Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Questionable Vision

October 27, 2013


Gah! What a week in television. Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D got interesting, Sons of Anarchy kicked several plots up a notch, Arrow continues to WOW me, Haven had a kick ass episode and Walking Dead still amazes and creeps me out all at the same time. J I already miss Strike Back, but hopefully a new season will be announced, if it hasn't been already.

Shifting gears, tonight's post if from Questionable Vision, which oddly ties into the game changing theme of my TV shows this week. Park goes through an experience that has him questioning everything he believes.

Here's the tagline:

Park Danielson doesn't want to fight anymore. Stuck in a warzone, he has one burning question: Why bother sticking around? Darby Young has the answer: He's not allowed to leave.

Here's the sneaky peek…

Park Danielson drifted in space, ensconced in the eject seat from the cockpit of his plane. His vision filled with nothing but a raging battle, silent explosions, and bursts of light—quite a show, watching the death dance unfold and it begged a single question in Park's mind. What was it all for? At one time, he thought he knew… but the events of the past few days were proving him wrong. Or maybe he'd just been living a lie and could only now face the fact. His list of regrets had been safely stored away since the day of the attacks, but they occupied space in the forefront of his mind now.
 Not like he hadn't added a few mistakes recently—he had—but he'd looked at the end of the world as something of a clean slate. A way to hold on to the basic principals of duty, honor, and leadership, forging ahead, while leaving behind things like regrets, recriminations, and failures.
 Witnessing the wanton destruction going on around him made Park realize he couldn't completely excuse himself from anything. He could shove it all to a dark corner and ignore it, but nothing ever went away. It wasn't how things worked.
 With each new flash of battle, an internal war raged within him. As the violence escalated in every direction he could see, Park couldn't hold back the feeling of despair that had been eating at him for days. The disappointment and dissatisfaction closed in on him as he drifted silently in the vast nothingness of space.
 The word echoed in his mind, drowning everything else out. Why were they fighting? Why was it okay to assassinate a military officer… on anyone? Why did he agree to follow the order to do so? And why did he think, for however brief a period, that he could make a difference after the attacks? That he could walk away from his old life and begin anew?
 He couldn't.
 He couldn't change the mind of his father or the president. Hadn't even tried, really. And he agreed to follow orders because Darby asked and trusted him to have her back. Neither duty nor honor motivated him into saying yes. Loyalty did. Loyalty to Darby made him agree to do something not only illegal, but morally wrong. He couldn't claim to have never done anything that skirted the moral boundary… God, he had. But it left him with the sad knowledge that they truly fought for…
 Park couldn't face it anymore… a future of never ending battles with the enemy while humanity slowly destroyed itself. Wouldn't it be better to let it all end? When he discovered the tear in his flight suit, the answer suddenly seemed very simple.
 Stop fighting. Let go. Concede the battle.
 He would die with regrets, about Darby, his father, every past mistake… but he wouldn't regret dying. The feeling of drowning in the macabre spectacle raging around him would soon fade and he'd finally find peace. Quiet for his soul. A place to rest.
 Park let everything go as he breathed his last breath… drifting toward that imagined haven. In his last moment, with the last beat of his heart, he truly accepted his readiness. When fate intervened and brought him back, the shock turned into something deeply profound.
 And he couldn't seem to come to grips with being alive. He felt all wrong—out of place and off kilter. And he didn't want to be there.
 When Darby said they should just be glad they both came back alive… he told her the truth.
 "That's just it, Darby. I didn't want to make it back alive."


Darby stopped breathing for a moment. "What do you mean… you didn't want to come back?" She couldn't have heard his words right.
The very concept of Park opting out hit her hard. They had so much left to do. So much left to explore. But first, they had to get the hell out of their own way.
Something neither she nor Park had been able to do. Yet. They always seemed to end up on opposite ends of the spectrum and had to build bridges to meet in the middle. If Park stopped meeting her halfway, her world might just crumble.
His gaze slid sideways. "It means what you think it does." He moved his eyes straight ahead again… to stare at the top of the bunk.
Darby got up. She needed to move, to think, to digest. "Wow." She paced back and forth. "I have no idea what to say to that." Her head couldn't process the idea of Park Danielson not being in her life anymore. By choice.
She whirled around. "Actually, I do. What. The hell. Park?" She paced again. "You're serious, aren't you?" She shook with reaction. Wanted to shake him for causing it.
God damn.

