A tear touched the still surface Ripples began to spread I forced my hand against the motion to stop the ripples from reaching the edge Shed unexpectedly without thought Nonetheless recognized - again Not wanting the tear to move or flow wishing it to be buried and drowned unseen The wave rose and crested Falling hard upon the sands of loss Grimacing with bared teeth The pain slipped and fell in the wet sand Pebbles beneath worn shoes Find their way into holes in the heart Sharing past lives lived in sun filled days Undefined measures of time tossed Touch when unaccustomed, burns Skin tender and bruised with mistrust A hand extends to grasp another outstretched Find the gesture was given to another The tear would not be stopped Ripples spread with rapid steps Dashed now against the edge A bowl of water inches deep
Archive for the ‘Author’ Category
The third and final chapter in the Voices of Resistance Saga.
Megan watched as Bob cleared the basement of all the weapons, having put them into storage on the other side of campus. Her heart cried out to him, only he couldn’t hear her no matter how hard she tried. She knew Bob wanted the arsenal far enough away as to be inconvenient for him to access, he no longer trusted himself.
Since returning to DC Mike had withdrawn into a bottle and Bob felt that any day, Mike would walk out the front door and not return. Bob was exhausted, so tired of the long days and empty nights, he was lonely and afraid. It was a beautiful Sunday in August; the neighbors were prepping their barbecue grills, splashing in pools, enjoying each other’s company, while Bob sat on the floor of the study watching Mike sleep on the couch—again.
“You are in too much pain,” Megan said. Bob did not hear her.
Mike knew Bob would find him again on the couch. He wanted to go upstairs and crawl into bed with Bob each time he came home. Instead, he would go into the study and stare at the picture of his family and finish off whatever bottle of whiskey he had in his hand, falling asleep again on the couch. He needed Bob, and he knew Bob needed him, nevertheless, he couldn’t get past the picture in the study. He imagined he could smell Megan’s scent or hear her humming, and it was eating away at him. Mike came home every day to an empty house, his shift at work ending as Bob’s started, so he would leave the house, go to a local bar and drink. On the one night a week he saw Bob, they rarely spoke, and they never touched. He loved Bob, and he prayed that someday, things would change.
Megan spent most of her time watching Mike. She was drawn to him because of the unborn baby, and though she tried to touch him, she only managed to send Mike deeper into the bottle, as he imagined she was there when she shouldn’t be.
Jackie was the only one who heard her clearly, and it saddened her to where she turned to anti-depressants and alcohol to ease her pain. After finally allowing Skip to intervene, Jackie lay in a deep coma-like sleep. She had battled withdrawals for three days and had managed to make it through with Skip’s unwavering support.
Jackie had fought Skip, raging at him, ranting incoherently at times, sobbing, pleading, and finally, worn out from the battle, she succumbed to the exhaustion. She dreamt she heard Megan humming, putting it down again as hallucination since she was having those quite frequently, especially during the detoxification process. Skip told her she would eventually tire out and sleep like the dead. Jackie thought being dead might not be such a bad thing.
It was Skip though who caused Megan to cry out for Joe. Since the sniper’s second shot, the only pain she felt was when she saw the look on Joe’s face as he held her as she lay dying. Skip’s heart was broken, and his mind wasn’t making sense, and the pain he felt resonated throughout her.
Jackie was finally sleeping, and Skip got in his car and drove off, not caring where he went. He wound up in Annapolis. The Sunday morning traffic was light with few cars at the Bay Bridge toll plaza. Skip handed his toll to the attendant and did not wait for the change from the twenty-dollar bill. The attendant looked at Skip as he drove off noticing the holster and handgun on the passenger seat. The attendant picked up the phone connected directly to bridge security. “This is West Plaza three, I have a possible jumper in a dark green Honda Accord. He has a handgun on the passenger seat. Guy paid the toll with a twenty and didn’t wait for his change.”
Megan needed Joe, and in a moment of clarity, realizing he was also dead, she called his name.
