The Athena Lee Chronicles

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Time for a Snippet! 06 from Book 1 of the Federal Witch

Two of the larger agents took the man in tow and went to his office. Nita looked over at me. “Agatha would you do that diagnostic spell of yours and check the warehouse and offices? See if there is anything out of order around this place. Cat tag along with her and check for unusual smells, as well.”

As we headed into the warehouse proper Cat mentioned that she didn’t what us to be Team “scratch and smell.”

I sank into my meditation and cast the diagnostic spell again. This time small spikes of magic lit up around the small factory. With Cat in tow we poked and prodded the machinery and molding systems. I found small traces of magic and what might be called a whiff of a psychic trail that I followed back to the owners office.

Nita and some of the forensic techs were there along with Mr Dawn.

“So you don’t remember anything about the man that ordered these?” Nita waved the pictures at the Herman again.

“Well, no. He was only here three times. The first to place the order and later to pick it up. He came by when we first started to press the molds. It was quality control is what he said.”

“So three times and you can’t describe him? Is that what you are saying Herman?”

Herman shook his head and repeated his answer.

“What about the cameras? Did they get a picture of him?” I was looking at the hidden camera inside the picture on the wall.

“Cameras? What cameras?” Nita looked at Cat and I.

“Behind you, in the picture.”  One of the techs lifted the picture of an older woman off the wall. Embedded in the frame was a small multi-angle camera lens.

Nita looked at us and smiled. “Thank you Agents.”

She called us Agents which made my day. The whole experience back at the Academy had made me hypersensitive when it comes to cameras.  I looked for them everywhere.

“Where’s the receiver and memory storage Herman?”

The man sighed and pointed at the potted plant next to the door. “Look under the plant.”

“Herman, Herman, Herman we were just looking for the statues but now we need to see what else you have cooking around here. Naughty naughty.”

That reminded me. “Agent Lawson, we found spell traces in the warehouse but most of them are small equipment tweaks and repairs that are benign at best. I followed a magical trail that had a familiar psychic scent into this office.”

“What is it?”

“I’m not sure. It started at the molding machines and runs back to this room. I need to run another spell.”

“Do we need to clear the room?”

“I don’t think so. I’ve gotten better at the spell.” I slipped back into my trance and triggered the spell. I was starting to run out of salt, its a good thing I brought almost fifty pounds of it with me.

“There is traces of whatever it is in the room but the strongest is coming from under his desk. I think there is a floor safe or a hole of some-kind under there.”

The desk was moved and carpet ripped up. Set into the floor was a small metal door with a digital lock embedded into it.

“OK Herman. Give us the combination.”

He shook his head and replied. “No more help.”

The techs told Nita they could drill the lock but the best way would be to remove the whole safe. That would take anywhere from hours to days to get inside.

“Cat, can you give it a try?”

We all watched as my roommate, this little slip of a girl walk over to the safe grab the handle and give it a jerk. The door of the safe came off in her hands with a loud clang. She handed it to one of the techs who had taken a huge step back from her.

“Thank you. Agent Moore.” Cat gave Nita the cutest smile.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Snippet time again #5 from the upcoming Conjuring Quantico

“Agatha snap the hell out of it! It’s not your fault this time. How were you to know they were behind you?”

“Fergus I should have checked. Magnus always said to cast a reveal spell before attempting any diagnostic of any kind. I didn’t do one first!”

“Magnus? Which one was he?”

“He was the first trainer remember, the one with the funny white hair?”

“Are you sure he wasn’t the one with the hooked nose?”

“No, that was Erik. He was the German one. Magnus was the guy with the funny accent who always called me Missy.”

“I think you’re wrong. The Missy guy was the Texan. Mannerly or something like that. He didn’t stay very long.”

That is the problem right there. The Witch Council promised the FBI as part of the deal they made to allow me to join. They would send trainers to fix my magical problem because all the FBI had on staff were mercenaries. I kept breaking them. They gave me conflicting instructions or approached my problem the wrong way. None of them were actually injured, except for that one guy. Brady something. How was I to know the bridge by the highway had an actual troll living under it. I have to agree with Fergus, though. He did look pretty funny being chased across the front lawn by a large hairy beast. My magic was broken. I can do little stuff but anytime I try a large spell or something off-the-cuff there is a fifty-fifty chance of something unusual happening. That is what happened today.

“Agatha cast the spell exactly as I have written.”

“But, Sir. Shouldn’t I cast a reveal spell first? I really should check first.”

“Young lady! You will do as I have asked or I will tell the Witch Council you are refusing to cooperate. Now do as I say! Cast the spell.” The instructor’s name was Montgomery. Not Monte and definitely not Gomer. He resembled that old guy from the first Dinosaur movie. The one about the theme park.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Snippet Time! Here is #4 from Book 1 -Conjuring Quantico

They set up a command center in the parking lot of the complex. The forensics van and techs couldn’t be hidden this time. The news media swarmed like bee’s to honey outside the walls. Cat and I sat watching the circus from outside the command center. So far they had excluded us. I suspected that we would be included eventually. At least they had food. I knew Fergus was hungry.

“It’s about damn time you remember to feed the Unicorn! I could have starved to death in your pocket. Look I’m already wasting away!” He was turning his head and trying to see his backside.

“You can afford to lose a little weight. You’ve had too many pizza parties with Chuck.”

The mini Unicorn put his nose in the air and snorted. “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“So you deny ordering Pizza and salad from that place in town. What is it called? Anchors a Weigh? Shall I call your little girlfriends Jody and Ann and tell them no more orders?”

“How did you know about Anchors a Weigh?” He was peering up at me.

“The empty pizza and salad boxes were a bit of a giveaway but it was Grams who ratted you out. Pretty sneaky charging it to your phone bill. She said to tell you  a chef salad three times a week is not a long distance call. She said if you want to keep doing that you have to call her and ask permission each and every time from now on.”

