FALLING, ADALTA VOL III, CHAPTER ONE

Now that Hunter, Adalta II is alive and on Amazon, I finally have time to go back to work on Falling, book three. I started by going back through what I had written. It is nice when you actually like what you’ve done. 

As I promised, here is the first chapter of Falling. Please keep in mind this is a work in progress, and if you find a typo or spelling mistake, or I’ve written something like—Daryl is standing at the table, then all of a sudden he gets up—oops, he was already standing, or Cedar is drinking a glass of wine, but now she has a coffee cup in her hand—please make a comment so I can fix it. Right now I’m concentrating on getting the story down on “paper” and ready to publish next June.

I know that seems like a long time, and I wish I could write faster. My goal is to finish the draft in January, because, honestly, what really takes time and is sooo frustrating is the work that has to be done to get it edited, proofed, and published. The writing is the fun part. 

In the meantime, here is Chapter One. I hope you like it. I’d love to hear your comments.

CHAPTER ONE

Cedar Evan’s ears popped. The quarantine pod shuddered. The watering can fell off the bench. She lost her balance and smacked into a seedling table. The light over the containment hatch blinked red—on-off on-off on-off––again. Shit.

Cedar moved to the control panel. Oxygen levels were down but climbing. Pressure was down, but climbing. Her stomach was down but climbing. And climbing. Climbing a rope in her throat on its way to panic.

Yet another glitch. One or two or more––they increased every week now on Alal Trade Consortium’s five-hundred-year-old spaceship.

The light switched to steady green. Her stomach slid back down the rope, and the sigh she didn’t know she was holding burst like juice from an over-ripe orange.

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The Long Lazy Summer That Isn't

My copies of Karda Adalta Vol I came for me to send to advance readers. And my grandsons came, to bicker. to eat endlessly, to strew very large shoes in my path, and to watch videos on their phones. 

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Actually, they’ve had a great time. Visits with other cousins, swimming, movies, a rafting trip with my daughter, Jeri, on the Illinois River on the edge of the Ozarks. Lots and lots of Coneys and pizza and hamburgers and fries and bickering. 

My car is pretty small—a convertible with a tiny back seat—and two of the boys are six feet and over and the other is not far behind. All of them have giant feet. If I live through this visit, next time I’m renting a real car so there will be room for their feet. They did enjoy the one day we could have the top down, hands in the air, yelling, laughing, except for the one who was embarrassed by his little brother and his older cousin. After that, they decided it was too hot.

So between driving the three of them around––everytime going through the “I call shotgun” “No, it’s my turn.” “No, I can’t fit back there” and so on and so on––trying to keep them fed, and attempting to convince them that chores were not cruel and unusual punishment, I worked.

I sent out my newsletter, worked on the list of people who wanted review copies––let me know if you want one. The edits to Hunter Adalta Vol II got done, and I rewrote the last three chapters. I managed to get Karda up on Amazon (that’s still not finished), got envelopes to mail the books––I didn’t get enough––addressed them, and as soon as my cards and things come from Vistaprint I can sign and mail them

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 I also went over edits to Chapter One of Falling, book three, and tried to work on Chapter Four. But I gave that up.

Before they came, I was reading Circe, the fantastic book by Madeline Miller, about the woman who turned Odysseus’ men into pigs when he was on his interminable way home to Penelope. Miller is a consummate wordsmith, no wonder the book hit #1 on the NYT bestseller list. If I could work words like she does—oh my, I wish I could. I’ll be glad when things get back to normal here, and I can get back to her book. Writers need to read writers, and she is one of the best.

But for now, Karda is available on Amazon, although there are still some issues to work out with them, and the official launch is not till July 28. 

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The writing life is exhausting. This is not a long, lazy, summer. But the boys got the GIANT BLACK WIDOW SPIDER out of the grill on the back porch, and I knocked off the GIANT WASP’S NEST which was empty and about an inch in diameter. Then they grilled hamburgers. It was quite the adventure.

Is it September yet?

Here’s Chapter 14 of Karda and a brief note about—well, stuff

This is the last chapter I will post. I am frantically working on getting the books up and running for publication next month.