“Megan,” Joe replied.
“I’m here, mi amante.”
“We’re dead,” Joe said.
“Yes, my love.”
“Where are we?” Joe asked.
“I’m not sure, but it looks like DC.”
“DC.” Joe laughed. “You’re here with me, though I can’t see you, we’re dead, and you think we’re in DC? I’d say we got off at the wrong exit. Why are we here?”
“Our family is in trouble,” Megan said. “I’ve been watching them, and they are at the breaking point.”
“You’ve been watching them, where have I been?” Joe asked.
“Resting,” Megan replied sweetly. “You were so tired.”
“I’m a little confused,” Joe said.
“It will all become clearer, for now, you and I are together somewhere, we can watch our family, and it appears we may be able to help them. At least that’s what I am sensing,” Megan said. “I slept too, then I awoke and found I could see them. I tried calling for you, only, you weren’t, weren’t, well the best way to describe it is you weren’t awake. Then somehow I knew you were awake and I spoke your name.”
“What about Nena?” Joe asked.
“She’s still asleep,” Megan replied. “She’s here somewhere. Think about her, and you’ll understand what I mean.”
Joe thought about his sweet daughter, and as Megan said, he knew she was okay and asleep. He thought about Megan and felt her warmth fill him and render him slightly breathless.
“Wow, almost as good as having you in my arms,” Joe said. “Now, tell me about the others.”
Jungle tactics–for four American agents, the jungle is second nature. Chasing down intelligence for the US is also second nature. They had been in Central America in 1981 tasked to keep tabs on the Sandinistas and the Contra Rebels. Six set out in September of 1981. Four returned to the US at the end of 1986, where they discover that the deaths of two of the agents had raised the status of those two to legends among the Resistance Guerrillas of Central America. Eleven months later, the team is once again tasked with a mission in Panama. The remains of the two dead agents–ash gathered from their burial pyre in Costa Rica–are in the hands of the Department of State and their deaths are still keenly felt by the remaining four. Asked to return to Panama to gather more intel on a misbehaving General Noriega, the four head back to Hialita, Panama, this time accompanied by the spirits of their dead friends; ghosts to some, family to others. The four: Mike, Bob, Skip, and Jackie, go deep undercover in the Darien Province between Panama and Colombia to get the intel on Noriega. Discovering along the way that they too are the stuff of legends.
It’s 1981 and Central America is at the boiling point with freedom fighters and military governments sparking a civil war in every country from Panama to Guatemala. Six US government agents find themselves in Panama, sent to infiltrate and become members of the Central American Resistance, La Resistencia. Joe Miller, the team leader, has been working with a small group of La Resistencia in Panama’s Darien Province. His contacts there aid the group in finding and joining the arm of La Resistencia in Costa Rica. The aim of the mission is to provide proof that Noriega is funneling drugs, guns, money, and humans from Colombia through Panama and Costa Rica on to Nicaragua and points further north eventually funneling drugs to the United States.
Following the trail of guns, money, drugs and human trafficking that moved throughout Central America from Colombia to Honduras. Surrounded by Contra rebels, Nicaraguan Sandinistas and La Resistencia of Central America, the six find a life among the trees and mountains that speaks to their inner hearts and minds. No longer just US agents planted to keep an eye on the goings-on of the different factions, they become the Voices of Resistance. Training a ragtag resistance army of peasants and farmers to become the most feared Resistance Army in all of Central America. They were La Discordia – The Discord. And they were deadly. Though they continue to provide intel to the US, they begin to relinquish their city ways for life in the rain forest.
For five years, the team remains on the radar of the Sandinistas and the Cuban/Russian element of the Sandinista elite. Hunted now by the Sandinistas and the Colombian drug cartel, the Americans risk their lives to keep the intel flowing to the US.
