Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sneak Peek #1: Dawn of the Red Sun

For those who are curious to see what I'm working on, I'm starting a series of "Sneak Peeks" at my works in progress. My first sneak peek puts Dawn of the Red Sun in the spotlight. This is Book 3 in my Sunscapes Trilogy (scifi/romance)--Book 1 is Last Chance and Book 2 is Here There Be Dragons, just released this past Fall. I'd love to hear what you think, so feel free to comment!

Sunscapes Trilogy
This series is about the epic struggle between two mega companies, deciding the fate of the entire galaxy. The Endgame has begun, pitting Shay Enterprises against Quasicore—the Shay twins, mysterious and dangerous, weave a seductive web for their ruthless, lethal opponent, Webster Griffin, whose hunger for power and control might just destroy all civilization.
Dawn of the Red Sun centers on dark and deadly Kai Shay and Griffin's cool and clever daughter, Liaena. Set on opposite sides of the conflict, their fatal attraction for one another lends a sharp edge to their determination to win at all costs.

Dawn of the Red Sun
Sunscapes Trilogy Book 3


Liaena remembered with crystal clarity the day the Shays came to visit, fixed the fountain, and destroyed an entire art collection. She’d only met them once before, but they’d made an impression—she’d bruised Manakai Shay’s shin for insulting her.

The day of the fountain, she met them again with a sense of dislocation. Years older, they hardly seemed the same children. Her resentful memory of them shriveled in the face of their impossible beauty and charm. Then again, she was not the same either. Her fierce fire had faded, dampened by her father’s endless cold lessons on proper behavior and obedience.

Their father was still as she remembered, a tall, lanky man with ink-dark hair and a reserved smile. His eyes held the same warm green twinkle as his children’s, as if mischievous thoughts ran rampant behind his composed face. He spoke to Liaena’s father with such amazing, fearless ease.

Webster Griffin terrified everyone. Including Liaena. She’d never seen anyone treat him with less than absolute deference. Fascinated, she watched without really hearing their words, studying their calm confidence keenly. Didn’t they know her father was dangerous? Or did they know something she didn’t?

Her father’s heavy hand on her shoulder startled her out of her thoughts. “Daughter, be a good hostess and show the young Shays our Aqualyr.” Then he turned away with Ezekiel Shay, leaving her alone with the twins.

She said nothing at first, unsettled by the adults’ abrupt departure. The twins watched her with their unnerving cat-green eyes and identical faint smiles. They were older than her, taller, intimidating. She wasn’t sure what to do.

“Are you going to kick me again?” Manakai asked with a curious tilt of his dark head.

Liaena straightened with as much dignity as she could muster, face burning. Remembering her father’s lessons, she said, “Of course not,” in an even tone.

Sinsudee slanted her brother a quick look, smile deepening. “Aena, what’s an Aqualyr?”

Liaena blinked at her, distracted. Was that a nickname? But didn’t people use nicknames when they liked someone? She wasn’t sure—she’d never been around other children. “Um, it’s the Water Room. One of Father’s art collections. All the pieces are made of water or have water in them. It’s this way.”

She headed uncertainly down the corridor then gained confidence when they followed her. They moved so quietly, though, she had to keep checking to make sure they were still behind her.

“I like art,” Sinsudee offered in a soft, lyrical voice.

“I’d rather slice,” Manakai said. “Is this water room any fun?”

Liaena shot him a puzzled look. “Fun?”

“Yeah, fun. Like games, a slide maybe. Or hey, it’d be fun to chuck things at my sister. Got any water balloons?”

“You’re a booger, Kai,” Sinsudee declared easily, smirking.

Liaena reached the entrance to the Aqualyr, turning to them with a frown. “What’s a water balloon?”

“What’s a—?” He gaped at her, which should have made him look dumb but didn’t.

“Close your mouth, brother,” Sinsudee said absently, her green eyes studying Liaena with a troubled edge. “What do you do for fun, Aena?”

