Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Struggles of a 2nd Generation Tomboy

I wrote this a while back and have posted different versions/snippets in some other places but I am thinking of making it into a novel at some point.  It has a strong female protaganist based on my daughter in hopes of helping her to find her identity, to merge her tomboyish tendencies with the young lady she is.  It is a difficult thing to learn, hard to explain as a parent and one who went down the same road.  While I am confident in who I am now, it was not always so.  I see her going through the same challenges, the same conflicts.  At least clothes are a bit more forgiving than they used to be (I recall hideous pale pink and bubblegum colored sweaters with bows and ribbons and hearts).   The playground?  Not so much.  My daughter doesn't understand the draw of Justin Bieber, doesn't think boys are "cute" (not yet and I am so glad!), prefers basketballs and light sabers to dolls and playing dress up.  She asked for a Houston Texans Andre Johnson jersey for Christmas (*proud!!*) and cringed at the idea of "girly gifts" (though she handled those she received with grace beyond her years).  Anyway, I wrote this short story for my Peanut because I know how much she loves fantasy stories (again, *proud*) and I wanted to create somebody like her, somebody strong and beautiful and full of grace. 

A snippet from Atya

The silk nightshirt clung to her like a slimy second skin.  Atya willed her breathing to match the gentle rhythm of the dancing leaves outside her window.  Once her heart stopped racing she exhaled and wiped the sweat beads from her brow.   The herbs did not work.  Still the nightmare came with a vengeance.  An owl screeched somewhere in the distance, another bad omen.  Atya forced herself up on one elbow to feel the cool breeze on her face. 
            Pulling off the soaked shirt she shuffled to the wash basin.  Vara snored softly on her pallet, oblivious to Atya’s sleeplessness.  Slipping into a pair of trousers and training shirt, Atya crept out the door and down the hall, careful to avoid the creaky boards as she had every night for many years.  Sticking to the shadows, Atya made her way to the clearing beyond the forge. 
            “Pa-pa?”  She listened for the electric ripple through the trees.  It did not take long for the diaphanous image of her father to sweep into the clearing.
            “Atya, at the ready!”  Though lacking its volume, her father’s ghostly voice retained its severity.
             A broken branch flew across the clearing.  Atya leapt gracefully into a back flip but the thicker end caught her knee hard enough to alter her trajectory.  Recovering as best she could, Atya fell into a crouch and withdrew a scrap of metal from the junk pile to cut down the next bits of debris.
            “Yes, Pa-pa.” Atya grabbed a larger piece of scrap from the pile, shrinking behind it as a shower of stones battered the faux shield.  She waited for the barrage to cease before peeking around the edge of the metal plate.  A massive tree branch hurled toward her, Atya flung her makeshift shield at it and rolled to the side, cutting her hand on the smaller piece of metal she would not yield.  Ignoring the sting, the young woman rebounded in time to stave off the next onslaught of pebbles directed toward the spot she quickly vacated.
            “Again. This time do not speak.  An attacker will not seek your acknowledgement.”  Before her father’s ghost finished speaking, the crackle of a tree trunk warned her of its imminent fall.  Atya sprang to safety as the dead tree landed with a thud.  They continued in such a matter until the first rays of dawn colored the snow-covered peaks of Morine range. 
            Bruised and weary from training, Atya settled on a fallen tree trunk, watching her father’s ghost float to and fro as he was wont to do.  “Pa-pa?”
            “You are improving, Atya.” The ghost paused to look toward the house.  “How is your mother?  And your sisters?”
            “They are well.  Ma-ma stills sobs for you when she thinks we are sleeping.”  Atya and Vara kept that knowledge to themselves.  “Are you certain I cannot tell her?”
            “No, daughter, our arrangement does not work that way.  You and you alone witnessed the truth and made the oath.”  The specter looked to the east.  “I must go, Atya.” 
            “I know, Pa-Pa, I know.”  Atya closed her eyes to fight the tears.  He did not need to carry more guilt to the other realm. 
            “You could not have saved me, Atya.  Do not carry my death as your burden.”  His words, spoken a hundred times before, echoed through her head. As the first sunbeams warmed her face, Atya opened her eyes, tears flowed free and the memories came unbidden.