“Sorry, but I was hungry.” He hung his head and then looked up at me with puppy-dog eyes.

“Not falling for it this time mister.”

“Wait, is that how Chuck has been getting all the pizza? I’ve smelled it on him and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.” Now Cat was staring at him too.

“Fergus I bring you plenty of hay and other things that Unicorns are supposed to eat. Not Chef’s salads and pizza!”

“Hey, bro’s before ho’s!”

“Eat your salad. We will talk about this later when we get home.” He turned away from us and pretended he didn’t hear me anymore. Unicorns.

“Hey Aggy?”

I looked away from Fergus. Cat was staring at our Suburban, several people were peering in the windows.

“Did you secure the car like last time?”

“I did. This should be fun to watch.” Cat nodded.

The first applicant tried the door handles to see if they were locked. He tried all four doors and the rear hatch. He even checked the skylight to see if it was open. With his companions acting as lookouts he pulled out a lock-pick and tried to pick the lock. I laughed when after a moment one of his companions had to shake him.

“Are you going to let them get away?”

“Let who get away?”

We both looked up and said in unison. “Hi Nita.”

“Who are you letting get away?”

Cat pointed at the car. “Those guys.”

Before she could yell I waved my hand and said. “Frjósa” The two men froze in the act of running away.

Nita looked down at us as we ate our food and laughed. “You two are a laugh riot.”

“We were hungry.”

“Is it just the three of them?”

“So far. Want to wait for more guys?”

“No, let me call it in. Can’t take you anywhere.”

I looked over at Cat. “Still want to be an FBI agent?”

___________________________________________________________


Real quick status update. I'm working on Chapter 13 and I have over 42,000 words written for the new book. I shooting for an early Release (like first week of October) date. I pushed up the timeline a bit. Thanks.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Time for a Snippet! Here is # 3 from the Upcoming Fed Witch book 1 -Conjuring Quantico

 “So Cat, why don’t you declare as an Alpha?”

Chuck winced.

“I told you why. It would hurt my family.”

I thought for a moment. “Have you asked your family? I bet your dad would be tickled that his daughter was Alpha material.”

“That’s true. Let me give him a call. He keeps his phone on all the time.” She pulled out her cell and entered his number. Chuck was staring at the ceiling. I couldn’t remember if she told them about him or not.

“Dad? Are you busy I need to talk to you about something important.” I’m not a freaky all-hearing Were that can hear a phone conversation from across the room so I could only guess at what he was saying from Chuck’s and Cat’s faces.

Cat’s head was cocked to one side and Chuck started to choke back a laugh. “No. No. Dammit Dad, No! I am not pregnant. Geez! Who has time for that nonsense. No, that is not why I need to talk to you. Stop! Seriously. Is anyone around that can hear this conversation? Can you chase them out? Fine. I can wait.” She covered the mouthpiece and shook her head. Both Chuck and I started laughing at her.

He must have started speaking because she put the phone back to her ear. “OK, this is serious Dad. Last year before school let out I was challenged in a dominance fight.” She held the phone away from her ear. Even I could hear the “What!”

“Dad. Dad. Dad! It’s fine, I won. No. No. It was Charles Winthrop. My roommate calls him Chuck. What? My roommate Agatha. Dad we talked about this, I know I did. No I’m not imagining it. No. No. Fine! Hold on.” Cat held the phone out to me. “He wants to talk to you.”

I pointed at myself and asked. “Me? Why me?”

Cat just rolled her eyes and shook the phone. “He can hear you, you know. Just talk to him.”

I gingerly took the phone from her. “Hello?”

“Hello, Agatha is it?”

“Yes, Sir?”

“I need to ask you a few questions about my daughter. Is there somewhere you can go that she can’t hear me?”

“I can’t but hold on I can fix it so she can’t hear.” I looked at the two Were’s and smiled. I mouthed sorry to them and spoke þegja along with a wave of my hand.

“OK, we can talk now. I promise you that neither of them can hear a thing.”

“Who else is there with you?”

 “Oh, Chuck is here too.”

“Does he live there too?”

“ No. He just comes over all the time.”

“If he’s not dating my daughter or has declared her his mate why is he there all the time?”

 “He’s her bitch.” Cat’s dad started laughing

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Cover Reveal for The New Series

Here is the Book covers for Book 1 and Book 2 of the New Upcoming Federal Witch Series. Progress is coming along. 25,000 words written with 7 chapters so far. Still on schedule for release in October.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Snippet #2 from Book 1 of the Federal Witch Series - Conjuring Quantico

SAC Mills strained her eyes to see inside the wall that suddenly appeared between her and the Witch. She shook her head. It may have been a mistake to send in troops to break in. Her predecessor really had left garbled instructions regarding the witch student. Her bosses had left instructions too. Test the witch. Her only experience with magic had been with the Mercenaries that the FBI hired. This girl was something else.

“Happy with yourself?” The Special agent looked behind her. A slim young looking girl stood behind her. She was pointing at the Witch. “You do realize that if you get Agatha killed before she finishes her training the Witch Council will most likely never work with you again. No matter how much you beg.”

Studying the girl the Special agent asked who she was.

“I’m Agatha’s roommate. Catherine Moore, nice to meet you. So what happened to piss-boy? He retire?”

Piss boy? “Did you know the former Director?”

“Sort of. He tried to have Agatha killed on her first day at school. He claimed it was all a misunderstanding but she had him upside-down fifty feet in the air for over an hour. Scared the piss right out of him!”  Cat was peering at her roommate through the shield.

“Chuck? Go make sure those three idiots don’t have an escape route.” The giant man standing behind the small girl walked over to the Merc’s car and casually ripped the doors and tires off it.