Having no answer, Liaena shrugged and silently opened the door, waving them through. She watched them as they entered, waiting for the gasps of amazement, the awe and avarice the opulent water room usually wrung from visitors. But the Shays only glanced around with mild curiosity at the hangings, sculptures, and framed art.

“Huh.” Manakai stopped next to the ornate marble fountain in the center of the room, hands on narrow hips. He sent Liaena a grim look. “No slides.”

“This one’s pretty,” Sinsudee commented, gesturing to a water sculpture held together by a film of glowing multicolored energy. “Looks like an angel. I don’t get that one, though.” She pointed to a tangle of tubes with colored fluid bubbling through them, and then made a face over her shoulder. “Is it supposed to look like a pile of guts?”

Liaena felt a strange sensation in her chest like a bubble trying to escape and realized it was the urge to laugh out loud, something she hadn’t done in a long time. They weren’t afraid of her father and they weren’t impressed by his wealth. Her father flaunted this collection but it bored and grossed them out. Crushed under a wave of youthful admiration, she swallowed her laugh and watched them with wide eyes.

“Your fountain’s busted,” Manakai announced, staring at the thin streams of water gurgling apathetically out of hidden spouts. Then his face brightened. “I can fix that.”

Sinsudee winced and swiveled toward her brother. “Um, Kai…”

Manakai bent, searching the base of the fountain. “Just have to find the control panel—yes! Here it is.”

“We’re not supposed to touch things—” Liaena said on a surge of alarm when a panel slid open under his fingers.

“Seriously, brother, this is not a good idea.”

Manakai knelt next to the fountain, studying the panel display with an absorbed expression. “Told you, I can fix it. Dad says I have a natural talent.”

Moving behind him, Sinsudee bent and frowned over his shoulder at the display, her hair cascading forward in a rush of blue-black silk. “Dad was just being nice. You break things more than you fix them.”

“Oh shut it, Sinsi. This thing reads like there’s low pressure. Bet it’s the regulator.”

“It’s just slow not broken,” Liaena tried feebly. “I’m sure maintenance could—”

“Why wait?” Manakai said, shooting her a dazzling smile. “We’re here now. Just gotta find that regulator.”

Sinsudee reached over his shoulder and touched the display, pointing when a schematic of the fountain appeared. “It’s right there. But I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem.”

“Bet me.” He closed the panel and sidled along the edge of the fountain, opening a different slot. “Who put his own slicer together from parts?”

“Oh sure, you did a great job. Does it fly yet?” Sinsudee scoffed. But though her tone was full of sisterly contempt, she didn’t stop him from sticking his hand inside the fountain, crouching to get a look for herself.

Manakai glowered at his twin and mumbled, “Bad parts.” Then his expression lightened, eyes gleaming with triumph. “I found it! Okay, gimme a sec…”

Liaena stared at the two of them, nonplussed. Her father had given her a simple order. How had it gotten so out of hand? Yet she couldn’t stop watching them, absorbing everything about them. Having spent most of her isolated life with adults who either ignored or avoided her, these two were an exotic revelation. They glowed with energy like mini-suns, fearless and vibrant. They reminded her of her mother’s island, of the beaches that had been her playground, of warm light and life.

“There!” Manakai bounded to his feet with athletic grace and made a theatrical ta-da gesture. The fountain rumbled oddly, the gurgle of water lurching to a foaming stream. “Your fountain is fi—”

Water exploded from the spouts, spraying in all directions.

“—ixed,” Manakai sputtered, turning his face away and holding up a hand to ward off the deluge.

Liaena clapped her hands over her mouth, staring in frozen horror at the catastrophe unfolding before her. The water pressure was so great it knocked sculptures off stands, hangings and frames off walls. It ricocheted off the ceiling and drenched the entire room. Cold water soaked her hair, her clothes, dripping down her face like ice tears.

Then Sinsudee laughed. The sound held no malice, no ridicule, just pure humor and lyrical delight. She held out her arms, looking down at her water-logged self. “Kai, you’re an idiot!” she chortled then stepped forward, angled her hand in one of the streams, and hosed down her brother.

