This is it, folks. This is the end of the Valentine series. Book 5 will be out within the next week or so, but in the meantime, here’s a preview from the second chapter. Enjoy!

 

Chapter 2:

The Morning After

 

 

            Val wandered into the bathroom and closed the door, and stood restlessly in front of the sink. She raised her right hand and used the heel of her palm to rub the sleep away from her eyes. It was the morning after the meeting she had asked Kelly to arrange behind her office. The morning after she and her family and friends had reached a unanimous decision: John Rafferty needed to die.

            She stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her blond roots were making their presence known within the tufts of pink dye in her hair. Dark circles were developing under her eyes.  She sighed, and twisted the hot water knob on the faucet. It always took the hot water a few seconds to become hot. Val leaned forward slightly, and pulled the collar of her t-shirt down, just far enough to see the scar below her shoulder. The scar from her bullet wound…

            There was a sudden knock at the bathroom door. “Val? Are you in there?”

            Val looked over at the door and gave it half of a smile. “Hey, Ronnie,” she said. “Do you need to come in?”

            “Kinda,” Veronica said, through the door.

            Val walked over to the door and opened it, and a grateful Veronica stepped inside. “Sorry,” she said. “I really need to go.”

            “Go for it,” Val said. She closed the door and returned to the sink. The water was hot now. She pulled the lever for the stopper, and reached for her wash cloth on the nearby towel rack. As she wet her face, and lathered it with soap, she asked, “Did you sleep well?”

            “Not really,” Veronica replied. She stood up, and flushed the toilet. “I kept thinking about our meeting yesterday. I don’t think everyone there fully comprehended what we decided to do.”

            Val used her wash cloth to clean her face. “Why do you say that?” she asked.

            “Because the concept of it is absolutely crazy,” Veronica said. She watched Val wring out her wash cloth, then drain the water from the sink. Val stepped aside, and Veronica washed her hands. They reached for their towels simultaneously.

            “It’s crazy to anyone who isn’t involved,” Val said. “Or, to anyone who isn’t part of the Syndicate. But for us, this is normal. Would you rather we let Rafferty live?”

            Veronica sighed. “No,” she said.

            “The only other option, is to let him kill me,” Val said. “His beef is with me, more than any of you.”

            “I don’t want that either!” Veronica said. “It’s just that, we’re talking about killing someone! That’s not normal.”

            “It’s normal for this family,” Val said.

            They walked out of the bathroom, and down the hall to the living room. Victoria and Melinda were already awake, and in front of the TV, watching Cartoon Network and eating bowls of cereal. They looked back at Val and Veronica and smiled.

            “Good morning,” Victoria said, through her mouth full of Cheerios. “Uncle Vincent already left for work.”

            “Okay,” Val said.

            There was a knock at the door, and Veronica was the first to make a move to answer it. When she opened it, she was surprised to see Jo on the other side. “Hey, Jo,” she said, as Jo entered the apartment.

            “Morning, pretty,” Jo said. She chuckled when Veronica blushed. “Hey, ladies. I brought donuts, but I see you’re already eating cereal.”

            “We can eat both!” Melinda exclaimed.

            “I haven’t had anything yet,” Val said, eyeing the Dunkin Donuts shopping bag in Jo’s hand. “Thanks, Jo.”

            “No problem,” Jo said. She set the bag upon the counter.

            “Hey, I know what I want to do this summer,” Melinda said. “I heard someone at school talking about the Pride Parade in June. I wanna go!”

            Veronica, Val and Jo all turned to her in surprise. “The Pride Parade?” Val asked.

            Melinda set her bowl on the coffee table and nodded enthusiastically. “Yes!” she said. “Can we go this year?”

            “Uh, sweetie, do you know what the Pride Parade is for?” Jo asked.

            “Sure,” Melinda said. “It’s about celebrating who you are, and being proud of yourself and your friends.”

            Jo turned to Val and Victoria and smiled. “She’s so innocent, it’s too adorable,” she said. She turned back to Melinda, and said, “Well, you’re not wrong. Pride celebrates the LGBTQ community. It reminds people to be tolerant and open-minded, and embrace everyone’s differences. It helps the community be more aware of people like me.”

            Melinda blinked at her in surprise. “What, do you mean, like, other Marines?”

            Jo raised her eyebrows. “You’re really adorable, do you know that?”

            Melinda beamed, and picked up her bowl of cereal. “Thank you.” Victoria leaned over and whispered something into Melinda’s ear.

            Jo smiled at Val and Veronica. “This year, she should lead the Pride Parade.”