The steady stream of people appeared content to stand and wait their turn to ascend the hill. Some of them had traveled hundreds of miles to see the monument. Others came from as far as the United States of America. They wore hip packs or backpacks; carried bottles of water, bouquets of flowers, some carried candles. They talked to each other, comparing pictures and other treasures. And all of them held little slips of paper, folded and unfolded to the point where the paper creases had worn thin. Slips of paper stained with lipstick kisses; more often than not they were stained with tears.
Jane Carlsen, a reporter for the Washington Post, watched the stream of people and wondered if she could tell the story while managing to keep these simple people from the strain of publicity. Would she be able to keep them from being exploited by the outpouring of well-wishers? Or keep them from being tracked down by those with long memories bent on erasing all who fought against them?
It was a story that might change lives for better—or for worse. As the car she rode in passed the long line of people, Jane looked up at the hill and the monument. All those people silently paying their respects at the monument to a small group of freedom fighters whom most had never met. Never met except in the stories their parents or grandparents told them, she thought. Jane doubted her ability to tell the story as it should be told. Second-guessing if her words would adequately portray a dedicated team and those who followed them from Honduras to Colombia; driving out the monsters who trafficked in drugs, guns, and humans. They were a source of myth and legend in the deep jungles and primal forest regions of Central America.
Nevertheless, someone needed to tell the story. A story of six people chosen to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom—an honor not lightly bestowed. To let the moment pass without a single sentence from her would be a loss. To tell the story of this team and how they became a legend in a country not their own. Worlds away from the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts where they first met; forming a bond strong enough to take them from one life to the next. Where to find the words, she thought, and where to begin?
This is the story of six Americans. Government agents sent on a mission that begins in the dusty offices of the Panama Canal Zone Closure committee in Panama City, Panama, in 1979. Knowing all along that their cover as administrators for the committee was a thinly veiled attempt to keep tabs on the birth pangs of the Colombian drug cartels. The agents find themselves neck-deep in intrigue and espionage. One woman and three men infiltrate a small group of Panamanians intent on saving the Darien Province, between Panama and Colombia, from being overrun by the drug labs. They rally with the Freedom Fighters, and a legend is born.
Stepping into another book genre is scary. I’ve written for M/M readers. I have written for F/F readers. Now, I am testing the waters with pursed lips and curled toes, about to plunge into the world of historical fiction.
In 1996, I took a trip to Europe where I visited London, Edinburgh, Bath, Versailles, Calais and Paris. I absorbed as much as possible, listening to the guides and reading everything within reach. When I arrived back in California, I had an overwhelming desire to write a story. A story that started in Paris. I began to write a story about a woman and a man who meet on a train.
Over the next twenty years I tweaked and torqued that story. I moved the characters from one country to another. Gave them one back story only to change that as well. I married them off to others and felt their pain when the marriages didn’t work. I kept at them. They remained with me every day, every year and every time I wrote something else. Finally, a story began to take shape that felt exactly right. I knew where the characters were going and what they were doing. You see, I knew them inside and out. I had spent over twenty years growing along side them. This story is all about them and where they decided to go; I only wrote down the words.
This is the story of six Americans. Government agents sent on a mission that began in the dusty offices of the Panama Canal Zone Closure committee in Panama City, Panama in 1979. Knowing all along that their cover as administrators for the committee was a thinly veiled attempt to keep tabs on the birth pangs of the Colombian drug cartels. The agents found themselves neck deep in intrigue and espionage. Treason at the highest levels of government leads them to go deep under cover in the rain forests of Costa Rica. Following the trail of guns, money, drugs and human trafficking that moved throughout Central America from Colombia to Honduras. Surrounded by Contra rebels, Nicaraguan Sandinistas and La Resistencia of Central America, the agents find a life among the trees and mountains that speaks to their inner hearts and minds. No longer US agents planted to keep an eye on the goings on, they become the Voices of Resistance. Training a rag tag resistance army of peasants and farmers to become the most feared Resistance Army in all of Central America. They were La Discordia – The Discord. And they were deadly.