So, Park throws Darby for a loop and she doesn't like it one damn bit. :D

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip.

ML Skye

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Bucking Convention

October 20, 2013


So… one of the things I love about The Walking Dead is how much it blows my mind and creeps me out in equal measure. LOL Seriously, the show has so many little nuances that always suck me in, and yet it tops itself weekly by grossing me out to the point of wanting to heave. :D

Let's see, what else? Strike Back season finale did NOT disappoint. I have one or two teeny quibbles, but I had a huge grin on my face with the final scene, so yeah, direct score for season three (or, well, four, if you count the way I do and consider the first series with Armitage and Lincoln as number one). I honestly hope there's another season to watch and enjoy.

Arrow also ranks right up there on my obsession list. I want to talk and write meta posts about how much I love it. I haven't been so obsessed with a show since the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Sons of Anarchy comes close, but I sort of avoid the fandom circles for the show.

Anyway, tonight's post is from the follow up to last week's entry for Top Dog Pilots. Bucking Convention takes a look at Max and Maggie six months later.

Here's the tagline:

Max and Maggie survive Hell Week and start a relationship that works. Tragedy strikes Max's wingman and when Maggie shows up as the replacement, she discovers a very different Max. Not a good thing when he lives to fly.

And a sneaky peek…

Captain Maggie Harper blew out a deep breath, flipping the folder in her lap closed. She didn't want to read anymore details about the explosion that took the life of a fellow pilot. One she'd soon replace on the roster.
It sucked to step in when a comrade went down. Worse, when you were personally involved in the fallout.
And it didn't get any more personal for her.
She happened to be replacing Max Cutter's wingman.
Her heart tripped a little. It could have been Max's ship. The prayer of thanks she sent out might be rude, but so be it. Maggie wouldn't apologize for being happy or relieved Cutter didn't die in a freak accident.
They had a good thing going and she wanted to keep it that way.
Six months and no signs of slowing down.
Maggie smiled. Their interesting Hell Week interlude proved to be just the thing they needed to get through that particular bit of the insanity. But they'd stumbled a little afterwards. Danced around the idea of letting the sex remain a one time thing.
Okay, she danced around it. The fear of losing Max as a friend almost won out, regardless of the really great sex.
Cutter convinced her otherwise, two weeks after completing the quals, on the night they both made captain.
When the pomp and ceremony ended, he grabbed her hand, led her outside, and practically ran back to his base apartment. He tugged her inside and immediately backed her up against the wall while kicking the door shut. She didn't have time to think or speak before his lips were on hers, creating a raging fire that she needed him to suppress.
That night clinched it for them, and so far, their relationship had been great.
And it hit her again. She could've lost Max. And yeah, they were still new at the couple thing and trying to figure it all out… but it hurt to breathe when she thought about it.
If it hurt her to think about it, how did Cutter feel right now? Watching his wingman's ship explode? Maggie shuddered. Had to be the worst thing a pilot could witness… even though they all knew the risks.
Was she ready to deal with something like this?
Were they ready for it?
They'd be going from something quite casual—they each maintained their own place—to fairly domestic at warp speed.
She'd find out soon. The Pathos was within comm range, docking would be underway in less than three hours. She'd be face to face with Cutter again. And she'd give the relationship with him her all—because she was pretty sure she loved the guy. Maybe she'd suck at it and maybe she wouldn't.
Either way, Max would understand. No one knew her better.
She liked it that way.
And if her stomach clenched up a little? Had to be expected, right? New relationship. New orders. New CO.
New living arrangement.
But she'd handle all that like she always did.
Jump in with both feet and hit the ground running.
I have so much love for this couple. And they have one more story which I'll feature a little bit of next time.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip.

ML Skye

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Surviving the Trap


So…. Walking Dead is back!! Arrow premiered!! The Tomorrow People is pretty awesome. Strike Back is one episode away from the finale and ripped my heart out Friday. And Sons of Anarchy is batshit crazy, which I totally love.

