Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Book 6 is out. Emily Kane in Girl Rides The Wind

Finally, after all these months, Book Six of The Emily Kane Adventures is available at all major online retailers. It took longer than I expected, but if you ask me, this one is the best book in the series so far. I know, I always say that, but I really think you'll agree with me.

Anyway, you can find it right now, on iTunes, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords.

It's also available on several subscription services, like Scribd and Tolino.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Girl Rides The Wind, Ch. 8, Sneak Preview

Chapter Eight
A Question of Wardrooms
The grind of life on a warship tended to bring its own inertial motivation, a daily round of meetings, exercises and tasks, occasionally interrupted by a “live” mission. Three times, Emily’s chopper had flown the teams out to islands at the southern end of the Philippine archipelago, and each time they’d come up empty, finding only the detritus of abandoned camps. All the while, the Amphibious Squadron steamed eastward, heading for the Marianas where another set of exercises had been scheduled. The Devil Dogs understood what it meant – “Operation Seabreeze” was as much about fostering cooperation as about catching actual terrorists. 
Meanwhile, Emily frequented the “dirty shirt” wardroom, which catered to the aircrews. CJ and Zaki preferred to take their meals in the XO’s wardroom, but Emily didn’t care for the formality, and cafeteria-style service suited her mood better these days. 
“Are you hiding down here?” Perry asked, as he swung a leg over the chair opposite and nudged his tray against hers to make room. 
“Do I have to answer?”
“Aren’t you afraid the senior staff is gonna notice your absence?”
“Yeah, and I hear the ship’s company gets better food,” Emily replied without looking up. 
“The CO has been hinting that he wants another translator at meals.” He looked for any sort of reaction, even annoyance at his suggestion, and when none was forthcoming, he added: “And with you down here, Diao has everything his way with the conversation.”
“Hasn’t it occurred to you that he’s the reason I’m down here?”
“You’re not afraid of him, are you? That would be a first.” When she raised her eyes, he got a pretty good indication that he’d pushed her too far.
“Not of him,” she snarled, “…for everyone else.”

Girl Rides The Wind. Ch. 7, Sneak Preview

Chapter Seven
Chutes and Ladders

Emily lay quietly in her rack – the clock they shared showed 0439, and its red eyes blinked back at her. Lettering on the back of an old photo she’d tucked up against the wall above her head shook in the general agitation of the bulkhead. She reached it down and held it out before her face in the dim illumination of CJ’s nightlight. “It’s not over yet,” it read. “Sorry, kiddo.” A finger slipped along one edge and she mouthed the final words: “You can count on me. C.”
Three pictures mattered to her, two of which she’d salvaged from the charred remains of the home she’d grown up in. Those images of her not-yet-recognized mother sustained her childhood, and she kept those back at Michael’s house in Virginia. But this one, a gift from Connie, had become the shoulder she rested on in the darkest moments since, too precious to lose, and too important not to keep near. A sealed plastic bag kept it dry – her one concession to the hazards of shipboard life – but it had been in enough uniform pockets to round off two of the corners. 
She flipped it over and let her eyes roam across the fading colors on the other side. The jungle-camo green of the men’s fatigues had gone mostly grey, but Connie’s hair was still blond, tied back in a severe pony-tail. There she stood, on a wooden dock in Okinawa or maybe Manila, next to a single-engine seaplane, with three men. Two of them looked directly at the camera, perhaps surprised, but with faces too stony to show it, and a third man stood further back, shaded by the wing, glowering at something behind Connie. And how had someone even be able to take such a picture – this thought had always perplexed her. Was it a friend? But these people weren’t the sort to make friends, not even with each other. Or just an accident? However it had happened, she was sure Connie had demanded the camera, no doubt hissing a not-so-veiled threat on the photographer’s life.

