Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Water People

It's everyone's right, everyone who sees
The vastness of the oceans
The continuous widening of the sea

It occurred to them that when the land fell
They should find someway to survive
The new Earth they called hell

And live as they might
With each trembling breath
They cough the whole night
With a disease they call death

But the sun dawns
As it does every day
And they ride along rough wind
Going along their way

And this cycle they know they're keeping
Because it a dim future where the cruel waters
Are never, ever sleeping

Monday, February 20, 2012

Some updates and changes to my titles.

In gearing up for the release of my debut novel, The Influence, I've decided to do a major overhaul of my existing titles.  I've updated the covers for a couple of them but the most prominent change is my prices.

Because I would like to build more readership between now and my big release, I've lowered the prices of several pieces and made a few others free.

Some of my links on my home page may not work yet and some of the prices may not yet reflect the changes but they will soon.

I'm very excited about these changes. I know. It doesn't take much to make this nerd happy.

Peace, love, and download some of my work already,


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Barrier: Ethics vs. Duty" by Pamela Caves - Excerpt

You can purchase Barrier: Duty vs. Ethics on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site!

 Assault Squad 13 has been sent to Dryza to help a colony they believe might be under attack from the Snarls. Rasa and Triana have been paired to search abandoned mining tunnels.
It had also been over two hours of silence. Aside from a brief order telling me to glance around a dead end corner, Rasa said nothing. She always walked around generally stoic anyway but now I kept imagining her behavior as something that was personal against me. Sabina was her friend, quite possibly her only friend, and dealing with her loss couldn't be easy out here. That was assuming she felt anything. I'm not quite certain how Decanites really deal with death.
Aside from the silence, Rasa's orders were a little strange. Instead of allowing me to partner in the search, she was often a step ahead. I wanted to say something to her but my stomach was already in knots. So instead of talking about it, I decided to just take the initiative. I stepped beside of her, intent on covering the alternate side of a T-junction we were coming to.
"Get back to where you were, Sergeant."
"With all due respect, you can't cover everything yourself."
"How did you cover Doubek?"
She didn't sound angry and that's what threw me off guard. "I asked how you covered Doubek. I do not believe you misunderstood me."
Thinking your crew feels you are responsible for the death of your own is nothing compared to actually hearing it out of their mouths. Even though I was afraid they thought badly of me, I never believed any of them would really blame me. The emotional stab to my heart was horrible.
"I had no choice. I had to go ahead. They ordered me to restore power."
"And did you succeed?"
"What do you mean?"
"Did you succeed in restoring power?"
"You know the answer to that." My stomach flopped.
She came within centimeters from my face. She had a mild pasty smell to her. I tried not to breathe in her scent as I stared at her eyes. They weren't actually all white as I'd previously thought. There was a slight cream color in the middle, so slight that it was almost unnoticeable... well, at least not noticeable unless you were close enough to feel her hot breath on your nose. If I ended up throwing up on her at this distance, I think I'd just resign.
Her tone sharpened. "You were useless. You neither helped your partner nor did you accomplish your other objective. Now your partner is dead. Do not expect me to have faith that you have my back if we get into an incident with the enemy."
She moved away and continued the search while I stood there like an idiot with tears welling in my eyes. I wanted to cry, I really did, but I didn't want her to see me cry. It wasn't that my feelings were hurt (although that was part of it), it was that I was angry. And when I get angry, for some stupid reason, I tend to cry. The only purpose that serves, other than humiliating me, is to further fuel my antagonist. I held back to my original position and hung my head to hide the temperature change in my face. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that not everyone can see like I can.
Somewhere in the middle of my self loathing, a small dot of heat caught my attention along the route of the opposite side of the T-junction. There was a slight noise coming from that direction that I couldn't identify.
My misgivings temporarily forgotten, I asked, "Sergeant Rasa, do you hear that?
"There is something down there."
She appeared at my side and shined her light down the tunnel. "I see nothing."
"I see the heat coming off of it."
"The enemy?"
"No. It's too small. It's probably an animal."
"Unlikely," she said as she cautiously led the way. "There isn't a water or food source this far in. If it is an animal, it is displaced. We will need to return it to the outside."
"Agreed." I hadn't been aware that she was so compassionate.
On average, a Roen's hearing is better than a Decanite. Rasa was just starting to hear the noise.
"It sounds like a baby," I commented.
"What kind of baby?"
"A humanoid baby," I mused. Really, what other kind of baby would I be talking about? "Haven't you ever heard a baby cry?"
"Once, standing in a transport line. The damn thing was oozing mucus from its nostrils, salivating at the mouth, and would not stop bellowing. Alien babies are annoying and disgusting."
I couldn't help but laugh.
"I do not see what you find amusing."
"You don't have babies on Decan?"
"Our hatchlings are sent to centers for transition. They do not rejoin their parental units until they are pre-pubescent."
While we walked, the crying grew louder. There was no mistaking that it was a humanoid baby.
"There is someone else down there. Do you see the heat signature?"
"No, I just see the baby's. Are you sure it's a person?"
I saw what she was talking about only a minute later as my flashlight hit the back of a UA uniform. Someone was lying on the ground on their side with their back to us.
When we reached them, Rasa checked the body while I picked up the crying infant. It was covered in a standard issue United Alliance thermal blanket. The skin tint was orange. But it wasn't Human or Jeviet. Its nose was flattened, almost bird-like and its thin red hair was soft down.
I calmed the little one down by talking to it softly and bouncing slightly. "I don't recognize this species. There's avian and humanoid characteristics."
"This officer is Major Idel Joshen, currently assigned to HQ, special tactics division. Looks like a level 5 pellet discharge."
I wondered if Rasa was thinking the same thing I was. This whole scenario made no sense. What the hell was a special tactics officer doing out here with an infant? But we weren't allowed to speculate. We knew that if we were to talk about it, conspiracy theories might start rumors and rumors were dangerous in our line of work.
Rasa marked the location, took a video, and picked the body up as if it weighed no more than a suitcase. The baby started to fall asleep, soothed by the movement of my walk. It watched me with the most striking pair of green eyes I'd ever seen and I couldn't help but stroke its head and smile.
"Avoid attachment, Sergeant," Rasa ordered.
You can purchase Barrier: Duty vs. Ethics on Smashwords (several formats available), Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or search for it on your favorite site!

