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It’s almost here! DESTINATIONS

Coming to Armadillocon in Austin, Texas July 25-27, 2014!

MB910216387The release of the second book in the Color of Fear Series–DESTINATIONS!

Xi San saved the life of a mysterious girl one night in his ravaged San Francisco neighborhood. He can’t get her out of his mind, but believes that she’s lost to him. When an old friend invites him to St. Louis, the new center of terrorist-decimated America, he leaves his old world behind.

Lin Kwan came to America to bring her scientist father Chinese medicinal herbs, hoping to stop the virus that killed most of the world’s Caucasians, before it mutates to infect the rest of the world. Following his trail, she meets the man who once saved her, and repays her debt.

Gathering diverse companions as they travel toward St. Louis, the two encounter deadly obstacles, including Gabriel, a self-styled religious leader and white supremacist determined to take revenge for the white man.

But Gabriel isn’t their only enemy. They have to battle nature, prejudice and even those hidden among them who wish their destruction.

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Also available through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and other online sources.  From Zumaya Publications–get your copy soon!

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Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with the woman… SFFS for February 1

MB900337348Today’s snippet comes from WIP JOURNEYS, the second volume in the Color of Fear series, that follows WINDMILLS. Lin Kwan and Valery Paz have started their trip east to find Kwan’s father in Cincinnati, carrying their precious medicine, but one of their traveling companions has come up on the losing end of a meeting with a rattlesnake. They stop in Holden, Utah to pick up some medicine at what they think is an abandoned drug store. But they’re not quite right about that:

***

The display came crashing over on top of Kwan, driven by a heavy male body that took her down. Her head hit the floor and she blinked dizzily, trapped under the man’s weight. Light flashed off the barrel of a gun in his right hand.

   She reached out almost instinctively, grabbed the gun from the inside of his grip with her left hand as she flexed her knee into his crotch. He pulled back and she planted her foot solidly in his midsection and pushed, squeezing her fingers tight on the gun, his momentum allowing her to pry it into her own hand. She slapped it into her right, pointing it at him.

   Surprised blue eyes locked with hers. “Now just take it easy, miss—”

   Another gun cocked, above them. Valery said, “No, chief, you take it easy—get your ass up and I won’t put a bullet in your head.”

***

Windmills1If you’re interested in catching up on the first part of the story, you can find the sci-fi YA post-apocalyptic novel WINDMILLS at Amazon or Barnes and Noble .

Bio-terrorists release a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly virus mutates, Tzu Shin, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.

Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs he needs to develop a cure. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.

But a Chinese assassin is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.

Book two should be released some time this summer, and carries the story east as Kwan and her companions head for what remains of civilization in the east, perhaps St. Louis, Cincinnati or beyond, unaware that danger travels with her every step of the way.

Time to get down to earth

DSCN0180Lest anyone thinks I spend all my days wandering among the stars with Captain Temms Rogers or Catava Rolon and the others, I must clarify that there is plenty of inspiration here on this planet.

One case in point is the beautiful Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina–most specifically the gardens there. I could live in the conservatory. No, really. I could. Well, if it had a refrigerator. And a hotplate, at least. And maybe a pillow. But it is, for me, the most appealing place on the estate. (A sure second would be the solarium inside–if I’d ever lived in the house, I could have spent most of my time right there taking in the sun through the overhead glass, surrounded by tropical plants.)

DSCN0184We went at Christmastime this year, so the usual plants were visited by hundreds of poinsettias in all colors. The red and green theme filled the steamy rooms.

We’ve visited in the summer before, and there are beautiful rose and azalea gardens and layouts fashioned on international themes, such as the Italian Garden, or seasonal gardens like the tulip extravaganza. But for me, there’s something special about the hothouse blooms.

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I imagined my grandmother would have had a grand old time here. Some of her favorite plants around the Indiana farm where she lived had come from her travels around the country.  She’d proudly tell us about her visits to Washington or Chicago and how she just had to “tie her shoe” right next to a plant that she really admired. Lo and behold, a little clipping would end up in her jacket pocket for her to take home and propagate. Awesome!

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One room in particular features orchids of every shape and size.  Cattleyas, dendrobium, phalaenopsis and so many more delight the visitor at every angle. I was traveling with our exchange student Yurie, and we both fell in love with these odd little blooms (below) that looked like dwarf faces with beards:

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The site has inspired me so much, of course, that I’ve included it as a setting for a scene in one of my books, THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE (written as Alana Lorens).  I’d gladly go back and visit any time, and I’m fortunate that my daughter and her fiancee work for the Biltmore company so we have a reason to go there a few times a year.

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I highly recommend it if you get a chance. Just take a seat in the large open greenhouse and breath deeply, taking in the scent and sight of the beautiful plants around you. I guarantee it will inspire you, too!

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