Wednesday, April 29, 2015


My new release is the third part of my Dr. Farkas paranormal romance series. This one is historically-themed and reveals Dieudonnée's origins.

King's Daughter: Dr. Farkas III

The year is 1663 and newly-engaged Dieudonnée de Lourdes volunteers to chaperone a group of orphaned girls to New France as part of King Louis XIV's King's Daughters new immigration program. Aboard ship she undergoes a transformative experience that throws her life into an unexpected direction.

A hundred years later, Dieudonnée is New France's strongest weapon in fighting the English on the Plains of Abraham. And, unless she gets a bayonet through the heart, her thirst for blood will never be quenched.

Here are the blurbs for the first two novellas in the series:

Dr. Farkas: Part I

Abigail Andrews is a phlebotomist who has terminal leukemia. The good news is that her oncologist, Dr. Jakob Farkas, might be able to heal her, since (he claims) he's a vampire! But there's one small hitch, tired of his lonely existence, Farkas has not fed in over 100 years and needs to be brought back to health before he can help Abigail, with whom he has fallen in love.

Abigail doesn't believe the crazy doctor's story, but she doesn't have much else going on at the moment besides dying. So she leaves her boring life in order to join Dr. Farkas on his travels around the world in search of a mystical cure.

As they await the arrival of the spring equinox in the legendary caves in Lascaux France, Abigail wonders if she can overcome the greatest obstacle to her cure: her mortality.
Blood Work: Dr. Farkas Part II

Newlyweds Jakob and Abigail lead an active social life: they party late into the night in after-hours dance clubs, devour tasty amuse bouches, and travel the world seeking fun and adventure. Life is good, until one day when Abigail starts throwing up. Not a life-threatening issue, unless you're a vampire.

When Abigail's mysterious illness spreads to Jakob, and then threatens an entire lineage of vampires, the couple is summoned to old Quebec City to meet with Jakob's maker. Abigail is introduced to Dieudonnée de Lourdes and quickly finds herself caught between a lethal illness and a jealous, vicious vampire.

Part I is currently available for free at all ebook retailers - except for Amazon - but readers can get their Kindle-formatted story from Smashwords.

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A word about the Dr. Farkas paranormal romance series. The project should comprise five novellas by the time the last one is written.

The next installment will be narrated by Dr. Jakob Farkas. The story will add details to his history with Dieudonnée and continue the contemporary narrative with his wife, the pregnant Abigail. Since she conceived while being human we wonder, will the baby be a vampire or human? And how will that direct how Dieudonnée exacts her revenge?

The final part of the series will once again be narrated by the sassy former oncologist and cancer patient Abigail.

King's Daughter can be purchased from Amazon, Smashwords, itunes or your favorite e-book retailer.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review: Saint Odd

Saint Odd
Saint Odd by Dean Koontz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After having invested a number of years reading this series, and mostly liking the characters and the books, I found this last and final one disappointing.

Koontz wraps everything up somewhat nicely, although the book ends up posing more questions than it ultimately answers.

The story and plot felt padded and the novel would have read better at 200 pages than it did at 338. Luckily, it was a quick, painless read.

Sadly, it will also be unmemorable.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The Power of Words - Part II

Please enjoy the second installment of The Power of Words, one of the literary short stories in my Guppy Soup collection.

