Sunday, November 29, 2015

Another Book! #52!

In honor of the people working hard for Nanowrimo, I decided to publish two books this month.  So here's indie #52 for SweetTale Books!  Enjoy!




Blurb:

*** Book 5 in the Extreme Travel Series ***

The vice president and his family have been kidnapped in Venezuela. It's up to Kes and her team to rescue them, accompanied by some Secret Service agents. However, they also accidentally get involved in a rebel coup, making their lives a lot more difficult.


Chapter 1:

The security alarm to our home beeped. My head lay on my husband James' lap, while our friends Ben and Anita visited with us in the family room of our very large home.

Ben and James grabbed their guns from the end table and jumped out of their seats, running into the formal living room next to us. As soon as my human pillow left, my head hit the couch with a thud.

"Lower your weapons," an unknown male voice yelled. "It's just me. James, you changed the code again."

I glanced over Anita, who was terrified. "Don't worry," I said. "It's just a friend of ours. He's trying to see if he can break in again."

The alarm tone changed to a screech, but stopped after a split-second. James, Ben, and two of our friends named Ian and Jerome entered the room.

Ian was a very good-looking doctor and computer genius, with blond-haired, brown eyes, and tons of muscles. As he stepped closer to my couch, he laughed while on the phone to our security company. "Yeah, Harry, it's Ian again. How's the family?" He listened for a moment and smiled. "Yes, James changed the code to his anniversary. I should've guessed it." He listened for a minute more and chuckled. "I'm sure it's still Madrid from when James changed it this morning, but if you want to talk to him, he's right here beside me."

James put his hands on his hips in anger, moving beside Ian.

Madrid was my maiden name, and James had just changed the password for the security system to that name. I was very sure Ian had hacked into the security company's files and found the new password, just for fun.

Everyone in the room was a CIA agent except for Anita, but very few people on the outside, including family, friends, and Anita, knew it. We all had cover jobs, to keep our real jobs classified.

James scowled and left the room when Ian handed him the phone. Ben, Jerome, and Ian all sat on chairs near the couch. I pulled down a pillow from behind the couch and laid my head on it.

Ian shot me a concerned look. "How do you feel, Kes?" Ben and Jerome stood on either side of him.

I really wanted to slap Ian's face, just because. He'd been promoted because he was the highest-ranking member of the Denver CIA office, making him the one in charge of everyone.

I had to get rid of him. "Just the flu. I'll be fine in a day."

All three men laughed while Anita cast a glance at me. She seemed to feel as I did, and these men were just annoying.

"Yeah, right. The flu," Ben said with a chuckle. "Kes, we all know what's wrong with you."

Ben, who was blond-haired, blue eyed, good-looking, and muscular, had a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology. His best skill was in reading people because of his minor in Psychology.

My husband James had a Ph.D. in Psychology. Ben and James were writing a book together about me. I was so lucky to have all these jokers in my life.

"What's wrong with her?" Anita asked Ben. "It does look like the flu to me."

"Nothing that a few days won't cure," Ian said. "Is it cramps or a headache this month?"

I sat up a bit. "It is the flu, and I know it." I fell back to the pillow and closed my eyes.

Ian was extremely bright. He not only had multiple degrees in computer science, but was also a surgeon, assigning himself as my personal physician. I hated him for it, too.

James returned to the room, lifted my head, and removed the pillow from under it. He threw the thing at Ben, who caught it on the first try. James sat down and rested my head back on his lap.

"How long has it been this time?" Ian asked James.

James stroked my long hair. "About a day."

"You know, Kes, we can take care of that," Ian said. "I have something to help you."

Anita glared at all the men and addressed me. "Are you going to put up with this sexual harassment?"

I smiled at her. "No, actually. Thanks for reminding me." I sat up and covered my head with my hands for a moment. Once I was certain everyone was watching me, I stood up and walked out of the room. Yes, I was acting, but no one else needed to know just yet.

Ian joined me with his arm over my shoulders. Oh yeah…he was also infatuated with me, like Ben, Jerome, and James, which made this more difficult, and made James very jealous.

"I'm here for a reason," Ian whispered. "It's not what you think."

Anita hopped to her feet and followed behind me. "If you want rid of this guy, let me know."

"I don't think we've been formally introduced." My personal physician turned and shook Anita's hand. "I'm Ian and you must be Anita. Now, aren't you supposed to be taking care of Ben or something?"

"Not when my friend needs me," Anita said. "And from what I see, her husband isn't going to protect her from you, so I'll have to."

I walked up the stairs toward our bedroom. It seemed as if Ian was outnumbered, so he turned around and put his hands around his mouth. "Ben!" he yelled.

I heard running up the stairs just as I turned the corner to our bedroom. While ignoring my guests, I headed toward the king-size bed, pulled down the covers, crawled in, and closed my eyes.

"Kes, we need you, now," Ian said.

I removed the pillow and placed it over my face, then peeked out of my 'cave' to see who had followed me upstairs. Ben stood beside Anita while Jerome and James leaned up against the wall to our bedroom with crossed arms. I glanced at Jerome who was finding it all very amusing for some reason. He was a gorgeous, muscular, black man with a very white smile and a heart of absolute gold.

"Sorry, Ian," I said. "Not a good time. Can't you see I'm sick?"

He pulled the covers and the pillow off me.

I opened my eyes, ready to give him my full wrath.

"You're not sick," he said. "You'll survive. Team Kes has been called and we need to talk."

Ben turned to Ian with lowered eyebrows. "Team Kes? Are you sure?"

"What's Team Kes?" James asked.

Ian faced Ben. "Two hours." He glanced toward Anita and Ben nodded.

Ben looked down at his watch. "Will you look at the time? Anita, we have to go."

"You can all go if you ask me." I shut my eyes again. "It is after ten and I need my beauty sleep."

"What's this all about?" Anita asked, making me open my eyes. "What's Team Kes, and why are all of you men in Kes' bedroom?" She glanced at James. "Except for you, Mr. Hamilton, of course."

Anita was beautiful with long flowing chestnut hair and brown eyes, and worked in the personnel department of James' newspaper. He was the owner and everyone at the office called him Mr. Hamilton to his face. Behind his back, though, I knew they called him other less-desirable names, because he could be very controlling when he was at work. I used to work for him as a reporter and a photographer until the fateful trip to Zimbabwe with him and his ex-fiancée. That's when I saw a different side to him and eventually married him.

Ben grabbed his girlfriend's hand. "Anita, sweetheart, Team Kes is a codename for all of us at Kes' new travel agency. James wasn't told yet, because he's been working at the newspaper. It was just formed today."

James didn't want me working for him fulltime at the newspaper. Instead, he had this bright idea to start a travel agency and make it a cover for our agent friends. I still wrote some freelance articles for the newspaper, published under the 'Extreme Travel' section once a quarter. Ben was my 'employee' even though the travel agency didn't even exist. I was sure he'd told Anita that all our other agent friends were employees of mine as well.

Ben shot Ian a look of silent male communication, and then continued talking to Anita. "We have a lead for Kes to go on an Extreme Travel trip, and it's an opportunity she doesn't want to miss."

"Yes, I do want to miss it," I said with my eyes still shut.

"Kes, cramps or headache? I have meds for both," Ian said in a low tone.

"No. Sleep."

Ian and Jerome pulled me out of bed and stood me on the floor.

"There's plenty of time for that," Ian said. He reached into his pocket and took out two bottles. "Which one?"

"Both, actually." I crawled back into the bed.

All this time, James just watched. "Ian, is this wise?" He had very light blue eyes, medium brown hair, and a very sexy slightly British accent.

"James, Team Kes needs her now. We have two hours to catch a flight." Ian gave James a funny look like he should understand.

James finally nodded, walked to my side, opened both bottles, and grabbed some of each of the tablets. He went into the bathroom, got a glass full of water, and returned to our bed. He shoved the tablets into my mouth, sat me up again, and poured the water down my throat with a determined look on his face. Water dripped from my lips and onto my favorite polo shirt.

"Now, get up," he demanded. "We need you and you know it."

I wiped the water that drenched my shirt and frowned. "My favorite shirt, too."

"It'll dry. Now get up."

"You men are brutes," Anita said. "If someone treated me that way, I'd…"

Ben thrust his hands onto his hips. "You'd what?"

"Get really upset?" she asked in a meek tone. She then backed off.

"Anita, we're going home," Ben said. "We need to have a little chat on the way, too."

"No, Ben," Ian warned. "Not yet, and you know it."

Ben nodded, looking more than frustrated. "Yeah, I get it. Just make sure you wait for me."

They left amidst Anita's complaints and I fell back to the bed again. I closed my eyes and rolled over to my stomach, burying my head into the pillow beneath me.

"Oh, no you don't." James returned me to a sitting position. "You're needed and you know it. Now get up and get packed. It's a matter of your job and probably someone else's life."

"As soon as Ben gets back, I'll explain everything," Ian said.

James picked me up from the bed and placed my feet on the floor, holding me up the whole time. He could be such a control freak if he wanted to be, and since there was no changing the controlling nature in him, I let him rule. I pushed my hair back from my face and yawned.

James and Ian stayed at my side and directed me back downstairs. Jerome followed behind me, just laughing. Whatever he thought was funny was probably the truth. I could never fool Jerome.

"Hey, nice place, Kes," Jerome said. "I think you could house a whole small country's population in here. This place is huge."

I turned toward him. "It seems really small to me right now. I can't even be alone in this mansion." I forced tears to my eyes and wiped them away with extreme drama, just to prove a point.

"We'll get you a nice cup of tea and you can relax," Ian said. "After that, Ben will be back and we can talk all about it. Okay, Kes?"

He could be really annoying, ticking me off more. "Not okay, and quit patronizing me. I'm really tired, and my leg isn't even healed from the last mission."

On the last mission, Ben had decided the only way he could get a kidnapper to let go of me was to shoot me in the leg. I'd recovered, but was taking the time to make sure it healed completely.

"You were fine about a week ago," Ian said. "You're well enough to be on active duty again. It's been about a month and a half since the Philippines, and you've been lying around doing nothing."

We'd just entered the huge open kitchen. I spun around so I could see him and give him my full wrath. He had to know I wasn't happy from the nasty glare I gave him along with my set jaw. "I have not been lying around doing nothing. I've had a course in German from the CIA, I've started the plans for the tourist agency, and Wilson's been sending me more than thirty reports every week to rewrite because all of you agents are completely illiterate." I pointed at his chest, moving closer to his face. "Don't you dare say I've been doing nothing." I crossed my arms and stared at him with my chin stuck out. "You have no idea what you're talking about so knock it off."

He raised his hands and backed off with a grin. "I stand corrected."

James stuck a cup of water in the microwave with a teabag. I was sure it was decaf, also irritating me. I needed coffee, but because of Ian and his idea that I had low blood sugar, he limited my coffee and caffeine—enforced by James, my personal food guard. I plopped onto a stool and dropped my head onto the counter.

"Did she eat today?" Jerome whispered to James.

I picked up my head and rested it in my hands. James placed the tea in front of me and leaned on the other side of the kitchen bar across from me. All CIA agents in the entire world knew everything about me because of a book Ben had written about my personality and the distraction work that I did for the CIA. They also knew I had to eat or I'd be mean.

"She ate a little bit," James said. "She really has been sick and I'm not sure it's all what you think it is."

"How sick and why didn't you call me?" Ian asked.

James crossed his arms, staring at me. "She wouldn't let me. It seems she has a phobia of shots and doctors now, because of all the needles you've poked into her."

I waved my hands in the air. "You know, guys, I'm right here if you want to talk to me."

Jerome leaned up from his stool and grinned at me past Ian, who was between us. "We know."

"Where does it hurt?" Ian asked me. "I probably jumped the gun, because we don't have a lot of time."

"Everywhere."

"That's not very helpful. Let me know if the meds James just forced down your throat helped at all. If not, I'll find something else." He rubbed my back and studied my face. "You are kind of pale."

I turned to see him. "Think so? I'm actually better than I was this morning."

He grabbed my chin and turned my face toward him. "Better? You were that bad?" I hated when he behaved like a doctor. He pulled on my chin to make me open my mouth, then pulled my eyelids open wider to look at my eyes. I moved away from him, grabbed my cup of hot tea, and ignored him.

"She was worse than now?" Ian whispered to James.

I could see James nodding out of the corner of my eye, so I picked up the hot cup and carried it back to the family room, followed by my male harem.

Ian followed me. "I can find you more meds if you want."

"I'll be fine. Now, what's this Team Kes stuff all about?"

"As soon as Ben gets here, I'll tell you. I don't want to have to repeat myself."

"Lazy."

"Yep."

Ian continued to watch me while I sat down on the couch. James sat in his usual seat and flipped on the television. I put the tea on the coffee table, then plopped my head back onto his lap. He surfed through the channels until he found the news. We all watched the weather and sports until the door opened and the security system chirped once again. I knew exactly who it was, too. Oh, boy. Here we go.


~~~~~ 

Web Page: http://andiealexander.com/et5.html


 Buy Links ($1.99--links updated on the website as they become live):
 Smashwords
 Amazon


Enjoy!

Andie/Markee

Friday, November 27, 2015

Your Character's Eyes

They say that someone's eyes are the window to their soul or something like that. (It's been attributed to Shakespeare, Da Vinci, or others...no one's really sure.)

But what do your character's eyes say about your character?  I did a quick search on this and found these articles:

Scientists discover that eyes really are 'the window to the soul'

In this article, it states that differences in the iris can indicate if a person is warm, tender, and trusting, or if the person is neurotic, impulsive, and likely to give into cravings.

And, in this article:  The Eyes Are the Window to Your Potential Soul Mate, the researchers found that if a person is romantically attracted to a person, their gaze is different from what they'd look like when they're in lust.  If they focus on the eyes and face, they're into the romance.  If they look at the person's whole body, it's lust.

Interesting.

Even the color of the person's eyes says a lot about them:

What your eye color says about you!


  • black eyes:  mysterious, secretive, and possibly psychic
  • blue eyes:  forceful, direct person with insight and observation
  • gray eyes:  subtle and sensitive person with keen insight
  • brown eyes: strong, independent person with a connection to nature and the earth
  • green eyes:  youthful, compassionate soul with immense creativity
  • hazel eyes:  possesses all the qualities of blue, brown, gray, and green eyes


So the next time you want to identify a person's eye color in your story, consider either matching their personality to the color, OR making it the exact opposite, just to spin things around a bit.

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, November 13, 2015

Twitter Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Have you ever looked at your twitter feed?  I mean really looked at it?  Who reads their feed, right?  I mean, as soon as you've looked over the latest 50 or so posts, another 200 have popped up.  Who can keep up with that?

Well, take a look at your feed, dear readers.  See what people are posting.

Here's why.

For my name, 'SweetTale Books,' I want only sweet things associated with my name.  It's not easy to do that, because sometimes, I follow people who aren't exactly wholesome.  But when I click 'follow,' they look okay to me.  It's not until I watch my feed that I realize who I'm really following.

They're wolves.  They post pictures of people having sex, with everything to see.  They describe sexual things I wouldn't want my kids to see.  They use swear words.  In other words, they're not in alliance with my brand.

Do I deny these people the right to post junk like that?  Nope.  Don't care.  But for me, I can't even follow them or I destroy my brand.  I don't repost things like that, but let's say someone likes my brand.  They follow the same people I do, because I follow them.  Then all of a sudden, wham...their feed has been hijacked by wolves in sheep's clothing, as well.  They blame me!  Yikes!  I didn't do my homework, when at the time I clicked follow, the twitter person seemed okay.

If you have the same problem I do, try this.  Every day, go through the first hundred or so of your feed.  If there's anything inappropriate for your brand, unfollow the person.  It's that simple.

I know it's frustrating, but we all have to protect our brand.  I also try to retweet the least offensive stuff, but I do retweet everyone who tweets my stuff (if I can...some are just too pornographic).  I don't mind about the content (horror, paranormal, Christian, etc.) but won't retweet anything that's sexual or not PG 13.  It's not easy...let me tell ya.

Have a great week and check out your feed!
Markee at @SweetTaleBooks

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Published Another Indie Book??? #51!

#51 is hot off the presses!  This is the second of the 'Adventures in World Peace' series, starring Harley Black and Jim Bond (no relation).  Enjoy!




Blurb:


Harley Black and Jim Bond are at it again, this time as coworkers in a tiny New Mexico border town.  The town goes crazy at times, and everyone loses their inhibitions.  Since the mortuary doubles as the town brothel, and the rate of heart attacks has increased, the funeral director is loaded.  It's up to Harley and Jim to find out what's going on.



~~~~~
  


Chapter 1

A loud clang jarred me, making me fall out of bed and onto the floor, landing on my rear. At least there was soft padding there. Jim was still asleep, in our bed at his house in southern Arizona.

I stood up and climbed back into bed. "Jim," I whispered, hitting his chest.

He rolled over the other way. "What? We just got married and already you're nagging me?"

I turned him back over and covered his mouth with my hand. "Someone's in the kitchen."

He kept his eyes closed. "Is Dinah there?" he asked through my hand over his mouth.

He was referencing an old song about Dinah in the kitchen. I was surprised he could remember it, considering it was written before both of us were born, like in the early 1800s. I seemed to be remembering a lot of trivia these days, since I'd been hiding out with not much else to do in my downtime.

I shook Jim's arm. "No, silly. Wake up. I heard a loud noise in the kitchen." At least I thought it was the kitchen, down the hall. It sounded like some pots and pans clanging together.

Jim got up and ran his hand through his hair. "I'm never allowed to sleep, am I?"

"Nope."

Another noise made us both stare toward the door. We each grabbed our guns on the nightstands on both sides of our bed and pulled on some clothes. Someone had made a big mistake coming to the Bond house. Department of Homeland Security agents didn't take too kindly to criminals, and since we were now both agents, they were in for a double whammy, especially on our wedding night.

Needless to say, it had been a long six months of waiting to get married. Nothing had gone as planned. We didn't get married until the day before, on the way from New York to Arizona by way of Las Vegas.

While Jim stood next to me at the opened door, I ducked my head out to see if anyone was in the hallway of the one-story home.

Jim yanked at my tank top. "What are you wearing?" he whispered.

"A shirt." I tugged at his chest hair. "What are you wearing?"

"Nothing, but I'm not a woman."

I raked my eyes down over him with a grin. "Nope, and I couldn't be happier."

He shook his head. "If whoever is out there sees you without a bra, they're going to ogle over you."

"And I'll be a diversion." I looked down at my body. "Besides, I'm not that big chested, so they may not even notice."

He kept staring at my chest. "Oh, they'll notice."

I covered it with my arm. "I'm cold. So sue me."

He blew out a big breath. "Someone said they had to have the air conditioning on, even though it's October."

"It's hot," I whispered.

He ignored me and stuck his head into the hallway. A small door shut somewhere in the house. "Follow me," he said.

I did as told by my superior agent, who was also my husband, and followed him. He went into the kitchen, where every pot and pan in the place lay on the brick red tile floor, making walking a little tough. At least the kitchen light was on. The clock on the wall read almost six in the morning, or just about sunrise.

Jim pointed toward a cabinet, where the door was slightly ajar.

"Coyotes?" I whispered.

He shook his head and put his finger to his lips. He gave me some sort of unspoken direction, which I didn't understand, but acted like I did. He inched closer to the cabinet where all the pots and pans had been stored.

When he knelt at the hinge-side of the open cabinet door, I came around the other side. He lifted one finger, then the second, and when he got to the third, the door opened, pushing Jim down. A man fell on top of him, speaking a stream of Spanish.

Jim tried to grab the gun that had been pushed out of his hand, while inching out from under the man. "Get off me."

"Stop moving," I said to the man in Spanish, holding my gun steady.

The man sat up and looked back at me, raising his hands over his head. "Don't hurt me," he said in Spanish.

"Can you get off me?" Jim asked. At least he knew Spanish, too. He was more multi-lingual than I was, even though I'd been an interpreter for various languages at the United Nations.

"Sure." The man moved slightly, but was in obvious pain, grabbing his side.

Jim slid out from under him and grabbed his gun. "Why are you here?"

"I had to run away. They're after me, and I have to tell someone in the United States."

"Are you from Mexico?" I asked the man.

"Sí. I know some men who are terrorists and have to get a message to the president. I know you can do it, too." He winced and leaned over to the cabinets, still holding his side. I looked down and saw a huge bloodstain covering his shirt. "I'm not armed," he said. "But need to see your president. It's a matter of life and death."

Jim reached over and lifted the man's shirt. "I'm a doctor. Let me see what happened."

"It's too late for me, but save my son." He looked at Jim. "Save my son." His eyes focused on me, and I could see the sadness there. His face paled as his head banged against the cabinet door. "Señora Bonita."

"Thanks," I said. "I can't remember the last time any man told me I was a pretty lady." I shot Jim a dirty look, but he ignored me.

The man fell backward, laboring for breath.

"Hang in there." Jim studied the wound. "It's not good, but I can call an ambulance."

"Señora Bonita," he said to Jim in a weak voice.

"I'm not really a pretty lady, but hey, whatever floats your boat." He looked up at me. "I think he's hallucinating."

The man made some weird sounds then went silent. Jim felt for his pulse, but it was too late. He tried CPR, but no luck. "He's dead," Jim said.

"I can see that." I walked over to the phone and laid my gun on the table, but before I could even lift the receiver, a shot rang out. I ducked, grabbed my gun, and aimed it into the hallway between the kitchen and the bedroom. It was a shame it was an open floor plan, because there was more than one way in and out of the kitchen, central to the one-story building.

Jim crawled toward the opening that led into the living room and peeked around the corner. He aimed and several shots pierced the air.

I looked out the other side of the kitchen, toward the hallway near the bedroom from where we'd just come. One man leaned against the wall beside the master bedroom doorframe, peeking into the guest bedroom. He appeared to be Middle Eastern, and definitely didn't belong to our décor. I aimed and shot him in the chest. He fell, and a shot fired into the kitchen, but I wasn't sure where it came from. I slid under the kitchen bar, to the right of the doorway, and hid. Just as I peeked around the corner again, a shot fired from behind me, probably from Jim.

Another man was in our bedroom, crouching by the door with a gun in his hand. They must've run into the house when we were talking to the man in the kitchen, or came through our window, since it was a one-story home. However, no man other than Jim was allowed in our bedroom without my permission. That was a violation of my rules, and this guy had better know I meant business.

I stood up and glanced out into the near darkness. The man moved an inch and I fired. He fell right beside the first guy, both lying in our hallway and bleeding all over the floor. Now I was really angry since I'd have to shampoo the carpet. But at least the cleanup would be easier, stacking the bodies in one place.

I looked into the hallway again, and since there were no other doors between the kitchen and the master bedroom, I slipped out and ran toward the guest bedroom, beside the master bedroom. The door was perpendicular to the master bedroom's door. I lifted my gun and searched the guest bedroom. No one was inside.

Once I stepped over the bodies in the hallway, I searched through our bedroom and master bathroom. The place was empty. The hallway was next, and I followed it up to the second guest bedroom, past the kitchen entrance and closer to the outer side door. The guest bedroom door was slightly ajar, and I could hear someone breathing behind it. I shot into the wooden door, and heard something move. A man exited from behind the door with his hands up, carrying no gun. He was Middle Eastern and spouted off some words I didn't understand. I pushed him into the kitchen, where Jim helped me pull him to the floor, behind the half wall that served as a kitchen bar. Jim reached into a drawer and removed some duct tape. With my help, he tied it around the man's hands in the back. He pushed him up under the kitchen bar and moved in front of him.

Jim spoke in Arabic to the man, who replied in something that sounded like 'la-la-la' to me. Arabic was a tough language for me, with tons of repeated sounds to my ears. For all I knew, 'la-la-la,' meant 'death to America.' I really hadn't had time to learn it fully, but I was picking up more and more words. However, the words I heard didn't usually make sense.

"There are two more," Jim whispered, putting duct tape over the man's mouth.

"I shot two right near our bedroom."

"Not our bedroom," he whined in a whisper. "That was my sanctuary."

"It was them or me and I figured I should win."

"Now I'm ticked. I'm going to assume there are two more." Jim moved toward the living room, to the right of the kitchen and peeked inside. It was dark, so Jim reached up and flipped on a light. A shot rang out from the left, piercing the light bulb in the living room. Sparks flew everywhere. The shot came from the direction of the dining room, beside the half-wall of the kitchen bar and closer to the outer side door.

"Guess it's lights out," I whispered.

Jim reached up and turned out the kitchen light, leaving us in the dark before the dawn, literally. He pointed toward the other hallway, where the dead guys stained our carpet, and I nodded. I inched around the corner of that hallway, while holding my gun ready, just in case.

A man crouched behind the kitchen bar in the dining room, and I leaned up with my gun toward his head. He spun around and grabbed me, pulling my back to his chest, while babbling the old 'la-la-la' syllables at me. I just hoped he wasn't referring to my lack of bra-bra-bra or I'd slap his face.

His arm went around my neck. I went limp as soon as I felt the cold metal gun next to my head. He grabbed my gun, and as soon as he did, I flipped the guy over, stuck my foot in his back, and took both guns from him.

"La-la-la," he said, over and over again.

"Yeah, same to you, buddy," I whispered into his ear. "Get over the no bra thing already."

Jim crawled out and taped the guy's mouth shut, and then taped his hands behind him. Both of us moved him into the kitchen beside the first Arabic guy.

While Jim secured the rest of the house, I went to the den, on the other side of the second guest bedroom beside. The den door was shut, and I knew it had been open earlier.

I put my hand on the cold metal knob and turned it, but it was locked. Jim stepped closer, shaking his head.

"Locked," I whispered.

He lifted his gun and shot the doorknob, making a huge hole in the door. "The insurance company is going to love me," he whispered. He ducked his head into the room, and ran in with his gun blazing. I stood outside to clean up the bodies, hopefully not his, and saw something moving on the deck. It was through the window next to the outer side door. Once I stepped closer to the door, I moved a bit of the curtain aside and peeked out. Six more armed men were there, approaching the door. I reached over and tried to lock it, but the doorknob was missing.

"Jim," I whispered. "A little help here."

No answer. Figured. He'd probably turned on the television in the den to sit and relax. Fighting criminals after our wedding night had to be draining. Forget the new wife. She could handle herself.

Now I had to deal with more bad guys on my own. It was as if fate had said to me, 'Welcome to married life, and oh, you might need this gun to protect yourself. Good luck.'


Web page:  http://andiealexander.com/murdersontheedge.html

Buy links ($2.99)--updated on the website as they become available:
Smashwords
Amazon

Enjoy!
Andie/Markee

Friday, November 6, 2015

What's Your New Month's Resolution?

I had a wonderful thought.  You know how every January 1, we all make these resolutions for the year?  What if we did that EVERY month?

I know some of my writing friends are working on NaNoWriMo.  That's a challenge that runs every November.  It stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month.  Teams of local writers meet up and compete against teams around the globe, to see who can write the most.  There are also ways to turn those 50,000 words into a book.  So for those folks, there's your goal.  That's around 1667 words a day (a little over 6 pages that are double spaced, containing 250 words per page).

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but have done it in the past.  For me, my challenges are a little more personal.  My goal is to get my age in years published before my next birthday in April.  I'll be 55, so I have 5 more books to publish before April.  That means a book a month between now and the end of March.  I want to give myself a little leeway, in case the holidays derail me.  So this month, I'm going to aim for 1.5 books, and the same in December.  That way, I have a little more time, just in case.

What's your goal?  It doesn't have to be writing related.  I also have goals for the rest of my life, and will post at least one of them on one of my other blogs.

Have a wonderful week!
Markee

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Newsletter

Thankful for November!



Wow.  This year has just flown by!  I can't believe it's November already.  My kids are making plans to come home for Thanksgiving, the wild geese are confused about flying south (since some of our days are still a little warm), and the leaves are just coating our lawn.  I'm waiting until the last leaf falls to take them off our lawn.  I'm just hoping it's before the first snowfall.

I hope you have a fantastic month!  For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, my thoughts go out to you, wishing you the best!  I've done it a few years in the past, and it's fun to connect with other writers.  I never had a problem getting to 50,000 words, but usually had the opposite problem of writing too much, ticking people off.  So I keep to myself now and write for me.  LOL!  But NaNo is fun!  Enjoy it!

Have a wonderful month!
SweetTale Books





What Happened At
SweetTale Books
in October?


This past month, my plans were derailed about 2/3 of the way through.  The book I was working on got stalled in my head.  So I went to my fall-back plan of putting out the first of the Adventures in World Peace books that I'd written a long time ago.  It's a fun story!  I published it YESTERDAY, on Halloween.  YAY!

Enjoy Deadly Interpretations, the first of the Adventures in World Peace


Deadly Interpretations, by Andie Alexander
(book 1 in the Adventures in World Peace series)





Blurb:

U.N. Interpreter, Harley Black, meets her match in one DHS agent named Jim Bond.  They're hearing chatter about her and her coworker, from people ready to take over the world.  It's up to Harley to keep Jim in check while creating world peace…or die trying.


~~~~~
  

Chapter 1


Beating someone up was so much easier in slacks.  No one touched me without a reason.  

As I dug my high heel into the man's back and yanked his arms behind him, I forced his face into the dirty United Nations floor.  "Look buddy.  I'm in no mood for this today.  Get out, because I have to work."  He was lucky I didn't hurt him more. 

"Harley Black."  Even though his face was smooshed against the floor, the man managed to speak.  "If you let me stand up, I'll tell you why I'm here." 

I leaned closer so he could hear me.  "Can I trust you not to touch me again?"

"Sure."  He moaned.  "You win.  I just want to talk to you.  Honest."

Two security guards ran to the door while I let the intruder get to his feet.  "Is everything okay?" the taller guard asked.

I nodded.  "Fine.  Just letting this guy know who's boss."

"Call us if you need us," the same man said, and they both walked away. 

My victim looked down and dusted off his dark blue polo shirt and stone-colored pants.  "I have to talk to you in private."  He lifted his head.  He had big blue eyes framed by dark blond hair and strong cheekbones.  In other words, the guy was very handsome, but I wasn't about to let that change the fact that he wasn't on my good side.

I crossed my arms, watching Mr. Good-Looking, who was my eye candy for the day.  "You have two minutes," I said.  "What do you want?"

After he looked toward the long row of glass interpreter cubicles and down at the General Assembly of the United Nations, he grabbed my arm and led me to the back of the small room.  He pulled out a badge and held it up to my face, making sure I read the thing.

However, I wasn't impressed, so I watched his expression instead.  A badge meant nothing to me.  Besides, he was something better to look at than plastic and metal. 

The man moved closer to my face.  "I'm an agent with DHS," he whispered.  "That stands for the Department of Homeland Security—"

"And I just kicked your butt?  A girl kicked an agent's butt.  How hilarious is that?"  I laughed but he wasn't amused, so I stopped.  I wasn't a cruel person, but it was really funny. 

He smirked.  "I used to work for the CIA, but I was demoted because of a small incident with a queen in a different country.  She didn't believe her house was the target of a bomb.  We got the bombers before they struck, but she wasn't happy with me, so I was demoted."

"What a shame."  I knew I sounded condescending, but I really didn't care.  "What do you want with me?"

"I think there's going to be a threat on your life," he whispered.  "We're getting chatter from all over and something big is going down.  They want to use a U.N. interpreter to talk between the nations."

I watched him in indifference, crossing my arms even tighter.  "Uh-huh." 

"You don't believe me?"

"Nope.  They don't use U.N. interpreters for things like that, and you never told me your name.  How can I believe you?"  I pointed toward his hand, still holding his badge.  "For all I know, you got that at some discount toy store."

"It's real.  I don't tell people my name right away because they don't always believe me."

This should be good.  "What's your name and I'll tell you what I think."

"I'm sure you will.  It's not every day I'm beaten up by a girl.  If I'd known you were good at self-defense, I'd have brought my A-game and not let your good looks mess with me."  He shook his head, studying my face.  "Black hair and blue eyes.  Very striking.  They didn't tell me about that."

I almost laughed in his face.  "What's your name?"

"Bond.  Jim Bond."

I started to chuckle.  "And you used to work for the CIA?  Are you any relation to James—"

"No."  His expression turned serious.  "It's not funny.  I'm no longer CIA, either, remember?"

"I'll never forget, just like you should never forget not to touch my shoulder from behind again.  You really need to learn some manners."  I considered giving him my full anger, but since I'd just put him on the floor, I decided to be nice.  "Now, Mr. Bond, I think it's time for you to leave so I can do my job."

His grin covered his face.  He glanced down at my cleavage before returning his gaze to my eyes.  "Unlike your dossier, you do have a nice attitude underneath that tough exterior.  You'll do fine."  He grabbed my arm and pulled me to him, kissing me hard while his tongue penetrated my lips.  He backed away after a few seconds, slightly out of breath, his eyes just inches from mine.  "Welcome to my world, Harley Black.  You've just become a member."

Even though his kiss was brief, it was very sexy, stunning me.  I had to catch my breath before I could answer.  "What did I do?"

"You're tough, beautiful, and exactly what I need to foil an evil plot.  Plus, you're going to date me, so get used to this."  He kissed me again, and it was amazing, to say the least.

He backed away as I took a big breath and opened my eyes.

"I still have it," he whispered.

I had to teach him a few lessons to soften his inflated ego, so I hauled off and slapped his face with a loud smack of my hand.  "Keep dreaming, egotist.  I'm not easy and don't appreciate being assaulted." 

I returned to my desk and sat down.  Just as I removed my lipstick and mirror from my purse, my co-worker, Elizabeth, got back from lunch.  She was very pretty, with blue eyes and wavy blonde hair that brushed her shoulders.

"Sorry I'm late," she said.  "The foot traffic—"  She stared at Jim, who was holding onto his red cheek, looking very puzzled.  "Who's this?"

I kept touching up my lipstick.  "His name's Jim—"

"Manford," he said.  "I'm Harley's new boyfriend…I think."  He moved his jaw while I hoped he was still in pain.  No man treated me like that and lived to tell about it.  I should have him arrested for a drive-by kiss.

Elizabeth looked at me, then at Jim, her mouth hanging down.  She was from the United Kingdom with a beautiful British accent and upper class demeanor.  But from the look on her face, she couldn't believe her eyes, or stay in character for being upper class. 

"What happened to Billy?" she asked me.

"He's busy tonight."  I put away my lipstick and mirror.  "He's jerking my chain, so I figured I'd play the field."  I turned toward Jim.  "Billy told me that right before lunch."

Jim nodded.  "So that's why you're so crabby?"

"No, she's also PMSing," Elizabeth said in a matter-of-fact tone.  "Bad day for her, and we all know it."  She turned back to me while pointing at Jim.  "How did you meet this guy?"

"Uh—"

"On the street after lunch," Jim said.  "We were both reading the paper at a newsstand.  One thing led to another and we ended up making out on a park bench.  It was really hot, too." 

I narrowed my eyes at him, wanting to slap his other cheek to get rid of the smirk on his face.

"So why is the side of your face all red?" Elizabeth asked.

"I think I made a mistake."  He moved his jaw again.  "I guess I shouldn't have asked her which side of the bed is her favorite yet."

"Bad question," Elizabeth whispered.  "Billy asks her the same thing all the time, but never follows through."

"Got it."

Jim didn't look innocent.  From his subtle grin, he or his agency must've been spying on me for a while to know that information.  I wondered what else he knew about me.

I batted my eyelashes at the creep.  "Well, honey, I have to work, so don't you need to go elsewhere?"  My voice was so saccharin-sweet that I wanted to hurl.

He pulled up a chair and sat down beside me.  "Nope.  Have the day off, actually."  He picked up my hand and kissed the back of it.  "I just want to spend the day with my sweetheart."  His smile looked so stupid; I could've sworn hearts danced in his eyes.

"But honeybunch," I said.  "I have to work.  I can't be distracted."

Elizabeth looked down at the floor of the United Nations.  "They're ready to start."

She and I picked up earphones and I moved closer to the microphone.  We were both taking turns interpreting the spoken word from one of the main languages into English.  Everything at the U.N. was interpreted into English, then from English to the language that the interpreter, or oral translator, was assigned, if the interpreter didn't know the other language.  The languages used were English, Spanish, French, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.  I spoke everything they needed except for Arabic, which I was learning in my spare time—what little I had.  It took a lot of training and testing to be an interpreter.  We had many substitutes, in the event of someone being ill, but we were considered the best.

Since I was doing the interpretations first, I was busy, nonstop.  We did simultaneous interpretation, which meant there was no delay between their sentences where they waited for us to translate.  Even though some of their speeches were online to help us interpret, we still had to listen to what they were saying on the floor, in case they deviated from the script.  It was much tougher than consecutive interpretations, which allowed time between sentences.  When I ran out of steam, it would be Elizabeth's turn.  That was usually every twenty minutes.

I was talking non-stop about some peace treaty, when Jim leaned up and looked into the next room.  He picked up a headset, plugged it into the jack on the desk, and pulled the thing onto his head.

The Arabic Ambassador began to speak, which meant Ali, from next door, was interpreting into English.  They interpreted into English as well as Arabic in their section.

"He's not saying it right," Jim said.

I gave him a dirty look.

"Who?" Elizabeth asked.

Jim nodded toward Ali.  "The Arabic guy.  He's changed the whole meaning.  He's going to start a war with what he's saying."

The people on the main floor began to get agitated.  I knew it sounded nasty, but I just figured the guy from Egypt wanted to start a fight.  It wasn't unusual for him to do that, because he'd done it before.

Or had he?

Jim got up from his seat and headed over to the next cubicle.  Hassam was sitting beside Ali, waiting for his turn.  Ali had finished speaking and had turned off his microphone.  It was now my turn to interpret the Russian into English.  The Arabic and Chinese booths usually had three interpreters, but the third guy in the Arabic section was on break.  However, he always seemed to be on break.

"Be careful how you interpret their words," Jim said to Ali.  "You're going to start an international incident."

Ali turned toward Jim.  "No, I'm not.  It's what the guy was saying."

"No, it wasn't.  I'm fluent in Arabic and you're wrong.  Now be careful or I'm going to call the section chief."

I kept one ear on what Jim was saying while still doing my job, listening to the Russians speak.  It wasn't easy, but when Ali's and Jim's voices rose and security came running, everyone was given a five-minute break.  Even the big boss, Kent, was in that cubicle.

"He wasn't doing it right," Jim said to Kent.  "He was telling the other nations that if they didn't straighten up, the Arabic Alliance would bomb them in their sleep and rape their women.  That's not what the guy said down on the floor at all."  He pointed down to the General Assembly and seemed very agitated.

"Is that true?" Kent asked Ali.

"Not at all."  Ali pointed at Jim.  "He hates me because I'm from Saudi Arabia."

"Not true," Jim said.  "He's doing it wrong."

I headed into the next room just as Ali stood up and threw his earphones onto the desk.  "I quit," he said.

Kent scoffed.  "You can't just quit."

"Yes, I can," he said to Kent.  "I have another job offer and I'm taking it.  It's more money anyway."  He walked out of the room and no one stopped him.

Kent pulled out his cell phone and dialed, putting it to his ear.  "I need to find Jafar."  He listened for a moment.  "Then get me a substitute for the Arabic section."  He sighed after a moment.  "They can't all be at that meeting."  He glanced over at Jim.  "Never mind.  I know what I'll do."  He ended the call and stared right at Jim.  "I need someone to sit in for Jafar.  Since you know so much, you do it."

Jim looked confused.  "But I'm not trained—"

"Tough.  We'll get someone in here as soon as we can, but for now, you're it."  He glanced at Hassam.  "Keep him in line.  We're going to test him out and make him go first."  He pushed Jim into the chair.  "Now, let's get going."  Kent turned toward all the onlookers.  "Back to work, people.  We have to create world peace here."

I stepped closer to Jim and leaned down to his ear.  "Are you sure you can do this?  It usually takes years to become an interpreter, along with many tests."

"But you did it in less than a year." 

So he did know a lot about me.  "I have a photographic memory and learned languages fast, starting in the fifth grade.  I'm the exception."  I couldn't think the administration would let him just waltz in like that.  Kent was usually a stickler for the rules.  "You can't do this.""

"Sure I can."  He smiled.  "Piece of cake.  I was in the Middle East for six months and knew the languages backward and forward before I even went.  Arabic is an easy one for me."

"What will your boss think?" I asked.

He leaned closer, looking down my top.  I knelt beside him and held my blouse closed at the top so he couldn't see anything, making him chuckle. 

"My job is to watch you and this is the perfect cover," he said.  "I'm going to ask if I can do this full-time."

I nodded.  Lucky me. 

I returned to my room and sat in my chair, trying to figure out what had just happened.

Elizabeth leaned over to me.  "Cute one, huh?"

"Yeah.  I'm trying to break him in."

"Good luck with that.  He looks chivalrous and smart, so that might be his downfall."

I leaned back and talked louder so Jim could hear me.  "I bet he's a sucker for tears, too."

"I heard that," Jim said. 

We all got back to work, keeping world peace for the day.  As soon as the session ended at five, I stood up and opened my desk drawer, removing my purse.

Jim moved to my side.  "Ready to go?  I'll call a cab."

"A cab?  They're pricey.  No, I'll just take my bike.  See ya tomorrow."  He must be a rich DHS agent or something.  It would be faster on my bike, too.

He grabbed my arm, forcing me to look at him.  "A bicycle?  At five in the evening?"

Elizabeth laughed and headed toward the door.  "See you tomorrow."

"Have a good one."  She left the room and I looked up at Jim's eyes.  "Not a bicycle."  I reached down and pulled out my helmet.  "Motorcycle."

He raked his eyes over me for about the third time since he'd met me.  It was getting annoying.  "You drive a motorcycle?"

"It goes with my name."  I turned to walk away, but he held on tight.

"No, Harley.  I'm with you, remember?"

"Fine."  I reached down and handed him a second helmet I kept in the drawer in case I needed it.  "Put it on and I'll see if you're worthy enough to ride on the back."

"I don't do motorcycles." 

I never knew a man who didn't like motorcycles.  What was wrong with this guy?

"Then you're out of luck," I said.  "Call a cab and I'll see you later some time."  I headed out of the room, but his hand on my elbow stopped me.  He didn't look very friendly, either.

"No, you'll come with me," he growled.  "You're my job.  Someone was kidnapped from this place last week and I'm not taking any chances.  If you remember, you're my job."

"Who was kidnapped?"

"Someone high up.  He was a part-time guard and no one really knew him.  But he had clout, and if he was kidnapped, anyone can be.  No, you come with me."

I lifted my chin in defiance.  No one was going to mess with Harley Black and win.  I already knew I could take this guy on, and so did he.  "We're taking my bike.  I'm not leaving it here all night."

He studied my eyes and stroked the hair back from my face.  "Do you drive safely?"

I backed away.  I hated being touched.  "Yep.  Never got a ticket."  I never looked away from him, making sure he knew I meant business.  In his world, men thought they ruled, but in my world, I ruled, and he'd better realize that.

"Fine.  You can drive then."  He leaned down and kissed me.  His skin was hot, and I could feel his minty breath brush over my cheek.  "Don't ever forget you're dating me, got it?"

I hated this.  "What happens if I do or Billy comes back?"

He pulled me in for a hug and massaged my back.  "You'll see the inside of a jail cell," he whispered.  "We don't know for sure if your loyalty is to the U.S. or not, and if you disobey me, you'll be considered a risk to national security."

"Nice threat," I whispered.  "Are you going to hold that over my head for everything?"

He leaned back with a grin.  "I can try."  He took the helmet in his hand.  "I'm driving."  He tried walking away with his hand still holding onto my arm, but I stayed put, making him almost fall backward.

"Not on my bike, you're not," I said.

He moved very close to my ear.  "Listen to me or it's jail for you," he whispered.

"Stick me in jail, then.  I have rights and no one drives my bike but me."

We were at an impasse.  He stared me down, but there was no way he could win.

"Fine," he finally said.  "But you go the speed limit."

There was no way I'd do that, because he'd just challenged me.  I left a grin cover my face, knowing his weakness.

As we walked out of the room, he grabbed my hand, leaning up to my ear.  "We're dating, remember?"

"How could I forget something so wonderful?"  I knew my tone was sarcastic, but he deserved it.  I even shot him a smile while thinking of ways to kill the guy.  I should be so lucky.

We passed some of the members of the United Nations when Felix Ernst, the German Ambassador, put his arm over my right shoulder.  Jim was on my left.

"Harley, what happened upstairs after lunch?"  Felix's accent was strong, but he was very good at speaking English.  Considering German wasn't one of the languages we interpreted, he had no choice but to use one of the other languages or bring his own interpreter.

Jim leaned forward to see Felix.  "Lover's quarrel.  We worked it out."  He glanced at my face with a snide grin.  He'd pay, somehow.

Felix lifted one eyebrow.  "Is this a new boyfriend?"

"Uh, sort of."  I glanced toward Jim.  "I'm breaking him in."

Felix laughed, but Jim squeezed my hand.  As I darted my eyes toward Jim, he clenched his jaw.  I let go of his hand, but he grabbed it again, holding on tightly.

"Well, then I guess fixing you up with my son is out of the question, since you're taken," Felix said to me.

"For now."  Jim squeezed my hand again.  "And probably for a long time."  He stopped squeezing my hand, to my relief.  I pulled it from his grasp and massaged it but didn't say a word.  Rotten man. 

Felix chuckled.  "Can you both come over for dinner?  My wife's making German sausage and potatoes.  That's my favorite."

"Not tonight," I said.  "I hope it's good though."

Felix leaned over and kissed my cheek.  "Have a great evening." 

He left my side and Jim wrapped his arm around my shoulders, leaning close to my ear.  "Never again.  I'm not going to be whipped by a woman.  Got it?"

"Such a romantic."

He moved to stand in front of me, very close to my face, even though he was a few inches taller.  "I'm serious.  I'm in charge in this relationship and you're not 'training me.'"  He put his hands on both of my shoulders.

"Sure."  I smiled to myself.  He was like putty in my hands.

"Good.  Now that we have that understood, I'm driving.  My masculinity depends on it."  He held out his hand.  "The keys?"

"Nope.  My bike and you'll have to arrest me before you drive it."

He shook his head, sighed, and looked at his watch.  "Just for tonight.  We'll have my car as soon as we get to your apartment." 

He took a step toward the door, but I stopped him from walking away.  "You know where I live?"

He leaned toward my ear.  "I know everything about you.  Your younger brother is Scotty and you have another brother Harold in upstate New York.  Your parents died two years ago, when you came back from working at the United Nations offices in Geneva, dating some guy named Claus.  He dumped you when you told him you had to take care of Scotty, because Harold wasn't dependable.  I just didn't know what you looked like, in person.  Your driver's license didn't do you justice."

I was stunned.  "How do you know this?"

"I know everything, remember?  Now can we get out of here before everyone wonders why we aren't leaving?"

I couldn't wait to grill this guy.  Tying him to my bed and beating him until he talked came to mind, but I had a feeling he wouldn't stand—or lie—for that.  However, I had to keep reminding myself that I could beat him up.  Since I had the upper hand in combat, he'd better take me seriously.

I took him to my motorcycle in the parking garage.  After storing my purse in a saddlebag, I pulled all my long hair to the back and yanked on my helmet.

He stared at me and touched my hair.  "You're beautiful.  Do you know that?"

"Yep."

I think I caught him off guard, because he laughed and crossed his arms.  "Egotistical, too."

"Yep."  I yanked the visor down on the helmet and got onto the bike.  He pulled on his helmet and sat behind me, his hands going around my waist.

"I like this," he said into my ear. 

I just grinned.  He'd have an entirely different idea about this closeness after we made it home.

Just as I started the bike, a black car spun around the corner, screeching its tires.  Both Jim and I turned to watch the car heading straight for us.  I moved the bike up as far as I could, and just as the car sped past, the door opened and a body was hurled out of the car.  I looked down, horror filling my thoughts as soon as I saw the guy's face.

It was Ali. 

~~~~~


Web page:  http://andiealexander.com/deadlyinterpretations.html

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Where to keep up with me

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Have a wonderful month!!!
SweetTale Books