 

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Greetings, good readers! I’m working on a new book, The Witch of Fulton Lane. This will be my first supernatural story, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you. In the mean time, here’s a little preview from the first chapter. Enjoy!

 

She had never been on an airplane before. She had only seen them in the picture books and magazines her mother provided for her, in order to fuel her imagination. In her books, the planes looked big and shiny, and the people on them looked so excited. They were flying to new lands; new destinations. Why shouldn’t they be excited? Planes went anywhere and everywhere. A few days ago, she boarded a plane for the first time ever, to visit the south. Today, her plane was flying both her and her mother home to New York, from an art festival in South Carolina.

The festival had lasted five days, and took place in a public park. Rue Maycriss and her seven-year-old daughter Dylan had flown in and arrived in time for the beginning of the second day. Rue was an artist, among many other things, and was selling some of her abstract paintings at the festival. Her husband, Marcus, had declined to join them on their trip. Instead, he had taken them to the airport, and agreed to pick them up upon their return.

At the terminal, Rue and Dylan sat side by side, watching the other passengers as they walked by. Rue looked over at her daughter and smiled. “Can you believe we sold all of our paintings?” she asked.

Dylan’s face lit up. “Everybody wanted one!” she exclaimed. “Your paintings are really good, Mommy.”

“Our paintings,” Rue corrected. “You helped me paint most of them. We should take the money we made, and open a savings account for you.”

“Can we really?” Dylan asked.

Rue nodded. “I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “Of course, we’ll have to ask Daddy, first.”

Dylan frowned. “Daddy won’t like it.”

Rue placed her arm around her daughter. “We’ll just see about that,” she said, with a wink.

Their flight was announced, and they stood up from their seats. The first class passengers boarded first, followed by unaccompanied minors. The coach passengers were next. As Rue led her daughter onto the plane and to their seats, she felt a sudden sharp pain in the pit of her stomach. Dylan noticed her discomfort, and placed her little hand over her mother’s. “Are you okay, Mommy?”

Rue nodded quickly. “Mommy’s fine,” she said. “I think I had too much ice cream yesterday.”

“That’s okay,” Dylan said. “When we get home, you can take the pink stuff.”

Rue smiled. When we get home, she thought.

As the plane drove out to the runway, Dylan looked out her window, and watched the other planes take off. A flight attendant passed through the aisle, checking to see if everyone was buckled in. As the plane made its way down the runway, gaining speed with every second, the sharp pain in Rue’s stomach returned. Damn it, she thought. Not here! Not like this!

            Dylan had turned away from her window and was staring at her mother. “Mommy?”

Rue tried to smile, but Dylan was an intelligent child, and she couldn’t hide anything from her. “Dylan, baby, do you remember what Mommy taught you? Do you remember how to hold things together?”

Dylan shook her head vigorously. “Yes, I remember. Why?”

“You’re gonna have to do that, very soon,” Rue said. “There’s something wrong with—”

The airplane suddenly shook violently. The lights flickered on and off. Passengers began to look all around, and the flight attendants stepped into the front of the aisle, trying to reassure everyone, it was only turbulence. Then the plane shook again. The cabin of the 747 suddenly went black, and a few people screamed. The captain was speaking over the intercom, stating it was just a little turbulence. What he hadn’t mentioned, was the 747 was having engine trouble.

“We’ve only been in the air for less than five minutes!” a man near the rear of the cabin shouted.

Rue shut her eyes, and took a deep breath. She held the silver pentagram, which hung around her neck on a black cord. Maybe, I can do it, she thought. Maybe I can fix it, and Dylan won’t have to…

            The lights inside the cabin turned on, and the plane stopped shaking. The passengers began to settle. Rue opened her eyes, and looked around, and found Dylan smiling at her. “You made it better, didn’t you, Mommy?” she asked.

Rue gave a sigh of relief. “Yes, I think I did,” she said. “Let’s just hope it holds.”

 

 

Forty minutes into the flight, the plane began to shake again. This time was worse than before. This time, oxygen masks dropped down from their compartments in the ceiling. People began to scream. The flight attendants were powerless to calm anyone down. Dylan looked out her window, and noticed thick black smoke, coming from one of the engines. Without turning her gaze away from the window, she reached out and tugged on her mother’s sleeve. “Mommy,” she whispered.

“I see it, too,” Rue said. “Dylan, it’s time. I need you to help me. I need you to help me hold this plane together.”

Dylan trembled as she nodded her head. She and her mother joined hands, and closed their eyes. Rue grasped her pentagram, as both of the plane’s engine shut off. The 747 began to descend, rapidly.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” a flight attendant shouted. “Please put your oxygen masks on, and fasten your seatbelts!”