Trying to find a publisher for such a major tome was too daunting a thought. The novel turned into three novels and I set out to independently publish them. Voices of Resistance takes us from the Eastern United States to Central America over the span of fourteen years–from 1979 to 1993.
The story begins in the administrative offices of the Panama Canal Zone Closure committee in Panama City. The year is 1979. Jimmy Carter is the president of the United States of America. Colonel Manuel Noriega runs Panama from the cozy aspect of a man behind the scenes. Drug cartels begin to flourish in Colombia. The guise of administrative officials allows a small group, one woman, Megan McLarren, and three men, Joe Miller, Bob Elkins and Mike Wells, of the Closure Committee to infiltrate a small group of Panamanians intent on saving the Darien Province between Panama and Colombia from being overrun by the drug labs. The group finds themselves on the receiving end of a kidnap attempt. Megan McLarren’s spouse, Mitch McLarren—a senior official in the US Department of Justice—is responsible for the kidnapping. The intention of selling Megan and her knowledge of the treaty to the drug lords in exchange for a steady supply of drugs to the US to be handled and distributed by Mitch. The kidnapping is thwarted and Mitch McLarren is tried for treason to the US. The failed attempt to take Megan McLarren angers her captors and they vow to avenge the action. The tale of how Megan was rescued by Joe, Bob and Mike is spread throughout the villages in the Darien by the natives who knew first hand the bravery of this team. A legend is born.
Book Two: A Cry in the Dark
Eighteen months later and the four agents find themselves back in Panama for the next phase of their mission. Joe, the one agent who had remained in Panama to infiltrate the Panamanian Resistance, is joined by his partner—and now wife—Megan. Bob and Mike meet up with them in Panama and accept the next step: to infiltrate and become members of the Central American Resistance, La Resistencia. Joe has been working with a small group of La Resistencia in Panama’s Darien Province. His contacts there aid the group in finding and joining the arm of La Resistencia in Costa Rica. The darker side of the US intelligence community asks them to provide proof that Noriega is funneling drugs, guns, money and humans, from Colombia through Panama and Costa Rica on to Nicaragua and points further north–eventually funneling the drugs to the United States.
The group digs in and becomes a unit of La Resistencia. They are joined by two other agents, Skip Thompkins and Jackie Dupré. The six of them, deeply embedded with La Resistencia are not only able to provide the intelligence requested by the government of the US, but become as feared and as formidable as any guerrilla group fighting against the Sandinistas. They find themselves drawn to the lifestyle and culture of the mountain peoples of Central America. Though they continue to provide intel to the US, they begin to relinquish their city ways for life in the rain forest.
For five years, the team remains on the radar of the Sandinistas and the Cuban/Russian element of the Sandinista elite. Hunted now by the Sandinistas and the Colombian drug cartel, the Americans risk their lives to keep the intel flowing to the US. In one critical attempt to pass information and obtain supplies, the camp where the Americans are living is found by one of the worst arms of the Sandinista movement. Megan, Joe and their daughter Nena are killed in camp. Facing possible repercussions from their relative agencies for going deep and off the grid, the four remaining members of the original six decide to return to the US with the remains of their family.
Book Three: The Legend of the Darien
It has been eleven months since Bob Elkins, Mike Wells, Skip Thompkins and Jackie Dupré returned from Costa Rica and deep cover for the US government. They are back in DC at desk jobs, separated by agency protocol. They are finding it hard to adapt to the life expected of them. All four are facing a crisis and in an effort to save himself and his family, Bob proposes that the four of them return to Panama and try to find a way back into the La Resistencia. To find a way to finish what Joe and Megan started in the Darien Province. Running guns and drugs out of the Darien and back to Colombia to keep the Province safe for the native Kuna peoples.
The CIA gets wind that Mike may be returning to Panama. The agency decides to make it another operation for the four operatives. Noriega has become a liability for the US. This time they are tasked with finding hard proof that Noriega is using US funds to traffic in drugs and guns. The four agree to go back down to gather intelligence for the CIA.
