Good morning, Dear Readers!
I am well-caffeinated and I hope you are too. I have exciting news and a little gift … My novel “Beyond Shammua” is the much-anticipated last book of The Gifted Trilogy and it is nearing completion. My sister, the fabulous author BJ Hyman, and I are using Camp Nanowrimo as a deadline to finish our writing projects. So … I am hoping to have “Beyond Shammua” finished very soon, then it’s off to the editor … and after that … it’s in your hands.
I do have a little treat for you, though. I am posting a small portion of the first chapter just to give you a feel for what this new one is like. I hope you enjoy it and I will keep you all posted on my progress as this massive work comes to a conclusion.
Take care ya’ll!
Earth: Memphis, Tennessee
Ana O’Shea was 282 years old when she caught a glimpse of her biological father for the first time. She and her husband had been heading out of the front doors of the Memphis Crier Cathedral. As usual, there was always a media frenzy whenever the Criers departed the cathedral in which they resided.
Trusted Healers – four humans, a Paltian, and a Nahbian – served as bodyguards.
It never failed to amaze Ana how Criers had done nothing but help the sentient beings of all three known universes and yet there were still many who would like to see them dead.
There had only been a handful of attempts on Ana’s life, but her husband, Will Hoffman, had the first attempt on his life when he was only six years old, back in the year 2021. Since then, over his long life, he had been shot twice and stabbed three times. Luckily, Criers heal quickly. They can die if the injury is bad enough, but they are notoriously hard to kill. If left to live a normal life, they live a very long time. None she knew yet had died from natural causes, so it had still not yet been determined just how long a Crier’s lifespan might be.
Ana and her husband had just departed the cathedral. They paused at the top of the steps that led down to the curved driveway where a luxurious, private conversion Lincoln hover/spacecraft waited to take them to Miami, Florida. The pilot stood next to the impressive craft which winked with a lovely opalescence, even in the dreary light of a cloudy day. A soft rain had begun to fall.
Ana could hear the rising voices shouting beyond the gates at the end of the drive. As the Cathedral sat atop a moderate hill, she could look down at the crowd from her vantage point on the top step. She was used to the voices screaming questions and comments at her and Will. Some were reporters, some were just the most miserable creatures calling out in desperation or pain, and some were unbelievers who wanted nothing more than to insult and degrade Criers to make themselves feel superior – to continue to try to discredit the Criers – even though the Criers’ prophesies had been nothing but accurate for over 300 years.
If she wanted to do so, she could listen in on the individual thoughts of each, but that was the last thing she wanted. She had learned as a young child to shut out the minds of others or go mad.
Ana shut out the din of voices and became distracted by the pattering of rain on the trees which had managed some new leaves. She looked around and saw some of her dogwoods and Bartlett pear trees had blossomed. A light wind brought a shower of tiny white petals from the Bartlett pear trees, looking like snow. She tipped her head back to feel the raindrops on her face.
I don’t get outdoors enough, she thought.
The bodyguards stopped to wait for her. They were used to Ana’s eccentricities. The Healers would never criticize her. She was a Crier, and she was also far older than any of them.
Will gently touched her arm. “Sweetheart, we need to go. We’re too exposed standing here,” he said.
She lowered her face, now sprinkled with rain drops, and turned to smile at him.
Will’s dark eyes warmed and he laughed. “You never can act your age, can you?”
She grinned. “My god, I hope not! I’m over two centuries old! I don’t even think there’s a precedent for how to behave at this age!”
Will took her hand and tucked it into the crook of his arm. Suddenly, Ana’s smile vanished.
Will considered her eyes and she knew he felt it, too. “There is an Adversary nearby,” he muttered.
She nodded. “One of the most powerful, I’ve ever felt.”
The Healers also felt the presence a second later and went on alert. They immediately surrounded Ana and Will. She looked over at the crowd as they moved down the steps. In the distance, standing alone and apart at the back of the crowd, was a human man. He was tall and lean. He wore a long jacket over dark trousers and an expensively embroidered tunic – indicative of a modern man of wealth. His hat was dark, like his jacket, but she thought she could make out dark hair curled around the collar of his jacket.
He stared intensely at Ana and he did not try to hide it. He was handsome in a friendly way that completely belied the menacing aura that surrounded him.
Will made a small sound beside her. He grabbed her arm and the Healers rushed them both the rest of the way down the steps. The pilot helped hand her up into the waiting craft.
She quickly seated herself near the window facing the gates. She lost sight of the man, but she already knew who he was. She had seen pictures. Her mother once allowed her to peek into her memories.
It was her biological father.
Will settled into the seat facing her. He leaned forward and put his hand on her knee. “Did you see him?”
Her own hand trembled as she laid it on top of his. “Yes, I saw him. The rumors are true. You will need to contact Uncle Daniel and have him meet us in Miami immediately. He needs to know that Trent Rivers is alive.”