TV is good right now, people. So very good. Oddly, when I've got great stuff to engage my mind, I tend to write more prolifically. This is not a bad thing. LOL

This week's post is from the opening book to the Top Dog Pilots, Surviving the Trap. I'm hoping for a release in the next month or two. YAY!

Here's the tagline:

Take one week of extreme training, add in two top guns, and stir together with a healthy dose of unresolved sexual tension. The outcome is two pilots pushed to their limits and they need to find a way to get through their hellish experience and possibly into each other's arms.

And a sneaky peek…

While he waited for the deck crew to haul his plane to the hangar, he tried to remember the last time he'd been this tired. Closing his eyes, he smiled when the memory hit him. It had been when Maggie "Magpie" Harper dragged him on a cross-country trek to…where? He couldn't recall at the moment, but it had been the best and worst three days he'd ever experienced. The best because Maggie reminded Max of a firecracker waiting to explode, all bundled up in a highly attractive package. She always proved entertaining as hell. The worst because once she had her mind set on something, absolutely no one stopped her. They either went along for the ride or got mowed down, and Max refused to be left behind.
He'd learned that valuable lesson while they were still at the academy, during the first week no less. He quickly discovered tagging along with Maggie usually kept her out of trouble. She had a talent for leaping smack in the middle of something before scoping out all the details. If fact, they'd met when she'd jumped into the fray to cover his back.
He'd been celebrating with some mates. They'd made it through the first week of flight training. Max stayed behind to finish his beer after his fellow cadets had taken their leave. He didn't know how it happened, but a group of rowdy off-worlders decided he'd be their entertainment for the evening. Not one to back down from a fight but not wanting to be expelled for brawling, Max attempted to talk his way out of the situation.
Apparently, his efforts were more amusing than effective. Before he could extract himself, four guys had him cornered and worse yet, they called over a couple of friends. Max had just decided to screw the odds and go for the biggest of the bunch when it happened.
He caught movement out of the corner of his eye, turning in time to see a lone figure leap onto a table and use it to launch themselves at two of the burly men. To his surprise, they managed to take out both in one go but the landing couldn't be considered pretty. His rescuer crashed into the wall and bounced backwards to drop and hit the floor hard. Jumping up—holy hell, it was a woman—she said nothing when she put her back to his and edged him toward to exit. They left the stunned and disappointed group behind, making their way out of the bar with minimal fuss.
Standing outside in the cold air, he turned toward his mystery woman. "Thanks." Probably not an adequate response considering she'd just saved his ass, and didn't even know his name.
Shrugging, she accepted the gratitude. "Anytime." Then she winked at him before heading down the sidewalk.
Intrigued, Max quickly caught up with her. "Wait… why'd you jump in? You don't know me." A gross error he intended to rectify.
His new friend paused at the corner of an intersection and grinned. "You're military, right? Fleet Academy?" She cocked her head sideways, awaiting his answer.
Max stopped next to her, jerking in surprised acknowledgment. "Yeah… what gave it away?" Damn. She was good.
The woman laughed. "The hair. Every time." With casual grace, she propped herself against a lamp pole. "I grew up on military bases. Standard issue cuts haven't changed much over twenty years. And, I've spent the last week in a regulation ponytail myself." Scooping her hair back, she held it at her nape.
It didn't take away from her looks. The light from the lamp allowed Max to drink in the sight of her. Tall and lithe, she had long, blonde hair curling around her shoulders. Her eyes were her best feature though. They sparkled with humor and just a touch of wickedness. Max pretty much fell in love with her on the spot. And she was fleet, too. That meant he'd be seeing her around.
Sticking his hand out, he properly introduced himself. "Max Cutter. First year."
She stood and shook it, giving him a wide smile. "Maggie Harper. Same."
From that moment on, they had each other's backs. They'd ended up in the same flight class and became fast friends, hanging out, getting to know each other, and challenging the rest of the plebes to follow their lead while they crashed through the rigorous training, taking turns in the top two spots. His immediate infatuation tempered itself when he quickly realized Maggie didn't 'do' relationships. Nor did she sleep with people she considered friends, and she regarded him as the best one she had. Sometimes life kicked him in the face that way.
At least she acknowledged the sexual tension pinging back and forth under the surface between them. Her honesty about it pretty much became the only reason he'd been willing to suck it up and settle into a true friendship with her. He didn't have any regrets.
After hearing about some of her past experiences, he realized Maggie saw herself as a complex woman with what she considered enough baggage to fill an entire spaceport. While he didn't agree, he wouldn't be able to change her mind either. And he didn't lack for female companions. Pilot groupies were abundant in every port of call.
Pulled from his reverie by a deck hand popping the canopy of his plane, Max shook his head. Regardless of the lack of sleep, he really needed to stop zoning out and pay attention. Handing off his helmet, he climbed out of the cockpit and nodded wearily at the crewman before stumbling down the steps to the deck. Swaying on his feet, he headed for the ready room. If he were lucky, he'd be able to catch a brief nap before the next launch in—he checked his watch—about an hour.