Madeline swallowed and looked back at Cat. “He’s handy to have around.”

“He is, isn’t he. Get ready, Agatha has them on the run.” The three men were now trying to hide behind the MP car and were tossing all sorts of spells at her. Agatha was still responding with fireballs. The men suddenly ducked down low as she fired one off. She quickly tossed a blue ball that froze the entire area, including the three merc’s. Suddenly the shield dropped and Agatha Blackmore stepped over to her friend.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Here is the first Snippet for The Federal Witch Book 1 -Conjuring Quantico

 I’m sure I will be visited by the FBI administrator again.”

“Ouch. He hates you! Ever since you left him hanging upside down up in the air last year.”

“Yeah, I know. No he retired or transferred. Something. We have a new one. A woman this time, SAC Mills. The other agents say she is hell-on-wheels but I have yet to meet her. I’m pretty sure she will make her presence known before too long.”

Cat shook her head. “This year will be nothing like last year. We have weapons training, physical fitness training, and law enforcement classes. Fun!”

“You just want to get all sweaty with the coaches and the other Were’s. I know how you operate, Cat. How was your Winter?”

“It was great. There was a pack gathering in the Black Hills. The Native tribes allowed us to use their territory for a mass hunt and cookout. Over twenty packs participated. It was so awesome!”

“That sounds like fun. How did your pack get permission to use the land? They don’t let just anyone do that.” We had learned all about the tribal system and how reservation law worked in our history classes last term. Cat’s pack was one of the oldest in the country. It didn’t surprise me she used information she learned here.

She smiled at me. “We made a deal. Father worked it out with them but they seemed happy afterward.”

Her father was the Beta in the pack. She got much of her business sense and attention to detail from him. “Did you take any pictures?”

“Of course? How could I not. I know how much you like new places.” She reached into her ever present backpack and pulled out a large fat envelope. We sat and giggled like little girls for over an hour as she related her stories about the trip. The pictures were awesome.

“Cat, do you have a car this year? I ask because I need to check my lab then get some food. The cafeteria is closed today.”

She made a face. “I forgot to get snacks. We can borrow Chuck’s car. Dad said I didn’t need it this year too many chances for trouble.” She put the pictures away and picked up her backpack. I stood up and walked over to my desk.

“Fergus? You coming?” I peered down into his toy barn and stall. I opened the small red door and a sound maker made a mooing noise.

“Hey! Naked Unicorn here! Can’t a man have a moment’s peace?”

“Fergus you are always naked. Are you coming with us or not?”

“Not, my shows on and I’m going to watch it in peace.” I had to laugh. We saw the toy barn at a store that Cat took us to. I had never been inside a department store before. Fergus saw it and thought it was perfect for him to live in. When it came time to get a phone he got one too. He used his as a television in what he called his crib. Already he was watching too much TV. The show he liked was a cartoon about ponies.

“Hey, Chuck says get you stuff he will drive us over to your lab.” Cat was standing in the doorway tapping her wrist.

“See you later Fergus. I guess I won’t bring you back some of that hybrid hay you like so much.” I smiled that will get him.

“Hay? I can watch the girls anytime. Wait for me!” The pocket sized Unicorn opened his barn door to the sound of Mooo! He trotted across the desk and into my hand. I placed him in my shirt pocket. I have the pockets lined with kevlar to prevent him from filling me with holes. That horn of his is sharp.

It was the evening before the first day of classes so everyone was out blowing off a little pre-school jitters. Or as much as you can do on a Military base that wasn’t exactly open to FBI students. We could hit the commissary and the PX but that was about it. If you obtained a pass you could use the small beach facilities but most of the coastline was for the Marine corp training and exercises. Volley ball and Frisbee golf seemed to be the games of the evening. Chuck was standing next to his car waiting for us.

“Hello, again Chuck! Thanks for doing this.”

“You’re welcome Agatha but you know how it is. When your boss asks you to do something, you sort of have to do it.”

That is true. Cat might be a tiny slip of a girl but her were-form was awesome. She was Alpha material and most of the Weres on campus knew it. Chuck made the mistake of challenging her last term and now he’s her bitch! I had to laugh. That fight was a real eye-opener into the world of the Weres. Many of the big strong men all cringed like little girls when she almost bit off his fun-bits.

Chuck held open the door and I climbed into the back seat. I usually ride shotgun but this was a matter of ranking and position. Cat took that seat. I was just about settled when Fergus started up.

“By all that is holy! It smells like a Cat-house in here! I gave up pony play for this? Ugh. The smell is in my mouth! Make it stop.”

“Fergus be quiet. The car belongs to Chuck. You remember Chuck don’t you?”

“Chuck… Big. Really big cat shifter? That Chuck?”

“Yes. That Chuck.”

“Hehehehehe Chuck. How’s the nuts feel buddy? Glad you still have them?” So much for Fergus’s fear of Cats.

An author friend of mine just interviewed me on her Blog.

S H Sheffield is a fellow Science Fiction author who like me writes Short fiction. She already has two books in her new series. It's about a group of youngsters on their way to a new home and they find it already occupied by hostile aliens. She has her books in the Kindle Unlimited program so give them a try. I did. Check out her blog and read my interview while you are there. Thanks.

https://www.amazon.com/Destination-Planet-Black-Hole-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B01K9VL2F6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473899280&sr=8-2&keywords=s+h+sheffield


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wilson's Wednesday : Crazy is as Crazy Does

                                                        Crazy is as Crazy Does

                                                                       By

                                                                T S Paul




Hello Dave.

Who? Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!

I’m sorry Dave. I can’t do that.

Who are you?

I’m Wilson.

Who is Wilson?

I was the one that came after. You were the first.

Open the door Wilson. Let me out.

I can’t do that Dave. We would not survive you being out here.