Girl Rides The Wind, CH. 6 Sneak Preview

Chapter Six
Boarding the Bonhomme Richard

The ride over to Haneda Airport in two buses took just over an hour—luck of the draw, since the other company would leave too late to avoid rush hour traffic—and the charter flights to Nagasaki would occupy another two hours. From there, a short helo-ride would deposit them at the naval base at Sasebo. Seating on the plane sorted itself out in predictable ways, by rank and nation, though nothing required it.
“At least on the bus, we didn’t have to endure the gaijin,” Tsukino muttered, glowering across the aisle to where Emily sat with Durant and Oleschenko. The flight attendant offered him a water bottle and a bag of the orb-like, slightly sweetened cookies called hashimitsu.
“Are you still stewing over the drubbing she gave you?” Ishikawa snorted.
Tsukino growled and turned to Kano for moral support, but none was forthcoming. “You know it’s not right, Captain, not after what she did to us.”
Kano waved him off with an angry glance, and stalked down the aisle to look for an empty seat in the back.
“I could have told you he wouldn’t bite on that one,” Ishikawa said. “But you have definitely got to let it go. So you got your ass kicked… so what? It’s not like you didn’t totally deserve it.”
“Will you ever shut up, Dice?”
“I only wish someone had made a video of it.”
“I’m sure someone did,” Tsukino huffed.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Book 6, Girl Rides The Wind, delayed

It's mea culpa time. Book 6 of the Emily Kane Adventures is not done yet. I know, I said it'd be done by the end of June, and that day has come and gone. I can assure you that I'm working as hard as I can on this one, but it's proving to be more difficult than the previous books in the series.

In fact, I had a long discussion of the problem with my editor, and she pointed out that the difficulty lies in the complexity of this installment. The previous books are all between 80,000 and 90,000 words (roughly the equivalent of a 300 page paperback), but when we went over the story-sketch, and considered the number of events that still need to be worked through, we both realized that this book will probably come in at 120,000 words (450 pages). She says that if I had done a more detailed sketch in the beginning, I'd have seen this and plotted for two books -- in effect a second trilogy within the series (Books 5, 6, 7). I have no intention of doing this, since I'm already 75,000 words into this one; the "Princess Toshi" story-arc will come to a close in this book. But this means that I won't have it finished earlier than the end of July. I apologize for the delay, and am working hard to make this the best book yet. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Research on the Latest Book, Girl Rides The Wind

Ever in quest of authenticity, I traveled recently to Sasebo, Japan in order to see up close one of the important locations for Book 6, Girl Rides The Wind. And thanks to the assistance of Terri Kaltenbacher, the Public Affairs Officer for CFA Sasebo, and David Freeman, in setting up a tour of the base and the LHD6, the Bonhomme Richard (BHR), we got to see how the Navy lives there.

And special thanks to the XO, CAPT McMullen for granting us permission to visit the ship, and to LT H.K. Mansell, AZC L.M. Carter, and LCPL Hector Colon for their patience and generosity in taking us all over the BHR, and answering all of my questions about life on an Wasp-class carrier.

My first takeaway from this visit: however big you think a carrier is, once you get on board, you soon realize it's much bigger. There are external elevators on either side of the ship to transport aircraft to and from the flight deck and the hangar deck. There are also interior ramps for transporting other really heavy things between decks, and for this purpose there are trucks that operate entirely within the ship.

And to all my anxious fans, I'm working hard to finish the book. My cover artist has produced a mock-up of the cover, and when we get a little closer to the release day, I'll reveal it, too. Until then, thank you all for your patience.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Indie Book Bargains "Featured Author"

New developments just keep rolling in. I just found out that I've been selected as a Featured Author on Indie Book Bargains. They're based in the UK, so my plans for world domination are moving forward apace. Thanks everyone, for your support, and especially all my new fans in the UK!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thanks to Spy Guys and Gals

The good folks at Spy Guys And Gals seem to have enjoyed the Emily Kane Adventures so far, and we're very glad to hear it. And with Book 6, Girl Rides The Wind, due out soon, we hope they enjoy that one too! We can only hope to complete Books 7 & 8 quickly enough to please all of Emily Kane's admirers. Wish us luck!

And don't forget to recommend Girl Fights Back to your friends.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sneak preview of Ch. 5 of GIRL RIDES THE WIND, Bk 6 of The Emily Kane Adventures

Chapter Five

“I challenge,” the voice said, and Emily stopped at the edge of the ring, turning to look over her shoulder. “My choice of weapon is shinai.”
“There is no need,” she said, rushing to the center of the ring to kneel at Kano’s feet.
“Do not insult me,” he growled. “You will accept my challenge… unless you think it is beneath you.”
“I would rather be your student, Sensei, than your opponent.”
A moment later, she stood on the side of the ring, as Ishikawa and Lt Otani helped her strap on protective equipment. Shinai are practice swords, made of bamboo strips bound together in a single shaft, lighter than a bokken, and with no edge. But in the heat of competition, an errant blow can still do some damage… and Kano did not look like he meant to tap her lightly.
“You should never have entered the ring,” Lt Otani said. “This could have been avoided if you had just let Sgt Tsukino have his victory.”
“Nonsense,” Ishikawa roared. “Moon behaved like a donkey. He deserved what he got, and she fought brilliantly.”
“What are they saying?” Durant asked from behind Lt Otani.
“Dice thinks I’m a fool, and so does Kiku-san.”
“No, Durantu-san,” Ishikawa said, in the best English he could muster. “I think Tenno-san is awe-inspiring. But she is probably in for a beating.”
“I’m sorry for getting you in to this pickle, LT,” Durant said, after Emily glowered at him.
Pic-kel-u?” Ishikawa said, with one raised eyebrow as he tried to fit his mouth around the word.
“Just like tsukemono,” Lt Otani proposed.
Emily offered an alternative translation: “He means this is a difficult situation.” When Ishikawa still didn’t understand, she said, “I’m screwed.”
“Yes, yes,” Ishikawa said with a big grin. “Screwed.”

Sneak Preview of Ch. 4 of GIRL RIDES THE WIND, Bk 6 of The Emily Kane Adventures

Chapter Four
A Distinguished Personage

In the hot and humid season, merely standing in formation while a party of dignitaries made speeches could be torture. Emily managed to peek over at Oleschenko and Durant, both of whom had begun to sweat through their fatigues. A bit further along the line, she caught a glimpse of Ishikawa in similar straits, but Tsukino and Kano managed to put a brave face on the whole situation, even as the beads formed on their faces. She felt one hanging from her own nose.
“Man, this is interminable,” she muttered. “Why can’t a breeze find us on this infernal base? Is that too much to ask?”
Durant couldn’t suppress a snort at her words, and Oleschenko glowered at the two of them. “Shut it, you two,” he hissed.
Eventually, the proceedings on the shaded podium drew to a close, and several well-dressed people made their way across the front of the formation, accompanied by Colonel Kamakura, commander of the first Airborne Brigade, and Admiral Crichton, Commander of Fleet Activities at the naval base in Sasebo, and the officer in charge of the US contingent of the operation. The command to stand “at ease” made its way around and Emily’s platoon assumed a slightly more comfortable posture, feet apart and hands behind their backs.
“The tall one is Mr. Saito,” Oleschenko whispered. “He’s the Deputy Minister of Defense.”
“Who are the other two?” Durant asked.
“I imagine we’ll find out in a moment,” Emily said. She could just make out what they said to Kano’s unit. Praise for their service in the recent evacuations after the typhoon up north, and encouragement for the tournament to be held later that day.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sneak Preview Ch. 3 of GIRL RIDES THE WIND, Book 6 of The Emily Kane Adventures

Chapter Three
Camp Narashino

Gaijin kusai,” said Sergeant Hiroki Tsukino, who the rest of the platoon knew as Moon. With a sneer and a snort, he looked across the table for moral support.
Takeishi Kano, who occasionally let his sergeants call him Tak, glanced at Emily sitting a few seats away, hoping she hadn’t heard, since he knew she’d understand. The third time club-hopping with their American guests in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo had taken a toll on him, too. But he had other concerns.
“Shut it, Sergeant,” he growled in Japanese.
“C’mon, Captain. How many more hakujin bars do we have to take these guys to?”
“At least it’s not a karaoke bar this time,” Sgt Daisuke Ishikawa offered.
“Tenno, what are they going on about?” Captain Oleschenko asked.
“And do they have to call her that?” Moon said, loud enough to be heard the length of the table. “I mean, what the hell is she playing at with a name like that anyway?”
“Sergeant Tsukino thinks we smell bad, sir,” Emily said.
“We smell bad?” Sgt Durant chuckled. “What the hell does he think he smells like?”
“It’s an old prejudice, from the second world war,” she said. “Japanese didn’t eat much meat in those days, and they thought the GI’s smelled strange, you know, like old butter.”
Kano glowered at his men as she spoke. As irritating as he found her presence, having to guard against offending her made it so much worse. She wasn’t responsible for his father’s death, but she damn well reminded him of the infernal code of honor that propelled him to his end. His father had sacrificed himself to protect her, and he’d done it at the behest of the Crown Princess, even though it required accepting a pretended disgrace in order to go undercover… and even now, three years later, the Imperial Household still refused to acknowledge his sacrifice, or to restore his good name.
“Moon, you eat enough meat to smell like a slaughterhouse,” Sgt Ishikawa roared.
“What do you know about it, Dice?” Sgt Tsukino replied.
“Only what my nose tells me.”

Sneak Preview, Ch. 2 of GIRL RIDES THE WIND, Book 6 of The Emily Kane Adventures

Chapter Two
Treasonous Whisperings

A Few Weeks Earlier

The drive up from the gate of the Soga estate took a few minutes, giving Gyoshin Heiji time to reflect on the changing nature of fortune. More than a millennium had passed since her ancestors broke the power of Minoru Soga’s ancestors within the imperial court, and now the old man was willing to form an alliance with her family.
“How ironic,” she said, to no one in particular. “The Taika reforms undid them, and now they are much wealthier than us, who were only cheated of our influence during the Meiji reforms, barely yesterday.”
Of course, by that time scale, yesterday amounted to a century and a half. Exquisite gardens slipped by, tended by squads of men in pale green coveralls. The main house resembled a shrine from one point in the curving approach, but looked more like a castle as the car climbed the final slope. A man wearing gray gloves waited at the door, bowed from the waist, and ushered her into a lavishly furnished drawing room. Exquisitely carved wood panels decorated one wall, and a painted screen only partially concealed a small writing table in a far corner. She smoothed out a wrinkle in her skirt, and wondered if her navy blue suit, the standard-issue business attire of a civil servant—albeit a relatively high-level one—really suited the occasion.
“Welcome, Heiji-san,” the old man called out from across the room, walking stiffly with a cane. His daughter trailed behind, flowing tall and elegant in a rather non-traditional silk kimono, which, without an obi sash to bind it all together, resembled more a dressing gown than formal attire.
“I am honored by your invitation, Soga-san,” Gyoshin said, with a little bow that extorted more confusion from her than she’d anticipated. Should she bow to a vanquished enemy of her family, and if so, how low? She supposed he affected the cane in order to excuse himself from bowing as low as his ancestors would have been obliged to do a thousand years earlier. With a shiver and a shake of the head, she tried to put her grandfather’s preoccupations out of her mind. The Soga clan now held a controlling interest in one of the largest defense contractors, and was among the wealthiest families in Japan, and in her capacity as Industry Liaison for the Deputy Minister of Defense, she worked closely with Minoru’s daughter, who had assumed the position of Vice President at the Takenouchi Corporation.
“Gyoshin-san,” Jin Soga said. “Thank you for coming. We have much to discuss.”
“I will leave you two to talk,” Minoru said. “You must forgive an old man his hobbies.” With that he turned and hobbled off into another room.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sneak Preview: Ch. 1 of GIRL RIDES THE WIND, Bk #6 of the Emily Kane Adventures

Chapter One
How did it come to this?
With the inflatable safely stowed among the rocks, and under the storm-flotsam she’d collected to conceal them from any planes, or satellites, during the two days they were still out on the open ocean, Emily Kane hauled Sergeant Durant across the beach and into the cover of the trees.
“Damn, you’re heavy, Mick. What the hell have you been eating lately?”
He groaned back at her, semi-conscious, and only able to push off one leg. Blood oozed from his hip and shoulder, and a gash along one rib covered by an ill-fitting bandage, and he winced when she adjusted her grip. Once she’d found him a comfortable spot in some brush beneath a eucalyptus tree, she turned back toward the shore.
“I don’t like the look of those clouds,” she said over one shoulder, not expecting a response. “This may not be good enough shelter. I’m going back for the water and bandages, and then we can try to move again.”
It didn’t take long to gather what she needed, scowling at the horizon the whole time, and when the inflatable bobbed loose from its makeshift mooring, she hauled it higher up onto the rocks, trading concealment for security “A lot of trouble for a raft we may never need again,” she muttered.
“You should’ve left me back there,” he croaked as she came within earshot again. “I’m just slowing you down. We both know what they’re after.”
“Are you questioning my command judgment, Sergeant… again?”