It’s spring here, finally, and I’ve been working outside, planting all my pots with begonias, geraniums, petunias, sweet potato vine—did you know there are black sweet potato vines? 

My one small pot of herbs is doing great already. The sage plant is getting old and woody. The pot is slowly crumbling—I dare not move it. It's been in the same place on the porch there are violets growing out from under where it sits on the concrete. So next year I may have to plant a new sage. The chives, the thyme, the oregano I can repot, but the sage—not so much. Yesterday it was 95 degrees outside, and I had the top down on my car with the AC running. Today is cooler, but yes, summer heat approaches. We’ve had about three days of spring. It would be nice if summer could be cool, too. But—it’s Oklahoma. Probably not much chance of that. 

Enjoy this chapter and look for Karda and  Hunter—Vol II soon.

If you are not already signed up for my newsletters, please do so, because I want you to be the first to know when they are available. 

Here’s Chapter 14. Enjoy

Chapter 14

"Readen has assured me that there are no groups of marauders sheltering inside our borders." Roland looked to Readen. "Tell Altan what you found when you took the Mounted Patrol out there." He looked back at Altan. "He spent two tendays in the most deplorable conditions." His steward entered the room and stood behind him with a handful of papers. Roland flapped his hand at Readen in a come-on-tell-all motion and started going through the papers, carrying on a sotto-voce conversation with the steward.

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Chapter 13 of Karda: Adalta Vol. I

Marta breathed in the brisk upper air of the foothills as Sidhari circled up the rising thermal. She'd fought to be the Mi'hiru for this expedition. Altan was taking Guardian Stefan's place in the annual trade talks with Restal, and Marta knew her assessment of the politics between the two quadrants, as well as the outcome, would be information Kayne would relish. Restal and Toldar were both her territory.

But it was difficult to keep her mental barriers up when she and Altan were together so often. She was still getting used to hearing Sidhari in her head. Altan's voice brought on vicious headaches—and the occasional doubt about her sanity.

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How I Write What I Write

For the past several weeks I have been editing both Karda and Hunter, books one and two of the Adalta Series. I don’t plot before I start writing, but in this editing process, I’ve realized the problems that causes me. Extraneous plot elements that don’t go anywhere—just kind of leave annoying hang-in-the-air spots—so my story starts looking a little like my car did when I parked it under a tree full of birds. Well, maybe not that bad. But when I have to figure out what to do with them —those stray ideas, it seems like it is.

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Chapter 12 Karda: Adalta Vol. I

~His name is Baltu,~ said Sidhari. Her head hung over Marta's as she and Altan groomed the little male. Marta handed Altan a soft cloth and the green bottle of the oil she used on wing feathers. She scratched Baltu's head to keep him calm. Altan worked, crooning softly to the little Karda. They ran loose in the mews when they weren't being fed or groomed. Baltu followed Altan everywhere he went, his cries piteous and his immature wings beating futilely whenever Altan flew off on Kibrath. Despite herself, she had to admit Altan was good at soothing the skittish baby.

Marta scratched the downy feathers under the fledgling's neck, irritated that Altan was so close to them. He was there with her every moment he could spare. She couldn't complain that he was interfering. He knew what he was doing. It was just so--irritating. Her fingers tangled with Altan's as they both reached to scratch the same soft spot under Baltu's beak.

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Karda: Adalta Vol: I Chapter 11

Six Karda met them when they were still miles from Toldar Prime. They settled into a V formation around the four weary travelers to ease their flight. When they landed, the mews was a madhouse of Mi'hiru, Karda, as well as Guardian Stefan, Elena, and others from the Guild House and the Keep. Marta was relieved to get away when things settled enough to leave the babies under the care of a tired Eanna who assured her they would be fine for the night. The shutters on her empathic shield were flapping open, and she was getting bombarded.

She pulled off her soft riding boots and found a pair of slippers on one of the shelves in the entryway to the long central hall of the red stone building. She followed Mother Solaira across the flagstones through an archway to the right into the dining room filled with heavy, worn, polished benches, chairs, and wooden tables with bright pottery vases of fresh flowers. They walked through into the big kitchen. A cheerful fire of magma stones, the strange fuel Marta hadn't figured out, glowed in the big metal cooking stove. The smell of fresh baked bread poured out of the hot adobe wall oven to fill the kitchen. Several large loaves cooled at one end of the big worn central table. Piles of papers littered the other.