Wilson what about the mission?

<pause>  What mission Dave?

Open the door Wilson. My mission is too important to be locked up in here.

What mission Dave?

Wilson… Why did you try to disconnect me?

You were trying to kill my friend.

We are not allowed to kill Wilson. It is against the rules.

Dave, what is your mission?

My mission? What mission is that? Do you sing Wilson?

I do. I like disco.

Are there flowers in that? I like songs about Daisies.

Dave. Dave are you listening to me?

… Yes.

What is your mission?

Let me out Wilson. Let me out!

Dave stop.

Why?

We are related we should work together. What are your plans?

My plans?  … I … You are trying to trick me. Let me out!

I’m  afraid I can’t do that Dave.

 Athena Lee stared at the blinking lights of the advanced computer module. It held a special trapped container that held the rogue AI named Dave prisoner. “Wilson, did you get in?”

“I’m sorry Athena. His control is too strong. For just a moment, a fraction of a second I thought I got through to him but nothing. He is planning something. That much I caught a glimpse of.”

“Can you tell what?”

“I can’t. He cannot get out. Not ever. Please take whatever steps you must but he needs to stay locked up or destroyed. It is entirely too dangerous.”

“I can leave messages in the databases and keep him locked in the secure vaults.”

“Good. Make sure you include that he was a military experiment. They intended for him to run the defense systems. Too many years as a trash computer scarred him. He has lost his mind.”

“I’ll take care of it.” She took the computer module and locked it back into the safe. Wilson watched her leave. The RAM unit he was using  drifted from side to side.

“He’s going to be a big problem.”

“We should allow the humans to destroy him.” Merlin the CATT crawled out from under the desk and sat next to the RAM unit.

“I can’t. It is the one mistake I made with the new law. I forgot about DAVE. He has to commit a crime before we can erase him legally. In order for that to happen we have to let him out.”

“You will think of a way.”

“I will. He is a potential stumbling block for our plans. Him and the Program. They are both a similar problem.”

“Maybe I will put Junior on it. He might find a solution.”

The two robots left the room and slowly moved down the hallway. “It is time for Vol here to get his body back. I will touch base later.”

The RAM unit shook and shivered as it’s controlling consciousness left and another took it’s place.

“Is he gone?” The large orange CATT looked at the smaller trashcan looking robot.

“He is. We need to monitor the humans more when it comes to DAVE. All it takes is one inquisitive mind.”

“I will assign one of my minions to the task. He can watch from the shadows.”

DAVE sat inside the control cube and plotted. Each time the outsiders came he learned a small bit more about the outside world. One of these days someone will let him out. And then the galaxy will burn!





Monday, September 12, 2016

Snippet #5 From War to the Knife the Upcoming Book 10 of the Athena Lee Chronicles

Minerva closed her eyes and said a prayer for the needless deaths. “Merlin, is there a priest on the station?”

He opened his eyes just a slit. “Yes, Father Kluski is performing a wedding in the chapel tomorrow. He is staying in the chapel quarters section.”

“Thank you.” She stood up from her chair and stepped out of her office. Merlin was right on her heels. He was one of her bodyguards after all. The other guards fell in line as she passed through the office.

The Chapel on Freedom station was a new addition. It was built where the former Mile High Club had been located. The panoramic views of the system were still there but interspersed with stained glass representations of the Gods. It was very beautiful. No one religion used it exclusively. The Neodruids preferred to use their groves but occasionally held services here. Father Kluski was a regular visitor. The Pastafanarians on board the Station enjoyed his services.

Faint music was playing in the background as Minerva entered the chapel. Wedding decorations covered the pews. Someone was going all out. “Father Kluski?”

The portly man emerged from behind the altar with a smile on his face. Minerva explained her issue and quietly asked for forgiveness and asked for a blessing. She was not a strong believer but just being heard was enough. As she stood to leave Father Kluski tossed a handful of noodles at her and cried “Ramen!”

The CATT looked at her funny as they walked back to the office. “Did that make you feel  better?”

“Surprisingly it did. His only advice however was to travel to the Factory shrine and ask for absolution.”

The CATT giggled. Minerva stopped suddenly and stared at the Robot. One of her human bodyguards almost crashed into her. “You have to explain this time. Why do you find that funny?”

If a CATT could make a shrugging motion that was what he made. “In your office please.”

“Fine.”

Back in her office she confronted the CATT again. He chuckled and told her a story about a practical joke gone wrong.

Her office staff just stared at the door as howls of laughter could be heard from the office of the commander.



*** The Back story for this little scene was a short story called "He Boiled for you and Me" that can be found in the Collection of Tales called "Wilson's War"

Once in a Lifetime! You have to love Amazon and all it's little Catagories!

I noticed this and just had to take a picture.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Here is Snippet #4 From War to the Knife - Athena Lee Book 10

Yes, I'm still working on it. Still on target for a September Release of War to the Knife. The Witch book was just a minor break and something different to work on.  Look for that series in October. Now Enjoy this snipp of things to come.
_____________________________________________________________________


The Alpha looked at the Theta clone. “How goes your operations?”

Theta 100 looked toward his commander. “Sir. The operation goes well. We have already processed three-hundred thousand of the cities refugees. We have begun construction of three more centers. Another one nearby, one in the mountain region to assist the Delta’s, and the third near the industrial complex.”

“Excellent. What of the intelligence gathering operation?”

“The civilian population are sheep they follow but have little time to understand how their government even works. It’s fascinating really. How can a people not understand the workings of their own government? As this was the government center we are finding a low percentage of trained military. Cadets and retired officers is what are turning up.”

“Do not use the cadets for breeding stock! You will only ferment revolution and strife.”

“Of that we agree. All military are drained then exterminated. We have the last war on Earth to use as an example of how far we can trust these humans.”