He yelped in gleeful outrage and splashed her back. They chased one another around the fountain, laughter ringing through the small room.

Liaena found herself giggling behind her hands, shivering with cold and terrified wonder. The Shay twins had taken disaster and turned it into a playground without a hint of fear for what they’d done. Weren’t they worried about what their father would say, what he would do to them? Instead they were having…fun.

A small part of her remembered what that was and stirred. Warmth spread through her, as though she was dancing on a beach again, listening to her mother’s laughter.

“Aena, grab him!” Sinsudee called in a light, breathless voice. “We’ll show him fixed…”

The door slid open and Liaena froze again, ice shooting like white lightning through her heart. Their fathers stood on the threshold, expressions blank with surprise. Liaena’s father touched a control next to the door. The fountain gasped and died.

For a moment, silence held, broken only by the drip of water off every surface.

Then Ezekiel Shay said in a low, rueful tone, “Oh, Sun’s Blood,” and his children stepped forward together, their laughter gone.

“Sorry, Mr. Griffin, I was just trying to fix—”

“—I tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t—”

“—fountain wasn’t working right, so I thought—”

“—never listens, he’s always trying to—”

“—tweak it a little, it’s a mess but—”

“We’ll clean it up,” they said in unison.

“Web, I apologize for my children.” Mr. Shay was gazing at the twins, hands clasped behind his back. Liaena searched his features for disapproval, anger, malice. All she saw was mild censure and furtive amusement. “At this age, they’re twin typhoons. I’ll reimburse you for any damages, of course.”

“No need,” Liaena’s father said with a chuckle, casting an indulgent smile on the twins. But she saw the chill in his eyes and shuddered. “We did send them off to entertain themselves, though this wasn’t quite what I had in mind.” That hard, icy stare flicked to Liaena long enough to freeze her heart with the promise of painful punishment.

Ezekiel Shay made a sound of amusement, his gaze moving to her as well, though his eyes twinkled warmly. “Don’t be too hard on your daughter, Web. Not much can stop these two when they get rolling and I doubt very much she helped.”

“Oh, no,” Sinsudee said hurriedly, stepping forward and sending Liaena an anxious glance. “Aena didn’t do anything.”

Manakai volunteered, “She tried to tell me to leave it alone.”

“Well, there you go,” their father said, mouth twitching with the beginnings of a smile. “Sin, Kai, apologize to your hostess for the trouble you caused her.”

Liaena realized she still had her hands clasped over her mouth and dropped them, shuffling nervously as the Shay twins approached. She tried to speak, to say they didn’t have to apologize, but her voice failed her. Sinsudee reached her first, wrapping her in a gentle hug. Liaena made a squeaking sound, body stiff with shock.

“I hope you’ll forgive us,” Sinsudee whispered in her ear. “And if you want to kick Kai again, that’s okay with me.”

She let Liaena go with a muffled snicker, stepping aside for her brother. Liaena stared up at Manakai, wondering with dizzy horror if he was going to hug her too. Instead, he gave her a dazzling, charming smile and clasped her hand in his. His touch was shockingly warm.

“I’m really sorry, Aena. I hope you don’t get in too much trouble.” Then he bent and kissed her cheek, sending her world into a spin. “It was fun, though,” he whispered with a mischievous grin and a wink.

Then they left her there, wet and dripping, full of unnamed emotion, etching the day on her memory in bright, unbreakable lines.

~Dawn of the Red Sun will be coming soon~



Friday, February 7, 2014

7TH SHOWCASE: The Huntress

To conclude my showcase series spotlighting my published novels, this seventh post focuses on my very first published novel, The Huntress. It may have been my first step into the publishing world, but I'm still quite proud of it and still very much in love with the characters, from the Huntress herself, Mea Brin, to the object of her hunt, Seth Terrik (aka: Bay Stone). A wild ride and hot romance, The Huntress has a bit of scifi action for everyone! And it doesn't stop there, the fun spilling over into a series of short stories titled Stepping Stones (further down in post).