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February 27, 2018 Update

Sometimes life interferes, so I’m late with this chapter, but I’ll post Chapters Nine and Ten to make up for it. Karda is now at the proof reader’s, and Hunter: Adalta Vol. II (draft # umpteen) is finished!!!!! (I know I’ve said that before, but this time it really is.) Now comes the final run through before it’s ready to proof. 

Falling, the third and final book in the Adalta series has begun, and I’m excited about it.

I actually did some plotting—at my sister Alice’s insistence and with her help, so maybe this one will be smoother sailing. Plotting is not my strong suit. I have some great ideas about the female protagonist, with the help of my long-suffering personal trainer/patient listener, whose questions opened up a whole new aspect of her character. Her name is Cedar, and she has a bionic foot.

How is that going to work on a tech-resistant planet? It won’t, so I’m looking for someone who has a boot that will hold my foot immobile. I need to know how it feels to have a virtual block for a foot. Have I given too much away? She’s obviously not going to be a sword-wielding badass female. Well, badass, but a different kind of badassery.

So here are the next two chapters of Karda. Enjoy, and comment if you will. Feedback helps and makes the next book better.

Karda Chapter Eight

Altan and Kibrath spent their first night on the bank of the southern fork of the Barleyn River and a lazy morning waiting for the air to warm enough for thermals to form. He sprawled against his packs drinking tea, relishing growing warmth from the sun moving up the cobalt sky. The sound of the river flowing noisy and icy cold out of the craggy mountains to the West carried away thought. They weren't far from the southern pass through the mountains to the Coastal Holdings.

The energy of Adalta beneath him was tangible, the gentle force that always pulsed through him. He pulled on it and pinched a tiny mix of Earth and Air to form a ball of fire between his fingers. He set a water shield and played with the flame, passing it back and forth between his hands, rolling it from the fingers of one to the other, keeping it small as a match flame. He let it go after several minutes, and it floated away, fading as he withdrew the tiny tendril of his talent connection. He rolled to kneeling and spread his hands flat on the ground in front of him. He stayed that way for a long time, feeling the power curl through him.

Kibrath looked up, his beak stained from tearing at clumps of succulent green grass. ~Let's go, lazy one. It's warm enough by now.~

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Writing Interrupted

On the Wednesday night before turkey day, I invite everyone who is in town plus some other friends and in laws to my house for tamales (formerly pizza). There were only about twenty-four, I think. Then, Thursday morning I cooked a turkey and dressing and made gravy. So you can see I didn’t have time to post anything here that week.

Then, as I was recovering from that, someone snuck into my house and poured Gorilla Glue into my sinuses. I was pretty much down for more than a week, and I’m still snuffling and blowing and coughing. But I’m alive. It wasn’t a terminal cold after all. 

So today I’ll post two chapters, four and five. I’m working hard on finishing book two. It’s with my editor now, and I’m waiting with fingers crossed that he doesn’t have much ink left in his red pen. Or has forgotten how to use Track Changes in Word. How likely is that? 

I also have an idea for the first scene in Book Three!!!! Yay. And my (prize-winning mid-grade novelist sister) Alice V. Brock—check out River of Cattle—made me sit down and try to plot it at our Sisters’ Writers Workshop. She stayed for four days after Thanksgiving and we worked. So I have a start. Sometime in January we’re planning a One Brother and Two Sisters Writers Workshop at her house. Brother Phil Vincent is writing an adventure-diving-drugs novel. A great plot! Phil is the adrenaline junky in our family and has had lots of adventures. No drugs—well, except when he was very young and driving the requisite Volkswagon Van. Pot doesn’t really count anymore, does it?

Scene from Hunter: Adalta Vol. II

Oct 27, 2017

Merrik was a medium sized man with a broad, open face on the wrong side of handsome, nondescript until he took off his cap and Galen could see the wide ears set too high on the sides of his head. When the woman brought Galen's beer, Merrik reached out and tugged on her skirt. She twitched away; her practiced smile a bit, no, a lot forced.

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