Saturday, July 7, 2012

Odessa Cover

Odessa Chapter 1 Excerpt

Chapter One
I floated on wings of silence like a piece of driftwood at sea. Colored gases swirled around me like silk scarves, brushing against my bare arms and legs. It delighted my senses and tingled nerve endings. For as far as I could see, a myriad of colors swam and twirled dipping and rolling around particles of dark matter and glittering specs of sunbeams in miniature cosmos.
Was this a dream? I didn’t remember falling sleep. In fact, I didn’t remember anything at all. Soft singing and the sharp but pleasant ringing of bells echoed around me. I opened my eyes—had they been shut?— Thousands of glimmering radiant beings hovered in the rainbow cosmic cloud. So beautiful. So peaceful. My eyes drifted shut.
“Mind the signs, Myrna,” echoed in my skull and repeated over and over in millions of separate voices in unison. “Mind the signs…Mind the signs ….”

I shoved the covers off with my feet and stood, stretching. The house was unusually quiet. Must be the first up. After showering I listened while I dressed. Still no sounds. I went to the kitchen. No one. This was not like my parents to sleep in, especially later than me. I went to their room.
“Mom,” I called, softly pushing on the door which was slightly ajar. “Dad? Anyone up? Hey, sleepy heads….” The room was empty. The bed was made. My stomach flip-flopped. Marcy’s room was next. I padded down the hall then pushed on the half-opened door.
“You’ll be late….” I didn’t finish because no one was there to hear me. Her room was immaculate—which never happened—and empty..Panic pricked my brain like a nest of wasps. My mind was a jumble of anger and fear. People don’t just disappear. Where are they? What happened to them? I ran to Jarrod’s room and found the same thing. I was alone. Sliding down the wall I crumpled in a heap on the carpet.
“Where did you all go without me?” I shrieked at the ceiling, tears burning my eyes. “Where is everyone?” I rose and ran to the foyer, sliding on the white tiles in my socks. Swiping at my wet face with the back of my hand I gasped a shuddering breath.
And flung open the front door and looked out.
The slam rattled the dishes in the kitchen cabinets like bones in a closet as I threw it shut. My heart pounded against my ribs. This isn’t possible. I’m still dreaming. The deadbolt lock thudded with a satisfying crunch as I twisted the key. I couldn’t catch my breath. My mind reeled with the impossible unreality of what I had seen. There were no dragons flying over Jacksonville. Or walking down the sidewalk dressed like people. But these had been people, hadn’t they? So why had I seen horns and tails? I ran back to my room. Crouching, in the corner behind my bed my head ached from crying and fear. My room was still dark and shadows wavered and squirmed across the walls like living shades. I shut my eyes and slid my hands across my ears to shut out the world. I had to shut out this world that was not mine.
* * * *
I must have fallen asleep again because when I woke the room was pitch black and I knew the sun had gone down. I looked into each bedroom along the hallway—not surprised this time to find them empty, but still disappointed. I was alone. Even when I had been alone at home, I had known I was not alone. This was different. This was scary. I jumped when my stomach audibly rumbled. I checked the kitchen and found peanut butter and bread, so I made a sandwich. The peanut butter stuck to my dry mouth. I drank some milk, diluted with salty tears as I tried to swallow. My eyes wandered across the spotless, silent kitchen until landing on the phone. I picked up the receiver. No sound. Cords and plugs seemed fine. I clicked the receiver button up and down. Still no sound. I couldn’t even call the cops. Tomorrow I would have to find help. Find out what happened to my family. Sudden drowsiness overcame me and I stumbled sleepily back to bed. Why was I so tired? How could I sleep when my entire family was missing? And what about what I’d seen outside earlier? My eyes shut, almost on their own and I fell into a fitful sleep.
Sometime in the middle of the night, I guessed anyway, I awoke with a strange sense of foreboding. The hair on my neck and arms stood up. My skin prickled as though with a soft electric shock. My breathing became ragged and my heart thumped so loudly in my chest I could hear it in the silence of the room. Something wasn’t right. I knew I’d locked the door all the way—but still…. Shadows wavered on the bedroom walls. Grew and shrunk, sliding across furniture and rug. I hadn’t prayed since I was a very little girl, but something in me told me to pray hard right now and I did. I said the only prayer I could remember, shutting my eyes and telling myself to believe the words. Eventually the feeling passed and my eyes must have shut on their own.
When I woke again, that same gray light pushed its way past the edges of my window blinds spitting its dullness into the room.
After several hours of working up the courage, I decided there were no answers in the house, so I dressed and took several deep breaths before opening the door again. This time I thought I was prepared.
The murky gray light that filled the sky seemed watery and weak. Although there was no cloud cover, there was no sunlight. Again, several brown dragons swooped through the grayness, casually flying above the buildings of this strange city. If I ignore them, perhaps they won’t notice me. Heart beating a mad tattoo, I stepped onto the stoop and jumped when my foot landed on something soft. It was a folded newspaper. I opened it and read Jacksonville Times Union. I tucked it under one arm and stepped down onto dirt. Dad’s pride and joy green grass was gone.
My heart pounded like I’d just finished a marathon. I twitched and jumped at every sound, spinning from side to side. Standing at the end of my yard, I leapt backward when I heard a chug and zip then a puff of steam enveloped me. A triangular car with a glass top sped down the road. Another headed my direction on the opposite side. The driver sat in the front of the triangle managing the car with a joystick while two passengers sat side-by-side on the rear seat. It maneuvered surprisingly well and was quite fast.
Leading east and west at the end of my walkway, a crushed stone path lined a packed dirt road that ran in front of the house. To the left and right of the house stood tall and short buildings of every description. Some seemed to be stores, others apartment buildings or individual homes such as mine. Tall brass street lights stood sentinel on each intersection.
“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore,” I murmured softly. I even looked back at the house for ruby slippers.
A rumble overhead pulled my attention to the murky sky as a glass-enclosed egg with the silhouettes of seated people lining its interior floated by. At the rear spun a huge brass propeller. Occasional clouds of steam escaped into the atmosphere. I grabbed my chest and breathed deeply several times, calming my nerves. A layer of black grime coated the buildings and walkways. Many of the windows displayed new handbills showing a child with the question: “Have You Seen This Child?” underneath. It shocked me to realize each face was that of a different child. How many children had disappeared from this city and where did they go?
I turned right and began walking down the path.
People wearing an odd assortment of costumes passed me, staring all the while. Some of the men wore bowler hats while others had formal top hats and long-tailed coats. The women wore long dresses with pinafores and bloomers. Most wore wide-brimmed hats mounted with feathers and other doodads. I caught my reflection in a wavy window as I passed and realized why they were all staring. My jeans and Pink Floyd tee-shirt definitely stood out a little in this Victorian-looking atmosphere. I smoothed back my long black hair and wrapped the ponytail band around it, happy I’d thought to grab one on my way out the door and toss it onto my wrist. My younger sister Marcy had showed me that trick. Thinking about her now brought more tears to my eyes, blurring my surroundings. I swiped at my eyes. ….
“Watch where you’re going, lunchmeat,” a low and menacing voice growled next to my ear. I turned my head to apologize. There was no one beside me. Yet I fell against a building, scraping my arm on the rough siding. Someone had deliberately shoved me. “Haven’t you ever seen a Skiibuss or Tricar before? Imbecil,” the voice continued. But I could still hear him like he was next to my ear.
I turned to apologize but stopped short with the words stuck in my throat when I realized he was the largest man I’d ever seen.
“Mother’v pearl!” I muttered, eyes roving from feet to hat. He stood easily over eight feet tall. He wasn’t fat, just...big. He wore a black top hat and cape. I wondered for a split instant how he found clothes big enough. He also spun a black cane with a gold dragon-shaped handle with glittering diamond eyes. He must have realized I was staring because he turned just his head and grinned maliciously at me with a flick of red eyes before his head swiveled back around.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Games and Puzzles

