Arrival – FINISHED!!

So, today I finished the final chapter of my upcoming title “Arrival.”  First draft is done.  My longest to date.  Over 40k words and my publisher is “okay” for this to be a paperback.  (WoooT!)  Now, a break from it, to let it gel in my head, then a polish for the second draft.  After that, off to the publisher.

Did I mention this would be my first paperback???

Here’s the picture I’ve contracted for my cover art.  (By https://www.facebook.com/ajlphoto.)

“Arrival” inspired by an acquaintance of mine

Here he is, (brazenly stolen from his fetlife profile without permission.) (I suck.)
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His name is Sgt. S. Miles. (Hot, Hot, HOT!) And he lives in my city. (How lucky am I? *beatific smile*) So, upon drooling over his profile pictures–seriously, hot, Hot, HOT!–my muse woke up from her nap.

Hmmm… a book inspired by this fellow… Yeah.

I checked with him, and he was open to it. And so, Sgt. S. Miles became 1st Sgt Mike, one of my alien super soldiers.

More, Miles had some professional photographs. Cover art too? How lucky was I???!!! The photographer and I worked up a contract for the cover art–did I mention, how hot it would be?–and I got to work. 25k words in, and things are looking good, so I thought I’d share an excerpt.
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The festivities were in full swing but Liam Sinclair decided that he’d had enough. Well, for the moment, at least. It was the hottest days of summer, just a few days after the equinox, and the sun’s rays blazed into the beautiful Gorge amphitheater.
That’s when he’d started dancing but now it was full dark.

Lights played their neon messages across the sable sky. Stars flickered like distant fireflies. The scent of the daylight wildflowers and humid river fecundity was replaced by the sweaty mire of twenty-thousand bodies grooving to the music.
The event was happening inside “The Gorge at the George,” and the twenty-thousand seats venue looked to be filled to capacity…okay, more than capacity if he counted the inevitable gate-jumpers who’d snuck in. And everyone danced. It was awesome.

Considered to be one of the most scenic outdoor concert venues, probably helped along by the natural beauty of the Columbia Gorge at one border, the annual Paradiso Festival pulsed its annual event of electronic dance music into the air. More, it wasn’t expected end for some time yet. Like, late tomorrow night.

Yeah, he was up to it. He just needed to catch his breath.
Actually, he could use a swim. In beer.

Liam headed over to the vending booths, where the smells of garlic and spice and whatever-else-was on the grill wafted on the breeze, and purchased two bottles of water. The first he chugged immediately and tossed the empty container into the recycling bin. The second bottle he drank from at a more moderate pace as he wandered back toward the stage-front crowd.

He checked his placement against lights and stage equipment, banners and talent, and concluded, yeah, he was in the right place. Then he scanned the crowd to locate his friends. Just as he’d left them, happily banging to the beat. Then he spotted something else, something unusual enough to warrant a second glance.
A group of Urilqii.

Newcomers to this planet—jeez, how amazing was that?—the visitors were active in oceanic reclamation, temperature stability, and ozone layer reparation. They also, creepily enough, watched the skies for something they called “The Targolt.” Endlessly, unrelentingly, obsessively they watched…except when they danced. The Urilqii, faultless pieces of eye candy the lot of them, loved to dance on their days off.

Go figure.

They also loved tattoo shops, which was amusing because they each wore an identical piece of art of their right pectoral before they’d even made landfall on Earth. Humanity had learned the art identified the separate military companies of the battalion based on Earth.

There were six military companies on this rock and the ones in the Pacific Northwest area wore designs that looked like a bug. Camel spiders, actually, except that the camel spiders walking their planet were the size of station wagons. Complete badasses, he speculated, which would explain the military icon.

Liam sipped his water and contemplated the Urilqii. They danced among the crowd like an island of bright colors highlighted by stage lights. They swayed to the electronic beats, draped in colorful and merry garments, looking like rare blooms amid a forest of Earth flowers, like orchids amid tracks of wildflowers.

Then there were the Mohawks. Each wore their hair spiked into a palm frond crest along the middle area of their skull. Blues, Reds, Greens, and colors he’d never seen before…they reminded him pictures he’d seen of nebulae found in the dark reaches of space. Well, except for the one guy who stood apart a small distance.

His military cut hadn’t been formed into a Mohawk and while he was dressed in merry, festive colors it seemed to Liam that he’d cloaked himself in darkness. Gorgeous, though, like the others of his kind. Dark haired and light skinned, a powerful build, muscles both men and women dreamed about… and during spacewalk or underwater, those colors blended into the darkness. Insta-camo. Like a Great White shark or one of those Peregrine Falcons…or even the gray and white tomcat he’d had as a teen.

Like everyone else, Liam had d been glued to the television and computer the first year of the alien arrival and watched the recorded dives for data and spacewalks. Any and all videos of the Urilqii had gone instantly viral. Youtube had turned them into instant internet superstars, whether they’d wanted to be or not.

The guy must have felt him watching because he turned his head, followed by the rest of that sculpted body, and faced him. Their gazes met…held…

My pale, blue eyes

So, I’m still struggling.
I’m trying to break free of the weight laid on me.
This song keeps rolling through my mind.

“…If I could make the world as pure and strange as what I see,
I’d put you in the mirror,
I put in front of me.
I put in front of me.
Linger on, [my]pale blue eyes.
Linger on, [my]pale blue eyes.

Skip a life completely.
Stuff it in a cup.
She said, Money is like us in time,
It lies, but can’t stand up.
Down for you is up.”
Linger on, [my]pale blue eyes.
Linger on, [my]pale blue eyes.”

Unforgiven II

“Come lay beside me, tell me what I’ve done.
The door is closed, so are your eyes-“

“I take this key and
I bury it in you.
‘cuz you’re Unforgiven too.”

All I ever wanted was a mother who cared for me, who saw my pain as more than a means to her profit, to see me as something more than a cute commodity.

I must accept that she will never be the mother I dreamed of.
I must accept the truth that I will never be safe with her in my life.

Goodby, Mom.
I wish you nothing but the best but I do so from an unchanging distance.