I'm so excited for this one. Previously released, I've done a bit of an overhaul on the manuscript and it's ready to go. The second book is complete and the third is just about finished. And the entire series has been so much fun!!

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip.

ML Skye

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Snippet: Shyler: Finding Home (A Furlough 99 Novella)


Whew! I'm relieved to say my favorite characters are still intact on Strike Back and Sons of Anarchy. And I got to see more of Stonebridge than I have in a while. :D

Arrow returns Wednesday and I'm dying to have it back on my TV. The behind the scene teases and brief clips are only serving to whet my appetite. Come on, Wednesday!!

Enough about television. Tonight's post revisits a current release. Shyler: Finding Home is taking up some space in my brain because I'm working on a new manuscript for the Furlough 99 brand and it features a character introduced in Shyler's story.

Here's the tagline:

Inspector Shyler Lumen and entrepreneur Marshton Gray don't have much in common. A manhunt for a brilliantly mad chemist brings them together and sparks fly. Shyler and Marsh can fight the wave of change…or grab hold and go along for the ride.

And another sneaky peek…

Shyler found the spot she wanted—away from the main entrance, but still in her line of sight. She also had a view of the back, in case another entrance existed. Hopefully that covered all the bases.
She nodded and grinned. At least she felt prepared.
"Care to share?" Marsh pulled out a chair.
Shyler directed her gaze to the annoyance who seated himself across from her. "Share what?"
"The knowing little smile and what it's all about."
Shyler looked away, checking the two areas. "Not really. You're Mr. Intelligent. I'm sure you'll figure it out."
Marsh let out a frustrated sigh. "It would save time if you just told me."
She shrugged, pleased she'd pushed a button. "Be that as it may, I'm—"
"Shyler Lumen, Inspector?"
Shit. Damn Marshton Grey for being a distraction. She'd completely missed the Guild operative's approach.
Glaring in Marsh's direction, she didn't bother standing, but swung her gaze to greet her new contact's. "Yeah. And you are?" She pushed another chair out with her foot and nodded, inviting the other man to sit.
"Spider Smith."
If his name was really Spider Smith, she'd eat her creds. He looked like one of the low level dealers she used to drag off the streets during a sweep.
But looks could be very deceiving.
Spider dropped down into the empty chair at the table. "I'll be your contact while you're here on Furlough."
Progress. Finally.
"Look, I'll cut right to it—"
"You're here for Baj Dogo aka Doctor X. Responsible for at least 150 deaths with the count still rising. One of those lost was an associate of yours. Went by the name of Glib."
Shyler sucked in a startled breath. "You're very thorough." Her eyes narrowed. "Are you sure you're not a droid?"
Spider cracked a grin. "Yes, I am. And no, I'm not. It pays for me to be as thorough as possible. The Guild needs to know who the players are and how many pieces are involved in the game."
Not a game to her, but she understood. The fewer surprises, the better the outcome.
"I can respect that." She leaned forward. "As I'm sure you've read my jacket, let me assure you right now, I can play nice with others…regardless of how it looks otherwise."
Marsh rubbed the back of his neck and snorted. "I'd like to see that."
Shyler glared. "Shut. Up. You brought that on yourself." She turned her attention to Spider again. "I'm more than willing to cooperate with whomever I have to."
Spider looked from her to Marsh. "You sure about that?"
Slightly offended, she clarified. "I said it, didn't I? I don't want or need the collar. Or whatever bounty there might be on Dogo. I just want to personally interrogate and escort the son of a bitch back to Mars."
Spider looked from one to the other again and it put Shyler's back up. What the hell did he hold back?
Playing it cagey, he lifted a shoulder. "The logistics can be worked out. That's not going to be the issue." His tone clearly indicated something else would be.
Impatient, Shyler all but growled. "Then what is the damn problem?"