Seven years before
           “Pa-pa, how about using rubies?”  Atya watched as her father dipped the blade in water to cool it.  “They would match Commander Coulyon’s red cloak and –“
            “Atya, Commander Coulyon does not wish his sword to be jeweled.”  Castor had no sons but his second eldest daughter could pass for one given her crudely cropped hair and masculine attire.  “It is early, daughter, why are you awake?” 
             “I came to learn, Pa-pa.  I can do this.”  Atya sat upon a work bench toying with a small dagger and swinging her legs casually, eyes trained on Castor’s every move. 
             “Atya, they will never permit you to run the forge alone.  For all the games you play at being a boy it cannot change the truth.”  Castor crossed the room and laid his finished work beside her.  Firelight reflected off the blade and for a moment Atya swore she saw a shadow in the reflection.  “You are young, Atya, this will not be enough when you are grown.”
             “Yes it will, Pa-pa.  I am not like Vara.  Mother destroys all I cook, my weaving is pathetic, and I cannot sit still for lessons.”  Atya frowned.  There was more but it would not do to mention them now.  “I know the metals and the stones.  If you would let me work the fires I know I could –“
             “Enough, Atya.”  Castor laughed, a deep belly laugh that shook his large frame.  “Indeed you should have been a boy.  Very well, we begin your training by fire on the morrow.  I will speak with your mother tonight.”  He tousled her hair, still smiling broadly.  “Run along, wash up and help with dinner.”
             “Yes, Pa-pa.”  Atya leaned up and pecked her father on the cheek.  Before she could slip out the side door, the front entrance swung inward in a flourish.  Atya leapt behind her father as three guards burst through the door followed by Commander Coulyon.  Father and daughter knelt before him.  Atya studied the polished boots of the troops, waiting for the Commander’s release.
              Atya waited for her father’s weight to shift before she stood and slipped behind him.  Peeking beneath her father’s elbow she studied the Commander.  Not much taller than her father, Commander Coulyon appeared far more menacing. Atya could not remember a time before this Commander.  Though she was but a toddler when Coulyon relieved the prior Commander of his duties, Atya knew the tale as well as any citizen of Leavai.  After winning a victory in the west, Coulyon walked into the former Commander’s war tent and slit his throat before the council.  After slaying three more men he was chained and delivered to Emperor Attan.  Most men would have faced a week in the stacks followed by a slow, extremely painful death, but not Coulyon.  In a surprise move, Emperor Attan promoted Coulyon.  Since then, the people of Leavei knew prosperity but at a great price.   Though always skilled in the ways of war, since Coulyon’s advancement the people of Leavei no longer knew the feel of peacetime.  Now the ruthless Commander stood before Castor with a menacing look in his eye and his lip curled in a sneer.
            “Is it ready?”
             Castor pushed Atya back further, “Go on, help your mother with breakfast, I will be in shortly.”  Atya nodded and slipped out the side entrance.  Ignoring her father’s instruction, Atya hopped on a crate and peeked in the window.
             “Commander Coulyon, I did not expect you this early.”  Castor shifted to the table where the finished blade lay.  “The blade will be ready this afternoon.  I can have my eldest deliver it to your camp –“
              “That does not work for me, blacksmith.  I requested it today, I am here and I wish my sword.”  Coulyon shifted.  “I am very disappointed.”
              “Apologies, Commander.  I misunderstood.   It will be done within the hour.” 
              “You do not understand.  I want my sword now.”  Coulyon flicked his wrist and before Castor could react, the three soldiers fell on him.  When they withdrew, Castor fell against the table.  Atya suppressed her scream, shock and fear cementing her in place.  One of the soldiers took the blade, handed it to Coulyon and led the way out of the shop. 
               Atya stumbled off her perch and flew into the shop.  “Pa-pa?”  Blood saturated his shirt in three places.  A sick feeling filled Atya’s stomach as she crept around to see his face.  His eyes were wide open and blood trickled from his mouth. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Featured Author - J.K. Accinni

Take a minute to learn about J.K. and pick up her books!