Friday, December 2, 2011

30 Ways to Learn About Odessa and Rebecca

Odessa: The Seraphym Wars Series Tour Details
Rebecca Ryals Russell
April 1st – 30th
Coordinated by: Jessica & Rebecca

Friday, April 1:  Totally 4 YA      (30 Years to Write Odessa)
Thursday, April 7:  Rex Robot Reviews  (This or That List)
Giveaway Prize Packs

These prizes are gone, but there will be more contests and chances to win. Keep watching this blog, my main website, Twitter and Facebook for announcements.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Odessa On Sale July 1st thru 4th!! AND Odessa Available in Limited Print Edition

Odessa print editions, signed and including a fold-out map, are available. These 6x9 trade paperback special editions sell for only $13.00 plus shipping. To order one, contact me at vigorios7 at gmail dot com and I'll mail one out ASAP.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

6 Teenagers Band Together As the Vigorios, Demon-Hunters

Reluctantly, and knowing it is her only way to get back home, Myrna Ashlin Watts agrees to lead an army of six teens called The Vigorios--battling dragons and monsters while crossing swamps and mountains, forests and seas. She wrangles with mental scars of a demon attack when she was 15 and receiving a vision of those same demons killing her brother 2 years later. Three very different men join her quest—a seasoned demon/dragon-slayer who irritates but beguiles her, a tender and sweet mentor in whom she trusts completely and a roguishly handsome Scientist who sets her senses aflame. How is she expected to lead the others and keep everyone safe with so much inner turmoil? Whom can she trust, if anyone, even herself? How can anyone expect her to be a leader? Much less one who leads an army of kids in a Holy battle?

Will love and lust, jealousy, greed, deceit and distrust break the delicate tie that binds these teen warriors called The Vigorios? Can a troupe of teens help the Seraphym finally defeat the massive empire of evil dominated for eons by the demon-dragons of Dracwald?

Odessa Trailer