Instead of answering, Spider focused his attention on her tagalong. "Marshton Grey, Entrepreneur. Midas touch, growing the already considerable family fortune to greater proportions. On the board of dozens of interplanetary and galaxy wide companies, including the resort section of Furlough. Bachelor, never married, no offspring."
Impressed, Shyler glanced to see Marsh's reaction.
He acknowledged the information. "You are good."
Would that be tension she noticed along Marsh's shoulders?
Spider shook his head. "No, I'm better than good. All that information is public domain. I dug a great deal deeper and uncovered a connection the inspector probably isn't aware of."
Oh yeah, definite tension.
Not taking her eyes off Marsh, Shyler queried. "Oh, really? What would that be?"
Spider shifted in his seat, also keeping Marsh in his sight. "You know Dogo works for Greyswell Industries, yes?"
Shyler inclined her head in agreement. "Yeah. I'm aware of the bastard's employment."
The Guild operative continued. "What you probably don't know is there's a deeper connection, one that might present a problem for you."
Shyler's stomach churned. "Go on. What's the deeper connection?" Her gut readied for a wallop.
Spider shifted again, this time looking at Shyler. "It's familial. Baj Dogo and Marshton Grey share a mother. And from the Guild's point of view, the fact that Mr. Grey wasn't up front about that means he's got a different agenda than you. And that's not okay."
Red. Her anger burned red hot and flashed brightly behind her eyes. Shyler didn't speak…couldn't have if she tried…not until she got it under control.
The son of a bitch had played her. No one's fault but her own. Stupid to feel betrayed by someone she'd just met…but she did. And it sucked. Big time.
Breathing deeply, she swallowed down the rage. When she spoke, her voice came out calm. Cool even. "No. That's definitely not okay. But I'll deal with it." Looking away from Marsh, whose guilty flush didn't help his standing, she turned her attention to Spider. "I appreciate the intel." She decided to focus on more pressing matters. "Moving on. Any assistance the Guild can provide is welcome. I'm assuming you have interview rooms somewhere on this station?"
Spider blinked at the quick change act. "We can probably arrange for one. It might be a holding cell we wire for sound." His cheeks flushed sheepishly. "We don't usually need anything but visuals."
Shyler shrugged. "Whatever works." She thought she'd better clarify a few things. "Look, I don't know how you guys operate, but I need Dogo alive."
Spider tensed for a moment, but relaxed again. "I'll pass the request along…but no promises. The bounty clearly states lethal force is an option."
Shyler leaned forward. "Look, it's important. I need information that only Dogo can provide." She cast a quick glance at Marsh, who had yet to defend himself…or try to. Unsure if she could continue without compromising her case, she opted to throw Spider a bone. "Dig deeper. Into the reports on Mars. Use those mad skills of yours. It might make a difference."
She hoped it would. A person with Spider's ability should be able to ferret out the primo detail being held back from both the press and authorities.
"Please, peel back the layers."
They were racing the clock. 157 dead, but a handful weren't, among them Glib. But they were hanging on by a thread, probably only had 48 hours before they met the same fate as the others.
Spider considered her for a long moment. "Yeah. Okay. I'll see what I can discover." He leaned back in his seat. "Key your creds into any info terminal or droid. It's a link directly to me. It's also how I'll update you with any new intel." He slid his gaze toward Marsh and turned back to her. "Gotta say, I admire your restraint." Referring to the fact her head hadn't completely spun around and popped off as yet.
Shyler didn't acknowledge his comment. Decided it would be best not to. She got to her feet. "Scan my creds to communicate. No prob. Thanks." She leveled her gaze on Marsh. "Let's go."

My next installment for Furlough is going to be Spider's story. Honestly, I'm thrilled about writing it and so far, it's been as much fun as I anticipated. Spider meets his match when Hailey Webb decides she wants his help.

That's it for this week. Catch everyone on the flip.

ML Skye