About the Author

J. K. Accinni was born and raised in Sussex County before moving to Randolph, New Jersey, where she lived with her husband, five dogs and eight rabbits, all rescued and currently resides in Sarasota, Florida. Mrs. Accinni’s passion for wildlife conservation has led her all over the world, including three trips to Africa, where ten years ago she and her husband fell in love with a baby elephant named Wendi, that had been rescued by a wildlife group. That baby is the inspiration for the character Tobi, the elephant featured in her fourth book titled Hive.

The character of Caesar is inspired by a real life iconic tiger from Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota. A portion of the proceeds from her third book, Armageddon Cometh, will be donated to the sanctuary in support of the enormous expense required to house and feed the displaced wildlife in their care. Mrs. Accinni invites her readers to visit bigcathabitat.org to view the astounding facility and plan a visit with your family.

Baby by J.K. Accinni


Have you ever wondered why God does not punish the evil and depraved of our planet? Why does He tolerate the destructive bloodthirsty nature of Homo sapiens allowing them to rule over all creatures, abusing and exploiting according to their whims? Why has science been unable to solve the vexing mystery of our ancestor, the Missing Link? How could one planet evolve such complex and divergent examples of biodiversity? Can you imagine God ever saying, “To Hell with this mess that is Earth?”

The series “Species Intervention #6609” spans two hundred years, encompassing tender love between divergent species, political downfalls and violence of unspeakable order. It is an unfortunate tale of Armageddon and the remote possibility of redemption.

In Baby, Netty is a naive teenage farm girl given in marriage to an older brutal opportunist disguised as a successful citizen during the years of Prohibition in Sussex County, New Jersey.  After years of enslavement, Netty flees into the night from her rapist husband, traveling back to the farm worked by her parents, where she rescues an unfamiliar damaged creature she finds in a cave in the woods of her childhood, falling in love with the enigmatic creature she names Baby. Together they find happiness and fulfillment despite the changes to Netty’s body wrought by the proximity of the unusual creature.

When a handsome Italian stranger comes into Netty’s life, complications ensue as she falls in love while trying to hide the bizarre and wondrous changes to her farm and her body.  Netty, Baby and Wil strive to conquer obstacles thrown in their path by life, succeeding wildly until the heart-rending and astonishingly brutal climax to their story.

Echo by J.K. Accinni


Netty’s influence transcends a full century as the United States evolves to a point of politically driven economic collapse. The year is 2033 as a young mother, abused by her shiftless husband, heroically decides to remove her two sickly children, Scotty and Abby, from the mean streets of their government subsidized tenement town of Short Hills, New Jersey to the hills and old farmland of Sussex County. There they unite with a Latino family that adopted Jose, a young boy from Costa Rica, traumatized at the age of seven by the brutal murder of his parents and the kidnapping of his infant sister.

The two families unite to pool finances, creating the love and bonds that will enable them to survive the psychotic attention of Armoni, a soul damaged beyond redemption, discovery of Baby’s miraculous offspring, Echo; and their subsequent body changes. Through the efforts of Echo who develops an unexplained passion for the curly haired dog, Barney, they flee the clutches of Armoni after the murder of Armoni’s sidekicks by Echo, to Sarasota, Florida, one of the last remaining enclaves of wealth in the U.S.

Scotty learns to utilize Echo as a co-conspirator in his intrigue to thwart the efforts of heinous people that prey on the lives of creatures in their environmentally rich new home, where the insidious miscreant, Armoni, tracks them; dragging along Ginger Mae, a New York City prostitute looking for opportunity with her mute child, Daisy; bringing brutality and violence to all.

Having fallen in love, the young  Abby and Jose draw close, only to be separated by the transcendental Netty, who tries to use Abby as a conduit in her plan to rescue as much wildlife as they can before despicable political events bring on the specter of Armageddon.

Author Links

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Guest Post from the stunning Gillian!!