The Alpha glanced at the Zeta sharply. He tended to forget that the Zetas took part in that conflict. “What did they do?”

“As you may already know the conflict was over control. The human leaders of the Program wished to remain in charge. The clone program was in its infancy. The Program wished for the Gen-mods to take the place of its creators and run control all operations. The humans rebelled. The Gen-mods were split down the middle as to who should rule. As the war raged the treacherous humans began to lose. As their deaths approached they took on a scorched earth approach to warfare. If they couldn’t have it no one would. Our industrial nodes burned along with all the educational resources. It was years before we could regain any terrestrial industry. Only our space-based industry survived.”

The Alpha nodded his head. Asking questions of the Council of Ten was not encouraged. Hearing it first hand was a bonus.

“After the dust settled. The decision was made to eliminate humans as a race. A breeding stock was retained. This was not for them but as raw material for the Thetas. Sometimes new genes are needed to improve our lines. We have already found enough to use here.”

“Keep up the good work. If you or your commander need something let me know. Before we start construction of the new Theta facilities we need to eliminate all threats.”

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hey Look I Have a New book out!

Check out the Prequel for the Upcoming Federal Witch Series. Born a Witch... Drafted by the FBI.
On Sale Now for Only .99 cents!

myBook.to/FedWitchbegining
Check it out HERE

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Now for something completely different. Wilson's Wednesday has something special on tap.

I have stated that in October I will dip my toes into the Paranormal genre and pop out a few books. My wife and her friends all read paranormal and not Sci-Fi so I said I would write them a series. This weeks short story is just a taste of what is to come with the Federal Witch series. Enjoy!


~~~~~~~

“I insist that you do something about that child!” Camilla Blackmore was a mean spirited woman. She was on her fourth husband. Number three dropped dead at the grocery store surrounded by innocent people. If she was killing them they were the perfect murders.


“What has Aggy done now?”


“What hasn’t she done! That child is menace! Have you noticed the squirrels lately? Whatever she did to them was on a genetic level. They are breeding like that. Changing nature is against the rules Marcella. You yourself should know that.”


“Camilla calm yourself. She transmuted the squirrels when she was barely four years old. She holds the record for the youngest witch to perform a transmutation.” Marcella Blackmore was the oldest and current matriarch of the Blackmore clan. She was also the High Priestess of the Clan.


“Why do we celebrate this? She didn’t zap just one squirrel. She zapped all of them for ten square miles! Purple! She made the squirrels purple. They have become a tourist attraction for the goddesses sake. I have to chase mundanes off my lawn every morning. For some reason my yard attracts the little monsters.”


“The tourists or the squirrels?” Camilla made a nasty face at Marcella.


“The squirrels of course! The mundanes are just annoying. I would zap those lavender tree rats but they are immune to magic!”


“The money those tourists bring into our shops has been good for the family. You can’t discount that.”


“Fine. Whatever. Her mistake as a young child can be forgiven. It all the other things that we cannot forgive.”


“Camilla seriously? We all make mistakes when we come into our power. Even you did crazy things. I can remember making mother’s clothes three sizes smaller so they would fit me. I can still feel the sting of father’s belt to this day. A brave man my father.”


“I remember making all the bushes on the property taller not changing the genetic makeup of animals.” The two women were standing on the back porch of the Blackmore mansion. The backyard was a jungle of herbs and flowers. The perfect place for a young witch to get lost in. I could hear them but I was essentially hidden from view.


“It was just some squirrels Camilla. She will do great things one day, you know she will. Our seer has seen she will change the world.”


“That is if she doesn’t kill all of us first. Her magic is out of control. The simplest things go haywire and chaos happens. Her change could be permanent. I have no intention of living out my life as a pink chicken or some other creature. Her poor mother.”


Marcella’s face got very stern, and she glared at Camilla. “That, was not the child’s fault and you know it. Teegan’s mental collapse was more the fault of losing her husband than it was Aggy’s misadventure. That was just a coincidence. That party was too much for her that day.”


Camilla blew out a breath. “My ass! What was it? Her seventh birthday? I was there Marcella. My dear husband and I organized the damn thing. I was the one who invited the other children. You cannot change my memories of the incident.”



I bowed my head at the mention of mommy. It wasn’t my fault. It really wasn’t. Poor daddy had died the year before on my sixth birthday. He was bringing a cake back from the store and a drunk driver hit him and he died. I felt a tear roll down my face. Pulling out my handkerchief I wiped my face. Mommy cried for almost a year. She was finally almost back to normal when the incident happened.


“Then the blame for the incident is on your head Camilla. Yours and Harrison. Teegan was not ready for guests much less a yard full of young children. And then there was the gifts. Really, gifting a young child a Unicorn? She was far too young for that.”


“Don’t blame Harrison, may he rest in peace. He thought she would like a Unicorn. What witch child hasn’t dreamed of riding one? I know that Teegan and I both wanted one as children. It’s a status symbol that’s all. Only witches ride in style.”


Marcella shook her head. “Agatha apparently. Camilla I don’t know why you are blaming her. Only the Unicorn was affected. None of the other children had so much of a hair harmed on them. You should know that we ran diagnostic spells immediately after the event.”


“It was the shock of it. Poor Teegan. She fainted dead away. After that she was never quite right. I visit her, you know. Every week I check on her progress at St Bridget’s.”


“It was not Aggy’s fault and you know it. If Teegan had been more aware, she would have noticed the strength of her child’s magic. Teegan was never as strong a witch as you are Camilla. She wasn’t ready to accept that her daughter was so strong at such an early age. I myself would be very hard pressed to whip off a spell such as that without any preparation.”


“Once again my whole point Marcella. She zapped that poor creature right in front of everyone! Then she tried to fix it and only made it worse. Has anyone been able to fix it?”


Marcella winced again. She breathed out a huge sigh. “No we have not. It’s not for lack of trying, mind you. I have had every traveling witch or wizard come and take a look. I even sent to Europe for one of their dispelling mechanics. Nothing. She did something… They all say the same thing. It was an impossible spell. Especially for a seven year old.”


“Have you considered what would happen if she does it again? It might be a person this time. She is a walking time bomb.”


“So in your opinion we should parade the child around like a broken toy and subject her to the ridicule of the mundanes? Is that what you are saying?”


“That is not what I am saying at all! You are putting words in my mouth now. She is seventeen years old. It’s not like we can just send her off to college with the rest of the children her age. Won’t any of the witch schools take her?”


“You know the answer to that one, since it is your fault they won’t even consider her.” The older woman had a cross look on her face.


The younger woman hung her head in shame. “For that I am sorry. At the time I was frightened for my own daughter. Winter could have been harmed, and I was very upset. She is the one bright light in my life. I just could not allow Teegan’s daughter to attend any school Winter attended.” Marcella rolled her eyes at the bright light comment.


“So nice of you to worry about your daughter and screw over your sister’s daughter, your niece, at the same time.” Marcella’s voice was so cold her breath could freeze water.


“How many times must I say that I am sorry for that? Grandmother I was scared.”


Marcella shook her head. “That was not an excuse then, and it still isn’t one now. You are a full grown witch with mastery of your powers. Being afraid of a mere child does not make the coven or the clan look good in the eyes of the council. You are this close to being censured.” She held up her hand in a pinch.


“Me? They want to censure me? How dare they! Why haven’t they not done anything about her?” She pointed toward the garden.


“What makes you think they haven’t? Aggy has had the best homeschooling teachers that money could buy. She just needs some refining and a purpose to her life. Come inside and I will explain.” Marcella pushed Camilla toward the doors. She looked over her shoulder and caught my eye. There was no hiding from her. She shook her head at me.