Like Barrier? Join the official Barrier site and get more information about the Barrier Universe, its worlds, races, and more!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Wanderer

Dark of sky
Pure of heart
With eyes that ramble
Gouging the mark
The land goes on, far away
This place she sees
Surely will stay
But it moves through her mind
Leaving waves of uncertainty
And now she can't find
Where she was meant to be.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heaven's gained a wonderful 5 year old. And he can probably see outer space.

Quite some time ago, I created the little graphic above to help spread the blog of one of my writer pals across my many networks. Sherry is a beautiful woman whose writing draws you right in. If she's in pain, you feel it. If she's happy, you become happy. And as I've read the blog, I've realized that she is a far stronger woman than I; than most people I know, really. Her son, Logan, was diagnosed with a brain tumor a year and a half ago. The blog chronicled their experiences as Logan battled the disease.

Yesterday, Logan, age 5, passed on.

It was difficult for me to explain to my sons why Momma was sitting in front of the computer crying. They know about death in the sense that years ago, before they were ever born, their brother (age 2 at the time) was killed in a car accident. They know that their Nana (my mom) suddenly got sick and died (also before they were born; I was actually pregnant with my oldest at the time) and more recently, their aunt passed away. I was afraid they wouldn't understand and I was ready for the questions when I told them that Momma's work buddy (how I refer to my online co-workers) had a son who became very sick and has passed away.

"So he's in Heaven?" my oldest asked.

"Yes," I replied.

"I wonder if he can see outer space. That would be neat."

I remarked that he probably could. :) It's amazing how young childrens' minds work.

So it's Sherry's request that today, we do something fun in Logan's honor. That's what Logan was about, she stated on her blog; fun, laughter, dancing, and sunshine. So, sometime in between getting a client's book edit sent back, putting up laundry, and completing homework, I'm going to set aside some time to do something fun with my boys. I don't know what, just yet, but we'll definitely figure something out.