“Just concentrate,” Rue said. “Don’t listen to the other people, or the noises inside the plane. Just focus on holding the plane together. Picture the outside of the plane, and hold it, really tight, with your mind.”

Dylan nodded her head and concentrated as hard as her seven year old mind could.

The other passengers were screaming and yelling; some were saying the plane was about to crash. The flight attendants tried to keep everyone calm, but even they knew they were in danger.

“Hold the plane, Dylan!” Rue shouted.

Dylan concentrated even harder, as the plane came ever closer to the ground…

 

 

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Bethel

 

 

Hello everyone! Happy Labor Day! September is here! Today is Labor Day, and tomorrow, students across the country will be headed back to school. So, this month’s theme will be school-related. I have some exciting news for you, so let’s get to it.

 

Donations

This month, I will donate copies of W.E. books to libraries both in the US and abroad. I was delighted to learn of a community library in Bream, in the UK. I discovered it while searching for libraries in Woolaston, UK (since it is my last name, the name of my company…). I’m also donating to Open Books, an organization which works to support literacy. If you would like to learn more about them, here is a link to their website: http://www.open-books.org/give/donate-books/

If you belong to or know of a library in need of fiction books, please contact me, via the Contact Page on woolastonentertainment.com, and let me know. I still have copies of the first editions of Fortune’s Wing and Valentine available.

 

Bethel High School

I’m happy to announce, I’m currently working on a project for my old high school, Bethel High, in Hampton Virginia! I’m drawing a set of four comics, which will appear in their newspaper, “The Bear Facts”, and a W.E. ad will be placed in their literary art magazine, “Polaris”. When I was a student at Bethel (thousands of years ago) I worked on the “Polaris” staff, and had my work published in the magazine during my Sophomore, Junior and Senior years. I really loved working on it, and I enjoyed my time at Bethel. I’m looking forward to having one of my creations published with Bethel once again.

 

Polaris

Speaking of Polaris… I mentioned in the paragraph above, I’m having an ad for W.E. placed in Polaris magazine. If you’re an author, or if you own a business and would like to place an ad in Polaris, please reach out to me via the Contact Page on woolastonentertainment.com. I can put you in touch with the teacher who is overseeing the publication. Keep in mind, this magazine is available in Hampton, Virginia. However, this is a great opportunity for writers to gain some exposure for their books; especially if you write for young adults. To give you an idea of the pricing for the ads, a quarter page is $60—that is the ad I’m using.  So, if you’re interested, please reach out to me. Remember, the internet is national.

 

Until next week…

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Hello, everyone. Welcome to the final Monday Blog for the month of August. This week’s topic: the Fortune’s Wing Graphic Novel. I began drawing it several years ago, and never finished it. Sad, right? Anyway, it was going to follow the same story as the three books, with Fortune Oyama learning about his destiny, growing a Left Wing, and setting out on a journey to a) find the Right Wing, and then b) save or destroy the world. Being a fan of Japanese manga, the completed Fortune’s Wing GN would have been in black and white.

What you see with this post, is a page from the draft I started working on. Fortune is telling his sister Haverdy about his dreams about the world coming to an end. I’d like to complete this GN, and start a few new ones as well. When I’ve published a few more books, I’ll have more time to work on them.

Next month is September, and its Back-To-School time! I will donate W.E. books to libraries here in the states and abroad. There’s a town called Woolaston, in the UK, near Bream, and they have a library! How cool is that? Plus, Valentine 5 should be ready for all to enjoy. Until next week…

 

 

 

Welcome to yet another exciting post on the Monday Blog! Okay…that might be overdoing it, but hey, whatever! This week’s post will be brief: a little bit about one of W.E.’s earliest comics, and my gig on Fiverr.com.

 

Mike and Vanessa

Mike Murnsen and Vanessa Vance of the Our Lady of Righteous Rage series once appeared in their very own comic strip. “Mike and Vanessa”, was one of W.E.’s earliest comics, and it first appeared in the Toonville 1999 Calendar (btw: W.E. has had a few calendars, too!). Toonville was W.E.’s old name, before I changed it to my last name.  The comics were single frame scenes, and mainly concerned jokes about parenting and married life (as I saw it). The sketches were crudely drawn, but the point got across.

 

Fiverr.com

I recently posted a gig on Fiverr.com, and I have been receiving requests left and right. So many, in fact, I had to place my account on Vacation Mode, until August 24, so I could fill my current orders! If you’ve never used Fiverr, it’s a great place for people to share whatever talents or skills they have, and it’s also great for anyone who is in need of said talents. My gig, is book reviews. I will post a book review for authors on Amazon, B&N, and Goodreads.com. My starting price is only $5. If you post a gig there, you can set your own price. If you need a book review, check me out! Here’s a link to my page: https://www.fiverr.com/woolent .