Amazon Purchase Link: The Huntress


The Hunter:
Traumatized at a young age by the violent death of her parents, Mea Brin becomes a Hunter, part of an elite policing force of the Planetary Coalition. She is the best of the best, ruthless and predatory on a hunt and driven by the memory of violence. But then she meets Seth Terrik, an escaped convict, and Regan Freya, a child recently orphaned. The pair make an impression on Mea she can’t ignore—she feels a deep empathy for the girl and in Terrik she sees reflections of herself. Her choices seem limited—duty demands that she capture the escapee and turn the child over to the proper authorities. But Mea is not one to allow duty to define her. She creates a new choice.

The Convict:
Seth Terrik has spent more than half of his life in prison. All that he knows or cares about is survival and the fight for freedom until a trusting girl becomes his responsibility and a seductive Hunter offers him what looks like a second chance at life. The simple rules of his existence become much more complicated as he is forced to redefine the concepts of survival and freedom. What does a hardened criminal like him know of trust or love? Is he even capable of stepping beyond instinct and into human emotion?


Mea could see his shadow but not much else. He, on the other hand, could see her more clearly. She let her eyes travel down then back up, taking in every muscular inch of him. “I could always sweeten the deal.”

The point of his knife at her chest stopped her forward momentum. Eyeing it for a moment then grinning up at him, she stepped to the right and began circling. “By that I mean if you haven’t found transport by the time I’m done here, I could take you myself to a destination of your choice.” She was pleased to see that he didn’t turn with her, just watched her when she moved behind him. “Think about it. Good food, hot shower, soft bed…”

On the last two words she ran a nail across the back of his neck. He reacted instantly, knocking her arm away and grabbing her throat. Slamming her up against the wall, he pressed the cold edge of the blade to her jugular. Stifling long years of training, she relaxed in his grip.

“I said, not interested.” His deep, inscrutable voice didn’t sound the least bit unnerved, but his actions said otherwise.

She chuckled low in her throat. “All right, stubborn. If your mind is made up.” She ran the backs of her fingers along the inside of his wrist.

He immediately released her and stepped back.

She had to bite her lip to keep from laughing. Oh, what a tasty treat you are, tiger, she thought with hungry humor.


Mea Brin: A bounty hunter who tracks down baddies and brings them to justice. Her life is thrown into chaos when she meets an escaped convict she doesn't want to hunt.

Seth Terrik/Bay Stone: Escaped convict and consummate survivor; he doesn’t believe in love until The Huntress and an orphaned girl teach him.


5-STARS - "The Huntress" by ItsWindy
Amazingly human. Action adventure romance and mystery. Strongly passionate. Once you get a glimpse of these characters you're caught in a fascinating venture. You won't be bored!

5-STARS - "Fantastic!" by liirogue
I couldn't put this one down. I was completely drawn into the world and became attached to the characters. It's sci-fi, but it doesn't get bogged down in techie descriptions like so many others in this genre tend to. Highly recommended - great mix of adventure and romance.

5-STARS - "Satisfyingly Excellent" by Mara
Mea and Seth/Stone are perfect for each other and the world-building is great. It is detailed enough to be comprehensive without the error that so many writers make, of being so detailed that it becomes a bore. There's lots of room for the reader's own imagination to fill in, and to allow the author to write more stories in the same universe. Same with the back story of the protagonists. Perfect!

5-STARS - "Loved It" by Megan Gambrell
Stone and Mea are the cutest couple. Regan is so intelligent and cute. Warren and Ema were funny and were very supportive of Mea and Stone. Highly recommended if you enjoy action packed romance stories. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!5!