However, once they return to Panama, the four find a way to go back to the life of the mountains, living as the Kuna live, building an arm of La Resistencia in the Darien Province to keep it safe from the drug cartels and Noriega. The Darien is a magical place and the Kuna natives are a gracious and simple people. Their rituals and spiritual connection to the earth attracts the four, but it also attracts something else. The spirits of their dead family, Joe, Megan and Nena appear to them while they are in the Darien and they help the others confront their guilt and loss. The four agents become strong leaders of La Resistencia with a following up and down the Panama-Colombia border. The drug cartels of Colombia send their henchmen, the MAS, to find the so called Legend of the Darien, Joe Miller, not knowing Joe is dead. Mike and his team keep the legend alive and thriving by driving the cartel thugs back to Colombia.The intel that they pass on to the US leads to the invasion of Panama and Noriega’s subsequent arrest. The four remain in Panama for another two years and then they retire from government work. They make their home in Panama, quietly aiding their friends in La Resistencia without the sanction of the US.
Twenty-one years later the six Americans are finally recognized by the US for their efforts in Central America and are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The four allow a reporter and a photographer from the Washington Post to visit them at their homes in Hialita, Panama. It is then that they tell the full tale of the Millers, Joe and Megan, and their efforts to protect not only the interests of the United States, but the lives of the native peoples of Central America.
As the sun begins to set, the four excuse themselves from the patio of their home to take a walk in the pasture. The reporter and the photographer remain on the patio and watch as they are joined by a woman, a man, and a child. The sun goes behind a cloud and only the four are seen. A trick of the sun, the reporter speculates, until again the sun comes out and the four are again seen being accompanied by a woman, a man, and a child. On a small hill on the edge of the pasture, is a monument. The local peoples are often seen visiting the monument on the hill. On this day, an older man and his grown son have come to see the monument. The older man sees the small group walking in the pasture. He nods and gives a little wave when the woman turns and gives him a smile. The man turns to his son. “Por favor, read the rest to me,” he says.
Below the names engraved on the monument is a single date, 23 Abril, 1986. The sentiment below the date was written in Spanish first, followed by English. The son reads:
‘They were known as La Discordia—The Discord. They brought anguish and fear to the foreign intruders though they themselves were not native born. The natives called them The Voice of the Voiceless. The freedom fighters called them Voices of Resistance. They lived their lives loving and protecting the native peoples of Central America against the tyranny of small men. They fought one battle among the many that were waged against the drug lords, destroying the airfields that were used to smuggle guns, drugs, and humans through the rain and cloud forests of our beloved countries. They died in each other’s arms, holding on long enough to whisper ‘I love you,’ one last time. They gave and lived a life of unconditional love and mutual respect. Here now, the earthly virtues rest under a sapphire sky, where the grass smells sweet and the sun rises to touch their faces with warmth.’
Voices of Resistance Book One: Deception’s Hand is now available on Amazon.com. It is available in paperback and Kindle editions. Book Two: A Cry in the Dark will be available June 2019 and Book Three: Legend of the Darien will be available August 2019.
The two characters, Megan and Joe, have been through many transformations. After many years of struggling to find their own voice, they are content with their story. I hope you feel the same way.
When truth is lost to legend and myth, what is left for those who knew first the truth?
~ The Book of Clanns
Book three in the Shieldmaiden series, Heart of Alban continues the struggle between the Druid Clanns and the Vík Ingr. Lady Athebryn and the Council of Alban, lead the newly formed Armies of Alban as they wait for the Vík Ingr to return.
