ringtone on his cell phone told him the caller was his mother. It stopped before he could get to it. He sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed his eyes.

Damien stroked his back. “Was that your phone? You’re lucky my shifting with you on my back didn’t fry it. Magic can sometimes do that.”

“Yeah. It was my mom’s ringtone. She’s probably worried about me.”

“Cracklin’ Rosie by Neil Diamond?”

“She’s a big fan, and her name is Rose.” He walked to where his pants lay on the floor, picked them up, and pulled the phone from his pocket. The flashing icon indicated a voice mail. He pushed the play button, and put it on speaker.

His mother’s voice asked, “Where are you? Why don’t you answer? Are you okay? The news said you rode off with some stranger on a motorcycle. Are you alive? Please call me.”

“Sounds to me like you’d better call her.” Damien’s eyes sparkled with silent laughter. “I know if it were my mother, that tone would mean I’m in big trouble.”

Drew dialed his parents’ home number and waited. He left his phone on speaker.


“Hi, Mom.”

“Where are you? I’ve been worried sick since last night after what happened at the restaurant.”

“I’m at a friend’s house. I told you when I moved into Grandma’s old apartment in the basement there might be nights I don’t come home.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “Remember, I’m a twenty-five-year-old gay man, not a teenager. And what do you mean about what happened at the restaurant?”

“The news said that some man chased another man and tackled him, and then two men landed in a helicopter and took him away.”

Drew turned and looked at Damien who shrugged.

“Yeah that’s pretty much what happened,” Drew admitted.

“And you rode off with the guy who tackled the other one.”

“That’s right. He’s an agent for a government agency. Kind of like the FBI. The man he tackled is a murderer. The two men in the helicopter were his superiors and took the man to jail.”

“Are you okay? Where are you? When will you be home?”

“I’m fine. I’m at Damien’s house. I have to work tonight, so I’ll be home this afternoon.”

“Just be careful, Drew. I love you.”

“Don’t worry, Mom. I’m fine. See you this afternoon. Love you too.” He ended the call and sat on the bed beside Damien. “Was that what you meant about erasing my memory? That didn’t sound like what I saw last night.”

“Can you imagine the panic if people started talking about men who turn into wolves and dragons? Like I said, it’s up to me and those like me to keep a low profile.” Damien lifted the covers. “Now come on back to bed.”

“Is that all you think about?”

“Can you think of something better?”

“Well, right now I’m getting a bit hungry. It’s been a long time since dinner, and I’ve burned a lot of calories since then.”

“Okay. Breakfast it is.” Damien threw off the covers and stepped toward Drew.

Drew almost wavered at the sight of Damien’s nearly perfect body and shimmering eyes. He blinked and the eyes returned to normal.


The Adventures of Damien and Drew – Part II

Part II

Drew Meets a Dragon

Chapter one

Drew Jackson turned toward the kitchen with the order he’d just taken. His stomach clenched. A strange feeling of déjà vu engulfed him, and his attention was drawn to the door.

A tall blond man followed the host to the back of the dining room, and was seated at table 29 which wasn’t in Drew’s section.

He stopped Larry Davis who was coming back from the kitchen. “Tip’s yours if you’ll let me take 29. You can finish up table 10 and get both tips.”

Larry turned and looked. “Okay. He’s more your type than mine,” he quipped.

Drew hooked his order on the wheel.

One of the cooks looked like he’d seen a ghost.

“You okay, Bush? You look upset.”

“Just felt like someone walked over my grave as they say.”

Drew approached table 29. “Good evening, sir. My name is Drew, and I’ll be taking care of you this evening. Can I start you with a glass of wine or a cocktail?”

The man ordered a cola and a blooming onion, and then looked up.

Drew looked into eyes the color of new grass in the spring. Instead of usual eyeballs, there was no white around the iris which looked like a many-faceted emerald. As Drew stared, the eyes seemed to spin like a whirlpool. His heart skipped a beat, and a distant memory stirred deep inside. He blinked. When he looked again, the eyes looked normal. He turned from the table, walked to the kitchen, placed the order for the onion, leaned over with his hands on his knees, and took several deep breaths.

Larry placed his hand on Drew’s back. “Are you okay?”

Drew took a deep breath. “Have you ever seen someone for the first time and felt like you knew them in a previous life?”

“Can’t say as I have. Don’t believe in that reincarnation stuff.” Larry placed his order on the wheel. “Do you need me to take over?”

Drew straightened up. “I’ll be okay.”

Larry winked. “He is good looking.”

“Yeah.” Drew turned, walked back to the dining room, and took the man’s cola to the table. “Have you decided on dinner?” He blinked once more as the man’s green eyes again appeared to spin.

The man ordered the largest sirloin. “Make it as rare as the law will let you serve it.”

When Drew brought the onion, the man requested another cola.

Back in the kitchen, Drew picked up the plate with the steak. It wasn’t even browned; blood seeped from under it. How could anyone eat meat that close to raw. He carried it to the table and set it in front of the man. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

The man’s green eyes twinkled with silent laughter. “Your phone number?”

“Sorry. That isn’t on the menu.”

He waited on a couple other tables all the while keeping an eye on the blond man. He took the man’s credit card and noticed the name. “Damien? Wasn’t that the demon in The Omen?” Drew rang up the sale, and wrote, I get off at 10:30, on the back of the customer’s copy.

* * *

Drew walked out the back door with Larry and Bush. He saw Damien sitting under a street light on a big silver Harley and started toward him.

Suddenly Bush started running.

Damien said, “Sorry, Drew. You need to wait a few minutes. I’ll be right back.” He jumped off of the cycle and ran after Bush.

Then impossible things started happening. Bush turned into a wolf. Damien became a dragon, flew after him, and tackled him to the ground. Bush and Damien again became men.

Two more dragons appeared out of nowhere, and turned into men.

One of them tied a rope around Bush.

They both shifted back into dragons, and flew off carrying Bush.

Damien walked to the motorcycle, took a helmet off the handlebars, and held it out to Drew.

Drew stared at him for a couple of seconds. “What the Hell just happened?”

Damien smiled. “You can come with me, and I’ll explain later. That way, you’ll remember everything that you just saw. Or, you can stay here and not remember anything. Ready?”

Drew looked at Damien’s eyes that were again whirling. “For what?”

“An adventure.”

His heart beat faster, and the feeling of déjà vu seeped into his brain. “Why not?” He took the helmet, placed it on his head, and straddled the bike behind Damien.

As the bike started moving, Drew felt the body in front of him grow larger. He found himself lying down with his arms around what felt like the dragon’s neck. Looking down, he saw the lights of the town far below. He shivered and closed his eyes in fear.

He heard Damien’s voice in his head. Don’t be afraid. I’ll drop the cycle before I let you fall.

It seemed an eternity before he felt Damien start to descend. The body under him shrank, and he was again on the back of the motorcycle with his arms around Damien’s waist.

They landed in front of a large log house in the middle of a pine forest.

Drew’s heart beat faster, and his groin tightened as Damien took his hand and led him into the house.