In the meantime, Sherry, my family's hearts, prayers, and thoughts are with you and your family. And Logan, I'm looking forward to meeting you in the next life.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm disappointed in Shadrack McGill

I wonder if anyone out there can relate to this theoretical scenario. Let's say you work at Company XYZ. You meet a guy at the store one day and the topic turns to your job. Come to find out, that person wants to work in the same field. You think that person would be perfect for the job and so you talk your way up the chain; you vouch for him, state your support for him and the guy is hired. You feel pretty good about it for awhile... until the guy says something that completely embarrasses the entire company. How do you feel after something like that? Embarrassed? Disappointed? Heart broken that the guy didn't live up to your expectations?

That's me. A couple of years ago, I publicly supported McGill on DeKalb Ramblings. I voted for him and urged hundreds of readers to vote for him, too. When I saw a story yesterday morning and realized the scope of how far the story stretched, I was shocked and embarrassed. Certainly he didn't mean what he said. But the audio was right there. There was no denying it and no recourse to say that it was out of context when it was right there in plain English.

If you haven't a clue what I'm talking about, click this, go read it, listen to the audio, and come back. Go on. I'll wait for ya.

I'm not gonna sit here and say that I got him elected. That's absurd. (And my ego isn't that big.) But I did put myself out on a limb by supporting him and now to have him insult an entire profession, a profession that I'm studying to get into, it's... well... embarrassing, disappointing, even a little heart breaking.

I've really tried to keep my opinion to a minimal. I had to do an objective run down of events for Examiner but I needed to do a commentary for Yahoo!News, too. Even still, I've been trying to keep my mind open. I still wanted to hear from him if only to gauge for myself what in the blue blazes he was thinking about when he said that.

But when I got home from classes last night, I read all the follow-ups and watched the interview on WAAY 31's website where he talked about balance and corruption and having quality teachers because of low pay but justifying a legislative raise he said he was going to do away with. I'm just kinda shaking my head about it all. Even if he responds to my messages, at this point, it's going to take a lot to convince me that he's working in the best interest of state education.

And you know what the kicker is? A lot of people are focusing on the separation of church and state issue he spoke of and ignoring his attitude about teachers and education. My head is freakin spinning.

You know, I think McGill is a fine person and I'm not going to fault him for his opinion. He has every right to it as much as you or I do. However, I don't think he represents my interests any longer. I feel that he is going to have to say or do something remarkable if he expects to get reelected. From all indications, and from every poll I've seen thus far, it just ain't gonna happen. (That's as southern as I'm going to get in my writing for today.)

Alabama is one of the poorest and least educated states in the U.S. Obviously, what Alabama has been doing with education hasn't been working. And here's my creative metaphor for the day:

When the side of a house cracks over and over, no matter how many times you patch it up, you know that something deeper is wrong. The foundation is off balance and needs repair. It takes a lot of effort and more work to repair a foundation than it does to patch up a crack. But in the long run, if you repair the foundation, you'll be saving lots of time and money that you would've spent continuing to patch the side of the house.

THAT's our education in this state. Our state leaders keep throwing money here and there to patch the cracks in the side of the state. They don't realize that in order to properly repair our state, we need to go in and repair the foundation of the state. That foundation is our public education. Those kids can grow up knowing how to live on their own, knowing how to hold a job, knowing how to start a business, knowing how to become responsible state (and national) leaders. Without education, we have no future for Alabama. People who want better for their children will leave. Businesses will leave or not even come here to start with. Teachers who want more out of life than continuing to struggle to pay student loans and other bills will go to states that pay competitively.

And you know what? It's already happened. I know a wonderful Christian teacher who decided to teach elsewhere because she couldn't get the pay here that she could out-of-state. That doesn't mean she's "low quality" or "not called" or just after a paycheck. It's highly insulting to suggest otherwise. She wanted a better life; one that she couldn't get here. There's nothing wrong with wanting or striving for a better life, and it's certainly not against any Biblical principle that I've ever heard.

It's not about religion or balance. It's about investing in Alabama's future. It's about our state leaders having the right attitude toward education.

I can write about it all I want and it's not going to make a difference, though. Voters are going to have to care and stand together. It sounds corny but look what protesting did to halt SOPA. Alabamians do have it within themselves to demand better. They just need to speak up.

Peace, love, and thinking before speaking,