Alban, the home to many clanns and kingdoms, is fighting to remain free of the marauding hordes from over the North Sea. Leading the cause is the former Druid handmaiden to the Princess Thalynder, Lady Athebryn of the Brae. Bryn—as those close to her call Athebryn—stands as a beacon to the newly formed Armies of Alban. She has gathered the scattered clanns and kingdoms under one banner to fight off the invaders. Those invaders, the Vík Ingr, want only one thing—to kill off the inhabitants of the Alban, especially the Druids. They greatly desire to claim the island as their own and will stop at nothing to achieve that goal. Aiding Bryn and the Army of Alban are the dragons. Descendants of the first stars to fall to earth, the dragons have pledged their allegiance to the Heart of Alban—the Lady Athebryn.
Heart of Alban, the third and final book in the Shieldmaiden series is available now on Amazon in ebook format. A print version will be available by February 22, 2019. This last book is being independently published. Shieldmaiden Book One: Quest for the Jewel and Shieldmaiden Book Two: Jewel of Fire will continue to be published by Bella Books. These two books are available via Bella Books.com or on Amazon.com. I had hoped the final book in this series would also be published by Bella Books. However, as this is not the case, I hope you will checkout Heart of Alban, Shieldmaiden Book Three on Amazon.
I urge you to continue to support Bella Books where so many good stories call home.
On the sidewalk they merge to form puddles.
On the sand they disappear.
On my face, the drops move in rivulets, and hide among my tears.
The wind whips at the bare trees.
It pushes the rain against the windows.
In the light of the incandescent bulb, the rain trails down the glass panes.
Mimicking the path on my cheeks.
In the highlands of Alban near the waters of the Inbhir Nis, Lady Athebryn waits for her dragon to bring word of the enemy across the sea. At her side is her beloved Princess Thalynder. Once handmaiden to the Princess, Lady Athebryn now stands ready to lead the hastily gathered army of clanns and kingdoms to battle against the marauding Vík Ingr.
Danger and death come to Lady Athebryn and her council when the Vík Ingr venture beyond the eastern shore to the brochs and fortresses of the clanns. Will Athebryn be able to lead the fledgling army and not give in to the temptation to use the dragons against the enemy? Will the dragons remain hidden, keeping the secret of Alban safe? If she can defeat the enemy, Lady Athebryn will win the hearts and minds of all, uniting Alban under one banner. But if she fails, then all hope for a united Alban may be forever lost.
Coming soon: Shieldmaiden Book Two: Jewel of Fire. Release date Feb. 15, 2018
For your viewing pleasure here is the cover for Shieldmaiden Book Two: Jewel of Fire. Thank you artist Sandy Knowles for the beautiful cover! My editor Chris Paynter and I are working on the final touches for a release date in the Spring of 2018. Thank you for all your encouragement Chris. You can read all about Chris here at ckpaynter.com.
Shieldmaiden Book Two: Jewel of Fire
In the highlands of Alban near the waters of the Inbhir Nis, Lady Athebryn waits for her dragon to bring word of the enemy across the sea. At her side is her beloved Princess Thalynder. Once hand maiden to the Princess, Lady Athebryn now stands ready to lead the hastily gathered army of clanns and kingdoms to battle against the marauding Vík Ingr.
If they are successful, Lady Athebryn will win the hearts and minds of all, uniting Alban under one banner. But if they fail, then all hope for a united Alban may be forever lost.
GL lives in the Pacific Northwest near the rugged and beautiful Oregon Coast. When not tapping away on a keyboard, GL can be found walking the beach in search of the next inspirational treasure.
GL’s first fantasy, Shieldmaiden Book One: Quest for the Jewel was a 2017 GCLS finalist.
Bella Books authors Gerri Hill, Karin Kallmaker, KG MacGregor, Tracey Richardson, Jessie Chandler, D Jordan Redhawk, Dillon Watson, Rachel Gold, Blayne Cooper, Nat Burns, S.M. Harding, Caitlin Drake, GL Roberts, TL Hart and Joanne Passet, are among the many authors chosen for 2017 Goldie Finalists.
Thank you to all at Bella Books and Congratulations to my fellow finalists!
Shieldmaiden Book One: Quest for the Jewel is a finalist in the Young Adult genre/category. You can find Quest for the Jewel at Bella Books.