 

I’m in the process of editing Valentine 5: The Queen’s Fold. It should be ready to be released by the end of next month. Anyone who won a book through my Goodreads giveaways, should receive their books in the mail next week. Until then, keep reading!

 

 

unbolt me

This essay was recently recorded for a podcast that I host at Crumble Cult. If you want to hear the audio, you can access it here, here or here. You can even have a listen while reading the comic strip I initially based it on. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy reading the original text. Words on a page can sometimes resonate more than simple audio. We’re all about options here at Unbolt Me!

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I sometimes wonder if Eve was a feminist. Yes, that Eve. The one from the Garden of Eden. That same Eve who helped herself to forbidden fruit and used the devil as her skipping rope. Yeah, she really stuck it to god because that’s just what you do when someone’s being an authoritarian prick. God, the first patriarch versus Eve, the first underdog. It didn’t go too well…

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Scene from Enos.        Degenerate R

 

Hello, everyone! Welcome to blog entry number two for the month of August. This month’s theme is Comics and Graphic Novels, so, naturally, this post will be related to that. I wanted to share some more info about two W.E. comics, “Enos” and “Degenerate R”. Both started out as comics, but later became books (because as I have mentioned in the past, I can write a book faster than I can draw a comic).

The Enos Series

After appearing in several of my fiction books, I corralled Amy, Dee, Vanessa, Yvonne, Nyda, Carmen and Erin from Our Lady, into a Sailor Moon inspired sci-fi series I named “Enos”. In this story, on Natca, a planet far away, five young alien girls train to become Natcan Cadets. Four are named after precious stones (Diamond, Emerald, Topaz, and Sapphire). The fifth and most headstrong of the group, is named Enos (because I thought it sounded cool). Donya, their teacher, is preparing them to go up against the mighty Herron Empire: the alien race who invaded and took over their planet. However, Donya is summoned to the palace for an impromptu trip to Earth, before her Cadets complete their training. Her Cadets sneak on board the Herron shuttle bound for Earth, and lose their lives in a battle. Their powers are imprisoned inside the Natcan Cadet Crystal, which Donya steals upon arriving on Earth. She passes the Cadet’s powers on to five new girls (Amy, Vanessa, Dee, Carmen and Yvonne). They use separate pieces of the crystal to transform, and become the new Natcan Cadets. As the story continues, new Cadets join the team (Nyda and Erin) and new enemies arrive to challenge Earth. One note about this series: it is FEMALE dominated. The heroes are female. Most of the villains are female. It’s chick lit, so to speak. Which brings us to…

 

The Degenerate R Series

If you’re into anime or manga, you probably know about all of those wonderful shojo magical girl series. Female characters transform and use special powers to fight evil. If “Enos” is a magical girl series, then “Degenerate R” is a “magical boy” series. I’ve always thought of Degenerate R as the male answer to “Enos”. Rob from my Our Lady series, is the main character. He’s a college student, in the town of St. Moral, just trying to go to school and live his life. All of that normalcy is interrupted by the arrival of Mischievous A, a female “Militant Warrior”, clad in a pleated denim skirt and a camouflage jacket. She fights the monster that attacks Rob’s campus on the day he’s trying to register for classes. Rob becomes so impressed by her, he ends up becoming a Militant Warrior himself. Like Mischievous A, he transforms via a ring, and becomes Degenerate R. As the series develops, other Militant Warriors join the team, and fight an enemy known as the Blue Shadow Clan.

 

I haven’t published the books from either series, because I didn’t want to create a conflict for the Our Lady series. I figured, it would confuse the reader. But, someday, I may publish some of the work, and it will be similar to Punk and Whiskers.  These books would be unrelated to the Our Lady series, and meant to be light-hearted reading.

 

Until next week…

The covers of some of my hand-written books, anime inspired…

 

 

I’m currently reading Jen Sincero’s “You Are A Badass”, and I read a passage that suggested going back to your childhood, and thinking about the things you were passionate about. It sounded like pretty solid advice, so I took a moment to think.