Have you ever wondered why it is that so many middle aged women are such huge fans of the ya genre? Being a middle aged woman who is a huge fan of the ya genre I believe I am more than qualified to tell you why.
The answer is really quite simple. It's fun easy reading. Adult novels are quite often bogged down with descriptive narrative and complicated plot lines. It's not fun to try to read a story when due to constant interruptions you have to keep going back and re-reading the same paragraph just to make sense of it. As a busy mother, time is something to be cherished and having to waste it re-reading the same thing time and again can be frustrating. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to the day I will have enough peace in my life to be able to find the time to sit down and read war and peace from cover to cover. But at this point in my life I know that as soon as I try to sit down to read I'll be lucky to get five minutes before I have to get up again to run a bath or get a drink or make a sandwich or break up a fight or find the husbands lost keys.
So if I can find a story that takes me away from the humdrum of that existence, and one that I can continue straight on from where I was interrupted at and easily recall what was going on, then I'm going to be much happier. So I am going to keep picking up the soppy teen fantasy stories that take me away the minute I start reading and keep me trapped in that world till I'm finished.
I live to write


Headstrong and determined, Hannah always knew that she would become the Guardian. She was the keeper and the protector of all supernatural. What she didn't expect was that it would mean she would have to endure the agonising death of her mother first hand as their supernatural connection brings her to her knees, or that it would mean that she could never be with the man she loved.
Blond haired, blue eyed Gabriel was her handsome childhood friend, but would circumstances prevent her from ever being able to explore her true feelings for him?
Jesse, the dark alluring but incorrigible vampire would give anything to be with her, but as the guardian Hannah is forbidden to fall in love with the supernatural.
With her life in turmoil over her conflicting emotions about Gabriel and Jesse and her frustration at being unable to exact revenge for her mother’s horrific death, Hannah flees her life in an attempt to start over. But can we ever really escape from ourselves?
There is no escaping destiny no matter how hard she might try and Hannah must learn to reconcile her commitment to her family with her responsibility as the Guardian and her duty to her heart.


Hannah’s life has never been easy, despite her strong willed determination and her extra“gifts”, it's still always been hard work keeping an entire world full of the supernatural under control, but having achieved a small semblance of control over most of the custas, Hannah was hoping to be able to slip back into her life of normalcy. Wishful thinking when you're the guardian of all supernatural.
With all the issues she’d had to endure in her past, she'd never had to worry about the mermaids before, so why would they choose now to suddenly start haunting her dreams and her life. Then there are the fairies to contend with as well, just when she manages to get one aspect of the crudelitas under control, the others decide it’s time to start causing problems.
All Hannah wants is some quiet family time and a chance to reflect on her feelings for Gabriel but instead she's thrown back into the thick of the supernatural world, and this time it threatens to invade the quiet family life she has worked so hard to establish. There's no running away this time, she has to front the challenges head on, but forever can be a long time if you can't be with the one you love.

And coming soon Revenge 

Hannah finally has everything she wants out of life, devoted friends, a loving family, and the man of her dreams. Or does she? Life is never easy when you are the “Guardian”of all the supernatural beings, but surely this much heartache is more than one person was ever meant to have to contend with?
The Nephilim are on the hunt again but this time it’s not only the vampires they are hunting; and knowing that Hannah is still on the lookout for a new Custas, why would the witches be willing to work in conjunction with them? Then there’s Gabriel; after waiting for centuries to be with Hannah, what could possibly ever entice him to want to kill her. With all the supernatural issues she has to contend with how is it even possible a human could be any sort of a threat to the family life Hannah has built.
For over three centuries, one thing has been Hannah’s main driving force, but is it even possible for her to ever track Phelip down and get the final Revenge, and the final peace she has been hunting for.

For more on Gillian:


Monday, January 7, 2013

What a start to the new year!

2013 is off and running and so am I!  New digs, new job, new goals!  I am so very excited for this year as it simply HAS to be better than last year.  I am so excited to go to my new job at the fabulous Visitors and Convention Bureau with one of my best friends in the world.  It is the first time in ages that I actually enjoy going to work, the first time I do not wake up dreading my job.  The kids have already noticed the difference and that pleases me greatly.  My new home is coming together nicely and I feel extreme satisfaction at having my own space where my kids can be themselves and we can move about as we please.   It's simply delightful.  Beyond that I have set new goals for myself - perhaps a bit lofty but not unattainable.  Yes, 2013 looks to be the best year I have had in a long, long while. 

More on Estelan to come.  Cheers!!