5-STARS - "The Huntress" by Tree
After several thousand scifi books and a handfull of romance novels (not my usual cup of tea), this author has done a rolicking, wonderful thing. She has out-sexied the old prigish scifi of the fifties and sixties, probably out-sexied the majority of romance novelists. But, better yet, Mea is the more human and humane hero that we could hope our daughters and sisters could believe it possible to be. In spite of all the violence and bleakness in the life of a Hunter, this author dares to unmask her men, women and children as being people who have more in common than not. Afraid, hungry for closeness and kindness, and finally suffering the despair of not knowing if caring is even possible. The whole thing would be almost laughable EXCEPT this writer seems to know that we're all hopelessly at the mercy of those we love and need the most and of the quiet dread of all lovers that their beloved may not just be late to supper, but may well be lying dead somewhere. Cry for the mortals!

5-STARS - "Awesome!" by Silverlake
This book is so awesme! I love it! I would highly recomend this book to romance lovers and action lovers. Although, I would not recomend this to kids under 14.


Amazon Purchase Link:
Stepping Stones: The Huntress Series of Short Stories

Sunday, February 2, 2014

6TH SHOWCASE: Angels and Ministers of Grace

In this sixth installment of my series showcasing my published novels, Angels and Ministers of Grace takes center stage. A scifi romantic adventure with intriguing aliens, a heroine with extraordinary powers, and a grumpy hero determined to do his duty.

Amazon Kindle Link:
Angels and Ministers of Grace


Anya Vaedrin is a woman of extraordinary talents. A singer by trade, she has earned the nickname Angel with her voice, her white hair, and deep blue eyes-and a secret.In a time when telepaths hold power and empaths are ignored, Anya is an explosive mix of the two talents. Able to both read emotions and cause others to feel anything she wishes, from joy to fear and pleasure to pain, Anya is a new breed the telepaths would give anything to possess. Or destroy.

Pursued to the ends of human space by a telepathic assassin, Anya has one last hope of safety before she must brave alien territory. Far Reach Station is known for its liberal policies towards alien species, but would they give sanctuary to someone wanted by the Telepath Guild?


Jason felt like a hungry tiger watching his prey pass all unknowing right under his nose. His fury had transformed into a raging hunger, making his who...le body tense and burn. Her own extravagant anger only added fuel to the fire—her flushed face and snapping eyes made her even more beautiful to him.

“I cannot believe you two let it get that bad! Do you know how hard it was to be in the middle of that thing? Those people had gone to the point of madness, all that violence and pain. And it all could have been prevented! I could just—”

She passed too close. He pounced, dragging her against him with one hand at the back of her head and the other arm around her waist. Control lost, he slanted his mouth across hers, the frustration, jealousy, and anger of the past few days forgotten as her sweet taste and intoxicating scent soaked into him like a balm and rendered him mindless with desire...

Amazon Reviews:

5-STARS - "Adventure and love with a side of mystery in space" by B. Appling
Wow, I couldn't believe how much fun and intrigue could be in space. Throw in alien species and a possible war. Add a bit of romance and sexual tension. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.

5-STARS - "A Review of Angels and Ministers of Grace" by AJ Caywood
Michelle O'Leary has written a great Sci-Fi adventure and love story with her second novel Angels and Ministers of Grace. All the characters-whether human or alien-are well written and come to life on the pages. The worlds she creates for her characters have the complexities that Sci-Fi lovers enjoy, and the romance that evolves between Anya and Jason is a wild ride itself! Full of emotion, world-building, and alien creatures, this is a wonderful story to curl up with and read in one sitting.

Amazon Kindle Link: Angels and Ministers of Grace

Hero & Heroine:

Anya Vaedrin: singer and tel-empath, she has a unique power that makes her a target. Searching for sanctuary, she finds more than she bargained for at the Far Reach Station, including the means to rescue herself.

Jason Salvatore: second in command of Far Reach Station; his carefully ordered world is turned upside down when he meets Anya “The Angel” Vaedrin.

What I liked best: I most enjoyed the intrigue and alien mystery of this storyline, the epic events and consequences of the characters actions. I suppose this title could be labeled a space opera, lots of action and far-reaching repercussions.

What I liked least: Usually I say the ending, but in this case I wasn't as attached to the main romantic characters as I was to the secondary ones, Captain Marta and Rie the Thlassnian especially.

Questions or comments? Post here or email me: