Tonight, I would like to resort to some shameless self-promotion. My debut novel, Becoming NADIA, is now available in both print and eBook formats from my publisher, MuseItUp Publishing. See my "Books" tab at the top of this page for the links.
I wanted to tell a story that not only had action and romance, but one that made my readers think without being "preachy" or condescending. I hate books that tell me what I'm supposed to think. I believe good literature asks questions and allows the reader to think about the answers. So it was important that I share some truth in a way that simply asks the reader to think about something they maybe haven't before.
So anyway, I felt it appropriate to touch base with the first novel in my NADIA Project series, to announce the print release and introduce my debut work to those newcomers to my page who may not have seen her before.
With a nod to Delilah K. Stephans, my cover artist, and my capable editors Fiona Young-Brown and Greta Gunselman. Thank you, ladies. Your hard work has enabled me to win Best Thriller honors at EPICon 2012. And of course, special thanks to Lea Schizas, our editor-in-chief at MuseItUp for making this all possible for us.
“What’s one more little white lie?”
There's only one thing that pretty, popular TV reporter Nadia Velasquez is missing: her memory from before the explosion that killed everyone else in the room, including the President of Nigeria. But from the moment she meets FBI agent Jon Daniels, all hell breaks loose. Friends turn into deadly enemies overnight, and no one can be truly trusted.
When Jon and Nadia investigate further, they discover the living terror that is the truth behind Nadia's existence, a truth that could mean the death of millions.
And here's a fresh excerpt (you can see more at our buy page: tinyurl.com/4kkf5ox)
Jon was so wrapped up in his grief he never heard the approach of the helicopter echoing off the sides of the cliffs. When it zoomed over the Hummer, he jumped. He rubbed his eyes clear and looked out his windshield as it swooped up and swung around, a huge dragonfly buzzing back down the roadbed cut through the badlands. His heart slammed inside his chest like a hammer as he jerked the Hummer into gear and took off.
The helicopter zoomed over and came at him again, the rotor blades seeming to come within inches of the cliff on his right. Lower and lower it came. A burst of gunfire erupted from the right side. Jon caught the image of a man leaning out the side door with an automatic weapon as it zoomed closer. The stream of bullets from the fusillade struck the pavement in front of him as he swung the Hummer closer to the base of the cliff. He goosed the accelerator, looking for some way off the road as the chopper slipped by overhead. Glancing to his left, he saw only a drop-off to the bottom of rocky chasm. The cliff base on his right rolled up in a sheer climb of fifty feet and more. There was nowhere to go.
A movement in his rearview mirror told him the helicopter was coming back again. He could hear the roar of the rotors as it swooped down yet once more, heard the shots from the gunner in the side door as pieces of asphalt pinged off the side of his vehicle. On he raced, swerving and dodging in the narrow track of roadway.
There, on the right, an opening! The cliff wall dropped down to a low, sloping berm about five feet high. Jon stomped on the brake, swung the wheel to the right, and then back left, counter-steering to control the sideways skid. Then he goosed the pedal hard, heading up over the bank and off into the badlands. He hoped he could lose his pursuers in a canyon or draw. He took the first turn he came to and led the chase up into the hills as fast as he could drive. Nevertheless, the chopper stayed with him all the way. Bullets panged off the rock wall next to the Hummer, spraying chips against the passenger side of the vehicle. Jon stayed as close to the wall as he could, trying to limit the helicopter's avenues of approach as much as he could.
He ducked into a narrow canyon just at it flew by yet another time. The Hummer went over the rim of the canyon at over fifty miles per hour, sailing out and down the slope. It landed hard halfway down and bounced twice, nearly toppling before settling back in, driving between the stone walls of the Wyoming badlands. He had to slow down here to negotiate around the larger rocks strewn about the sandy floor.
The helicopter passed overhead again, but instead of homing directly in on him like before, it passed as a blur across the top of the canyon several hundred meters in front of him.
The stone walls closed in yet again, and the canyon became a ravine with overhanging cliffs on both sides that often overlapped over the Hummer, obscuring Jon's view of the sky.
He doubled back under one of the deeper overhangs and stopped the Hummer. His hands shook as he waited with his window rolled down, straining to hear the sound of the rotors. He heard the chopper pass over twice more, each pass farther away, and then fade off, and then it was quiet.
Jon got out and opened the back door. He reached into the back seat and pulled out his weapons, strapping on the pistol and loading magazines for the carbine. He carefully loaded and checked each, scurried farther back under cover of the rocky overhang.
The air was thin at that altitude, and his breathing was labored as he tried to calm his pounding heart. He waited several more minutes, hearing nothing but the wind blowing down the ravine, so he rose and walked out to the edge of the shadows, ears straining.
A small sound came from above and a pebble dropped into the sand under the edge of the overhang. He looked up as he approached the edge of the shadow under the overhang, and that was when he heard a small pop from his left. He snapped his head around just as the sting in his neck registered in his mind, and he saw the man holding the small rifle advance toward him.
Jon tried to bring the carbine to bear, but it was too heavy to lift. He dropped it and reached for the pistol, but his arm seemed weighed down by an immense burden. His fingers fumbled with the holster, but kept missing the clasp. Images in his vision began to dance in erratic, shifting patterns and he fell. Blackness swarmed over his mind as he heard a man talking and an answer crackled back on a radio.
* * * *
When Jon opened his eyes again he was strapped own on a gurney in a helicopter. The metallic, copper taste of adrenaline mixed with the salty warm flavor of blood in his mouth. He must have hit pretty hard when he fell. His abdomen felt like someone had worked him over with a baseball bat. He tried to move his arms but they were strapped down, too. He heard voices above the beat of the helicopter's blades and the whine of the turbine engine, but could understand nothing. He tried to speak. A needle slipped into his neck, and a warm, sluggish feeling washed over his brain. He heard someone say, "Dude, like you didn't have to zap him again, he's tied down." and the light began to fade.
Nadia, don't let them take you. The blackness closed back around him.