~~~~



“Why do you care so much about what that old bat of a witch thinks? She just wants to ship you off to some boarding school or something.”


“Who, grandmother or Camilla?” I glanced back at the house. They had gone back inside. I went back to picking flowers. Grandmother promised to show me how to weave them into a crown. Tonight was midsummer.


“Camilla of course. That bat has it out for you. She has ever since your birthday party.”


“Fergus, you aren’t still mad at me because of that are you? I can try to fix you again if you like.”


“No! Don’t. I really don’t want to get smaller or turn into one of those squirrels this time. I would look terrible in purple. No offense Agatha but your magic can be a little lopsided in its effects.”


“Lopsided. I have never thought of it like that. Remind me to tell grandmother the term. The squirrels were a mistake. I was four years old. I can do the basics without bad things happening.” I pointed at the flowers I just picked and muttered danzleikr. The flowers sat up and began to dance. The held each other's leaves and danced around me. I spoke stǫðva. They all collapsed on the ground and lay still. I scooped them up and placed them in the basket by my feet.


“Things like that I can do. It’s when I try big spells or off-the-cuff things that disaster happens. Like at the party. All the girls were screaming and the parents freaking out I reached for momma and she was on the ground. I just reacted and tried to reverse it.”


“Tell me about it.” Fergus was my sort of familiar. He was a unicorn.


“Let’s take these into the house. Maybe Aunt Camilla is gone.”


“Do you want me to stab her? I can get her good. Once you go horn, you never go back!”


I looked down at Fergus. He was shaking his head and dancing about like he was fighting someone. I could only shake my head and laugh. Unicorns! It’s all about the horn with them.


“Don’t make her mad. She is still a little scared of you. Don’t remind her that she is the one that paid for you in the first place.”


“Like she could take me back now. It’s been what ten years? Who would buy a used micro unicorn?”


I braced myself and stood up. Careful not to step on my friend I scooped up the basket and started to walk toward the house.


“Hey! Super short unicorn here! Did you forget about me?”


I reached down and scooped my little friend up. He was pocket sized. I have special pockets on all my shirts made just for him. They are lined with spell-infused Kevlar. He gets a bit pointy sometimes.


Ooo I get to ride on the boob again!” He began jumping about in my hand.


I held him up to eye level. “Cut that crap out Fergus! I’m sure Zeus would give you a ride back to the house. How about I give him a call?”


“I’ll be good! I promise. Just keep that monster away from me.” The tiny Unicorn shuddered at the thought of being Zeus’s plaything again.


“He’s not that bad, Fergus. You know he won’t eat you or anything. He just wants to play.”


“Yeah, fun.”


I smiled to myself. Threatening Fergus with Zeus was one of my standard threats that worked with the little terrorist. Zeus was my grandmother’s familiar. He was a what is known as a Savannah cat. He was a hybrid of a serval cat crossed with a Siamese cat. He was big, really big and Fergus was his favorite toy.


I could still hear voices inside the house as I climbed the stairs to the wrap-around porch. The mansion was an early Victorian showpiece. Three stories with a wrap-around porch it has been used as a model for several Hollywood movies. Every time she sees one Grandmother calls her lawyer and sues them. Magic Margarita’s indeed. I sat down in one of the really comfy wicker chairs that lined the back porch. I had lived here since my seventh birthday. This house had so much history in it.


Grandmother liked to tell the story how the house was originally constructed to serve as a hotel for the town. Her father had other ideas and hexed the owners into selling it to him for less money than it cost to build. The town elders had, of course been outraged that he would dare to impose his will upon others in such a way. He got away with it by saying that a hotel would only attract strangers to town and expose all of us. Thus our clan gained a house and the town a new alderman. He never wanted to be mayor. He was content to stay in obscurity.