The Power of Words - Part II

Mom went under the knife three days after my meet-and-greet with Dr. Genet. On a Monday. I gotta tell you, I've had better Mondays. So had she, in retrospect. She suffered complete paralysis when "an artery as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen" closed up, as a result of her blood pressure suddenly plummeting during the operation. The dreaded aneurysm she'd feared so much. Maybe. Somewhere in her spine. Again, maybe.
"Can you re-operate?" I asked the shaken surgeon. Mom's poor showing after the surgery seemed to have upset the good doctor, set her confidence level plummeting… like Mom's blood pressure?
"Out of the question. There's no way to tell where to find the damaged artery," Baby Doc replied, her voice infused with just the right amount of contriteness and sorrow. She held my eyes a bit too long, the botched effort costing her some sincerity points.
She didn't want to admit any personal fault, of course. But still, she needed to convey something, some emotion. "Nothing else to do except wait. There might be some physiotherapy… later." Lips tight, she shrugged.
Oh well, the shrug seemed to say, live and learn.
"On the bright side, we cleared the arterial blockage!" Dr. Genet actually smiled when she said that.
I could've slapped the smile off her face. Had she received her medical training in a call center? Always smile when talking and leave 'em with something positive?
Right. Hey, thanks for giving it the old college try, Baby Doc. You did a hell of a job crippling my mother…
Mom's depression set in about ten minutes after she woke up from surgery and realized she couldn't move her legs. She couldn't feel her ankles; her feet; her toes… confirming her greatest fear in the world: paralyzed from the waist down.
She rents an apartment on the second floor of a house. Correction: rented. She was never stepping foot in that apartment again. What was she going to do, fly her wheelchair up there? And then pop wheelies all the way back down?
Following the botched surgery, I stood at the foot of her bed each day, all day long, urging her, nicely, to please, pretty-please, move her toes as I silently screamed and swore. It was just a matter of willpower. She just had to want it enough. Damn it! How difficult could it be to wiggle those ten little piggies?
Can you picture us? I'm sure we made quite a pair. She, ninety pounds, lying in that huge hospital bed, so small and afraid, and getting smaller by the day. I would see the fear return to her eyes the second the morphine wore off. And me, at the other end of the bed, my hands on her traitorous feet. We hoped and prayed: Me, for her legs to smarten up and get to work again. She, for a quick death.
A couple of days later she got some sort of lung infection. Pneumonia. The nurses literally tried to squeeze it out of her. It was a horrible spectacle to watch. My mother's whole upper body turned black and blue from the bruising. They'd put her on anti-coagulants and blood thinners after the surgery. You just looked at her and she bruised. Imagine a two-hundred pound gorilla squeezing the life out of a rag doll and you start to get the picture.
"Exhale Mrs. St. Jean!"
SQUEEZE… followed by a weak groan.
"Exhale harder, Mrs. St. Jean!"
The squeezing didn't work. Well, they did manage to ring some tears out of her when the pain became unbearable. So I guess that was something of an accomplishment.
Then, one day, Mom couldn't breathe, she had too much fluid in her lungs. They ordered more medication. They set up an oxygen mask by her pillow and jammed translucent plastic tubes up her nose. A constant hiss in the hospital room—similar to the sound of disapproval she made when I was younger. Like the time I turned our driveway into an ice rink in the middle of winter and our neighbor almost drove his car into our living room when he came home from work. Lots of hissing that night, let me tell you.
After that, her kidneys shut down. More IVs and meds ordered. A new batch of specialists, drafted into action by the ever-present, but rarely seen, vascular surgeon Baby Doc. Yet more medical interventions. Nothing worked. Of course nothing would. As far as Mom was concerned, if she wasn't going to walk out of that hospital on her own two feet, then she wasn't going to walk out.
So we stayed in our private worlds and prayed. I massaged her swollen feet, her lifeless toes. She worked on making her peace with God and drawing her last breath. One day she begged Dad to come and get her. She was ready.
A few days after the begging, with no improvements in sight, the nurses moved Mom from the four-bed post-op recovery ward to a semi-private room. Every hospital has a room for dying patients. Obviously, they won't tell you which one it is, but you just have to spend enough time on a ward to figure it out.
The very next morning after the move, the ringing telephone woke me up at five-thirty. I'd been dreading this call for days. Or nights. They didn't have to look too hard to find me during the day. I was stationed at the foot of Mom's bed. My hand was the one massaging her feet. I was the one commanding God to put life back into her tiny varicosed legs. I wasn't asking Him to move a mountain, or for world peace. Just get my mom's legs moving again. I had enough faith to accomplish that.
Didn't I?
I picked up the phone. Sure enough, the hospital was calling. "You should make your way to Mrs. St. Jean's room." If you want to say goodbye, the anonymous female voice didn't add. I already told you I deconstruct language for a living. If you pay attention to context, the meaning usually comes in loud and clear, even silences. Especially in silences at five-thirty in the morning.
"I'm on my way," I replied, waking up, feeling nauseated as buckets of adrenaline poisoned my body after only a few hours sleep.
"Don't rush. The roads are slippery after last night's snowfall. She's in no danger… for now. It's just that she keeps pulling off her oxygen mask."
Ah… So Mom had finally figured it out. Or maybe God had answered her prayers and he'd dispensed some of that Divine wisdom. After all, God helps those who help themselves, right?
I showered. I cried bitter tears and washed them down the drain. I dressed and then drove carefully, unable to do the speed limit if I wanted to keep the car on the icy roads. I slowly made my way to the hospital to say goodbye.

End of Part 2

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Thank you for reading the second part of "The Power of Words". I look forward to sharing Part 3 in the near future.

Guppy Soup can be purchased from itunes (iBooks)SmashwordsB&NAmazon and all ebook retailers. 

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