I’m a writer, and its something I’ve always been passionate about. I’ve been writing books for myself since second grade, and I’d like to think, my skills as a story teller have improved over the years. Every now and then, I develop a case of Writer’s Block, and I find myself feeling a bit uninspired. But, I have found a way to pull myself together, and start writing again. I went back to my childhood, to when I started writing more detailed books, with chapters and developed characters. This happened when I was about eleven or twelve. I would wake up early on Saturday morning, around 4:30 or 5:00, and start writing.  Back then, I worked on two or three books at a time. I was always excited to finish a book, and draw the cover, make a spine label and place my Woolaston Entertainment logo on the back cover. I even kept a hand-written spread sheet of stats for my books: how may chapters, pages, dates for starting and completing each book, etc. I was my own publisher, and I LOVED it.

Whenever I find myself at a loss for anything, I think about those days. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was building something very special and very important back then: I was building me.

 

Greetings, everyone. Welcome to the first Monday Blog for August 2017. This month’s theme concerns WE comics. Today, I’d like to take you on a little trip, all the way back to 1995….

 

WE was only seven months old or so. During the summer of 1995, I started watching a lot of anime, and my interest in manga (graphic novels) was beginning to stir. I woke up early every weekday morning to watch Sailor Moon on UPN (or My9, or whatever it’s called now). I rented a ton of VHS tapes from Blockbuster Video, since their anime section was fairly decent. I was able to see Slayers and Akira. This led me to create a comic of my own: the Enos series I’ve mentioned in previous blogs.  I drew the first of what was going to be a series of comics, in 1996, but decided I could write the book faster than draw a comic, so Enos became a series of books instead.

Every time I rented an anime video from Blockbuster, I made a list of all of the previews which aired before the feature. Then I’d look for those other titles. In high school, I discovered Animerica Magazine, which exposed me to a whole new world of anime and manga titles to explore. I read Galaxy Express 999, which led me to Queen Emeraldas and Captain Harlock. But, I wasn’t only interested in shojo (girl’s) material; I later discovered Kohta Hirano’s Hellsing manga, and watched both versions of the anime that followed. Blue Seed, El Hazard, Dirty Pair, Cutie Honey, Bubblegum Crisis, Bastard!, Sorcerer Hunters, The Devil Lady, Neon Genesis Evangelion…I could keep going and going. All of these titles and more, inspired the WE comics, which later inspired the WE books.

 

Apart from Enos, I drew humorous comics, and used some of the characters you’ve met in the Our Lady books.  Dee had her own series, titled Seybrook, while Amy and David were featured in Sarconi. Mike and Vanessa, were featured in Mike and Vanessa. These three comics became part of a calendar I created in 1998.

Who would have thought, all those years of watching anime and reading manga, would lead to this point? It just goes to show you: your hobbies may not necessarily be a complete waste of time.

 

Until next week…

Welcome back to the Monday Blog! This is the final posting for the month of July. To finish off the “When A Series Comes to an End” theme, I wanted to share some little known facts about each series.

 

Fortune’s Wing:

Both Demetri of FW and Rafferty of Valentine share the same character design. Their characteristics were inspired by Joseph Mascolo, the actor who played Stefano DeMera on the daytime soap, “Days of Our Lives”.

Fortune’s Wing was the first W.E. book to use humans as characters.

Verdonna was inspired by Hinoto from the anime film, X.

On the cover of the first book, there is a light shining from within a cave in a mountain. The light was created with a White-Out pen.

On the cover of the second book, the clouds on the Earth were created by stretching out cotton balls, which were later glued to a hand-drawn image of the Earth.

Valentine:

Book one if the Valentine series, were originally written as 2 separate books.

Val’s pink hair was supposed to be blond, with pink highlights. While working on the illustration for the first edition of the book, I accidentally colored all of her hair pink. But it was a happy accident.

The image of Val that appears on the first edition of book one, was meant for another book I was working on.

Valentine was inspired by the anime series(s) Noir and Revolutionary Girl Utena.

At five feet eleven inches, Jo Fuentes is the tallest female character in the series.

Jo Fuentes is the first LGBTQ WE character to appear in a PUBLISHED book.

Our Lady of Righteous Rage:

One of Amy’s songs, “Come For the Wake, Stay For the Funeral”, was originally written in 2009.

Before appearing in the Our Lady series, Amy, Dee, Vanessa, Carmen, Yvonne, Nyda and Erin all appeared in my sci-fi super hero series, “Enos”.  Rob was the lead character in the super hero series, “Degenerate R”.

When Amy was first created, her name was Charlotte.

Vanessa is named after my aunt, Vanessa.

Speaking of the unpublished W.E. books, Amy has appeared in more books than any other W.E. character.

Part of Amy’s character design was inspired by Emeraldas from the anime, Queen Emeraldas, and Fam from Ruin Explorers.

Benjamin Cardozo, Rob, David, Amy and Dee’s high school, was my mother’s high school.

 

Until next week….