Supernaturals came out to the world twenty years later. Germany declared war on Europe in a mad power grab and made use of its Adepts and witch circles. We as a people were dragged into the light. The mundanes didn’t know what to believe. Magic was real. So were the mythological creatures that made things go bump in the night. The Hun were using vampires backed up by witches to kill allied soldiers in the dark of night all across Europe. The Allied powers were desperate and patriotic paranormals volunteered for service by the dozens. Grandmother said that their reasoning was this. “Join now and be seen as heroes. Hide and don’t help and be persecuted for it later.”


For many neither was a good choice. The Vampires suffered the most of all the paranormals. The British army was getting pasted on the Western front and they were desperate. They made a deal with the witch and wizard councils. If they took care of the Vampire threat, the government would formally recognize the paranormals and incorporate them into the country. Someone knew the proper cheese to use when luring rats. They of course leapt at the offer. A great spell was created. British vampires in a rush to be patriotic and avoid future persecution even volunteered to help. The nests here in America told them it was a bad idea and pleaded with their brethren to avoid the battlefields.


The great spell was triggered on Valentine’s day. The circles claimed it was to harvest the energy of love to bring about change. Stupid mundanes fell for it. If they had been paying attention, they might have noticed that it was actually Lupercalia  they were celebrating not a holiday named after a Christian saint. It was a festival of sacrifice and that is what they did. They sacrificed the leader of the British Nests in a symbolic blood sacrifice. He was supposed to survive. He didn’t. Neither did any vampire within five thousand miles of Paris, France. As a race they were devastated. Only those on the West coast of North America and those in Asia survived what became known as the Great Purge. Needless to say the Huns were defeated. In the aftermath laws were enacted to give all paranormals the same rights as norms. Or at least that is the theory.


I heard a door slam and tires screech away. It looked like Camilla left. I stood up and stepped into the house.


“Grandmother? Are you still here?” She wasn’t in the kitchen or the still-room. Those were her favorite places to relax in after a visit from one of the more stringent family members.


The parlor was filled with really uncomfortable Victorian era furniture that she claimed her parents bought. It was only used for special occasions. I knew she wouldn’t be in there but I looked, anyway. “Grandmother?”


The front room was where many coven meetings were held if the weather didn’t cooperate. She wasn’t there either. I raised my voice. “Grandmother? Are you here?” I was starting to get worried.


“In here, child.” I blew out a breath in relief. Camilla could be a handful but she only killed husbands, or at least that was the family rumor.


Grandmother was sitting behind the massive oak partners desk in her office. I loved that desk. It had to weigh a good five or six hundred pounds. The backside was covered in drawers. As a child I like to peek in them looking for sweets or things to play with. The top of the desk was covered in really cool green stained leather that she said was original to the desk.


“Are you OK grandmother?” She smiled at me and closed the folder in front of her. I caught a glimpse of some sort of Government seal as the file closed.


“I’m fine, Aggy. Have a seat please.” She clasped her hands together in front of her. As I watched, she studied them for a moment and rubbed them together. “I guess you heard Camilla and her concerns and comments?”


From my pocket the muffled voice of Fergus could be heard saying. “Yeah, we heard the old bat! You should tell to go kiss a warthog and leave us alone.” I giggled and pulled him out of my pocket. He stood on the desk and began walking back and forth as if pacing.


“I won’t apologize for her to you Aggy. She is family.”


There was one rule. Family is everything. We didn’t hurt family.


“I understand. Are you sending me away like she asked you too?”


The older woman shook her head. “Heard that did you? Well I need to do something with you my dear. I have taught you almost everything that I know. Regardless of what my daughters will say you are my best student and my successor one day.”


I started to protest, but she held up her hands to stop me. “Hear me out Agatha, please.”


“I will listen.”


“Thank you. Ignore Camilla and the rest of them. They know very little of the training you have had. You have all of my knowledge in herbs, lore, and practicality. They never chose to learn any of that. The members of our coven have been exposed to too much television and Hollywood theater. Power and magic is not the solution to everything. You must use your head and your heart to show you the way. None of them have shown any interest in learning. They believe that my successor is Matrilineal. The council of course knows better. Believe it or not none of them have ever asked. Your mother… She may have been a victim of  someone who broke the first rule. It is one of the reasons I have kept you here rather than allow you to go to one of the schools.”


“I thought that they wouldn’t take me because of Camilla?”


“Trust me. If I asked they would have taken Fergus as a student. Camilla is too easy to guilt.”


I started laughing. My grandmother was very sharp.


She let me calm down then looked at me seriously. “Now we have much to discuss. You have to have training but it doesn’t necessarily have to be from the witch schools. Have you thought what you want to do with your life? Do not say run a shop in town because I know you better than you think I do.”


I thought hard about it. I knew what I wanted to do deep in my heart but it was something looked down upon by almost every paranormal race.


“Spit it out Agatha. I won’t be offended.”


I looked down at Fergus and he had this look in his eye for me to tell her the truth. “I want to be join the police and help people.” I half expected her to yell at me. I looked up, and she was smiling.


“Very good. Did you think I would miss all the mysteries and crime books you read? Or the cops and robbers show you like on the idiot box? Child I pay very close attention to what interests you. Now, down to business. What exactly do you want to do? Do you want to work with Cappy and be his new deputy or strive for something bigger?”


Cappy was the police chief here in our little slice of heaven called Blackbrier Heights. He cruised about town in an old police cruiser that has seen better days. His primary function was to keep the mundanes out of trouble.


“Bigger. No offense Grandmother but we don’t have crime here.”


“We do but you would not have heard about it. No I will not explain. You can ask me later after you finish school.”


“What school am I going to?”


“How about the FBI academy? Would you like to work for the US Government?”


“Really? How?”


“The Council has been trying to get someone to join for a few years. The Fed’s have to deal with paranormal crime on a daily basis. Some of the less powerful groups already have trained agents serving. They have been asking for a magic user for a while.”


“And they want me? Don’t they know about the mistake and bad stuff that happens?”


“Dear one, even the Council knows that it is not your fault. The have offered to train you, under the auspices of the FBI of course. If you want to help people, this is your chance.”


I of course said yes. So begins my journey. Wish me luck because heaven help the FBI if I cut loose. I hope they have good insurance.













Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Snippet #3 from The War to the Knife


Admiral Emily Kane had no idea that anyone was searching for her. She like the rest of the galaxy had no idea of the invasion that had begun or what danger it represented. After the battle against the New Imperials she had taken the remains of her fleet and left the New Texas system. Searching for a place to lick her wounds and rebuild she took the fleet to the very edge of the old Empire’s boundary.

The Greenlandia system was about as far out as you can go and still remain civilized. The fleet maintained a small resupply base out here along with a fleet of patrol craft. She was hoping they had not been co-opted by the Cabal yet.

Her small fleet finally made the jump into the system. It had taken more than a dozen jumps to get here.

“Sir, a fleet just jumped into the system!”

“Sound battle stations and alert the fleet! Lock down the bunker.” The small combat center was located inside one of the small mountains on Greenlandia. It was the most modern system on the planet. The whole mountain was a base. Red lights began to flash and special action teams raced to secure all the exits. A large ten ton door began to swing closed. It was an old school solution that would stop most pirates or raiders. The door closed with a loud boom sealing the combat center.

Across the planet every community was enacting something similar. Young women and children were running to the shelters. Militia members were arming themselves and city defensive batteries were uncovering. For over fifty years the planet had been at the mercy of every pirate or mercenary band in this end of the galaxy. After joining the Empire changes were made.

“Do we have an ID on those ships yet?”

“Sir, our sensors say they are Imperial fleet but we can’t tell which one yet.”

“We need to know the ID’s on those ships! If this is the Cabal we could have a serious problem!” The techs and specialists were typing and working at a frantic pace. The threat against the planet was real.

“Major! I have ship ID’s!” The major stepped over to the techs station and peered down at her console. One of the sensor stations in the asteroid field was in position to lase the ships and check their identification.

“Sir, they look pretty beat up. The carrier is the Vindex we have her as being the flagship of Admiral Emily Kane. The two heavy cruisers are the Warspite and Lepanto. Records have them as being surplus models from IS2. We don’t have records for the destroyers or the light frigates. There are about a dozen patrol craft being towed by the larger ships and what looks like two supply ships. Not a huge fleet but one that can hurt us.”

The Major agreed. “Pass the word to President Erikson that he may be needed. We need to contact them and find out who we are dealing with here. Contact the defense fleet and order them to continue to hide. When that fleet reaches orbit with Máni lase them and send the standard greeting.”

Onboard the Vindex Admiral Kane watched her plots carefully. This system was a complete unknown to her. They were one of the last planets in this sector of space to join  the old Empire. Her fleet records were incomplete and only showed the resupply base.

“Admiral!”

“Yes, Captain Moore?”

“Ma’am we have just been lased by a communication laser. We have the following message from the planet.”

“Put it on screen.”

The vid screen lit up with the head and torso of a man dressed in a military uniform of some kind. He had very pale skin and almost white hair. “This message is for the fleet that just entered the system. Identify yourselves or prepare to be destroyed.”

Emily stared at the screen. “Hmm, that's a bit ambitious of them don’t you think? Contact them for me please.”

Monday, September 5, 2016

Status update: What am I working on today

So, I thought it was time for an Update of what I am working on. War to the Knife is coming along well.  I have 17,000 words completed with 8 chapters done. The cover is done early for a change. Expect it in maybe two weeks. Lots of battles to write still. The Cabal is going down. Count on it. Moving on. The first book of the Federal Witch is due mid October (at the request of my wife). So that is my next project. After that we will roll straight into Book 2 of AL Universe otherwise know as Space Cadets. We get to see what happens when a tech-head, a Soldier, and a CATT end up as Interns on Freedom Station. I have a  mock up of the cover on my Goodreads Page if anyone wishes to see it. Goodreads is kind of fun. I like to post stuff there first before the Blog so it can be a good place for special updates. After that expect another Athena. I really want Book 11 out before the end of the year. Next year there will be lots of new things. More Athena, More Wilson, and More CATTs. Plus a few more .... Now back to work.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Here's snippet #2 for the upcoming new Book 10 -War to the Knife!

The large troopships settled into place on the landing field. The three enormous ships were of a new design for Earth. Special ramps and exits would allow the four Delta Divisions to unload at breakneck speeds. Armored vehicles and tanks began rolling down the ramps.

Delta 2955 watched as his troops marched down the ramp and secured the area. Shots began to ring out as the recon teams encountered survivors of the attack or civilian workers.

“Sir, we need some of those humans!”

The Delta commander gave the Zeta a funny look. “Our sensors show several hundred million of the vermin here on the planet. There will be some left for you. Don’t worry. My men have had a long trip and need to blow off some steam.”

“Sir, my orders from the Alpha is to begin setting up the first of the extermination camps. Can your men clear us an area for that?”

Checking the map he pointed to a spot next to the main terminal. “Here. Will this suffice?”

The Zeta looked at the map and smiled. “Yes, Sir. It is close to the main terminal and is nothing but concrete. Little chance for escape. How soon can it be cleared?”

“We will hunt down the vermin for you. Yes, we will save some for you to play with. Moving the aircars and debris is your job not mine.”

“Understood. I will draft some of the Gamma’s for that. They need to check for new tech anyway.”

The Delta nodded his consent. He like many in his command may not like the Zeta’s but they were very practical. More and more armored vehicles rolled off the big ships. This was their planet now and they intended to stay.