No Rest for the Wicked
When the Angels attack, there’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED.
Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack, and with the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.
When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. He speaks to the Angels and organises a final showdown where he’s asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home(poetry)
Eyes Like Lighthouses is Dane Cobain’s first book of poetry, distilled from the sweat of a thousand memorised performances in this reality and others. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
“I’ve never seen anyone do a stream of consciousness piece as talented as that. Very impressed.” – Mark Allard-Will, author of Saskatch-A-Man and co-founder of Cuckoo’s Nest Press
Former.ly: The Rise and Fall of a Social Network
When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences.
But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.
Social Paranoia: How Consumers and Brands Can Stay Safe in a Connected World
Social Paranoia: How Consumers and Brands Can Stay Safe in a Connected World is the true story of how sometimes the updates that you post come back to haunt you. Filled with real case studies and practical advice, it’s a guidebook for everyone who has an online presence from consumers to massive corporations.
Sometimes, people really are out to get you. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK) is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website, www.danecobain.com. His debut novella, No Rest for the Wicked, was released in the summer of 2015.
“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”
Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.
“It’s just an expression, I assume you have those in America?” This time Tegan completely intended the playful sarcasm that dripped from the comment. She even ventured a slight grin to put him on the defensive a little, but Mason was quick with his reply.
“Yes, we have them. For example, don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Mason had smiled disarmingly when he said it, but the underlying message to her was clear. Considering what happened at the pub, perhaps she had been a tad hasty in her judgment of his character. Tegan bundled the tools she had been cleaning and attempted to pick them up all at once in order to move them into the shed, but before she could take two steps they began slipping from her hands. Just as she expected to see the entire bunch go crashing to the ground, Mason’s hands appeared and encircled hers, stabilizing the load. His hands were strong, but soft, and their sudden steadying warmth took her completely off guard.
She had been careful to avoid looking directly at him during their entire exchange so far, but her discipline wavered for one instant and she allowed herself to meet his gaze. She immediately regretted it. His eyes were two fiery emeralds that seemed to have already been waiting millennia for her to find them. The depth they held was something she had not expected; there was profound suffering there, but also something wild and passionate and unbridled…like the feeling she got while walking through the estate gardens after a summer storm.
Somehow his eyes burned through the walls of her meticulously constructed defenses as if they were flash paper. She felt as though he was somehow seeing her…the real her, instead of the protective façade she normally projected to people she didn’t know. In that instant of unexpected vulnerability Tegan was surprised to find she was capable of anything. She felt the boundaries and inhibitions that normally constrained her fading like a winter sunset.
A moment after Tegan felt the hurricane begin to stir within her, she smothered it for fear of being consumed. Where in the world is this coming from? She had only been looking at him for a moment, but it felt as though they had been staring at each other for hours. She abruptly pulled her hands free, which sent the tools clattering loudly into the dirt. In truth, she had forgotten they were suspended between their interlocked hands. Grateful for the distraction, she kneeled down and began gathering the fallen load, which he immediately assisted her with. Between them, they got all the tools to the shed in one trip. As the electricity of the moment faded, Tegan began feeling silly for even thinking such ridiculous things. I know nothing about him. She made a mental note not to look into his eyes again. There was a reason so many girls went crazy over him, and he probably knew exactly what he was doing with those eyes…and that crooked smile.
About The Author
Dallas Coryell is a musician and author residing deep in the untamed wilds of Michigan, USA, where he desperately attempts to assign meaning to his world through bouts of maniacal creative catharsis and pitifully doomed hopeless romantic fantasies. All of the songs written by the characters in this novel are real and can be viewed on the author’s fledgling YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/DallasCoryell1 Selfies and other assorted randomness can be found on the author’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dallascoryell
Alone in the world and struggling to make ends meet, Texas war widow Sarah Winborne will do anything to keep her two small children safe and her hard-won ranch from going under. She hasn’t fought for so long to lose everything… and if that means marrying a stranger to protect her family’s future, then so be it.
She never expected anything but a business arrangement, but something about Benton Wheeler’s broad shoulders and kind eyes awakens emotions she’d long since buried. He makes her feel beautiful. He makes her feel desired. He makes her feel like a woman again. And even though their marriage was never intended to be more than a matter of convenience, as Benton stands between her small family and the wild and dangerous West, Sarah may just realize that the cowboy she married is the love she never dreamed she would find…
Leigh Greenwood is the USA Today bestselling author of the popular Seven Brides, Cowboys, and Night Riders series. The proud father of three grown children, Leigh resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. He never intended to be a writer, but he found it hard to ignore the people in his head, and the only way to get them out was to write. Visit him at www.leigh-greenwood.com.
The question punctured her thoughts. The unexpectedness of it was like a physical blow. “Of course I do. I wouldn’t have married him if I hadn’t.”
“You said you only married because you had to.”
“Yes, but I wouldn’t have married a man I didn’t like or didn’t trust.”
Jared had finished setting the table and putting out the bowls for the food, but he hadn’t put out the glasses. “Do you want him to stay after he fixes things so we won’t starve? He said he couldn’t get the land until you divorce him.”
Sarah didn’t know what had prompted Jared to ask these questions. She had always tried to be forthcoming with the children, but maybe she’d told them too much. “That’s a long way in the future.”
“Would you let him stay if he wants to?”
Sarah dragged her attention back to the stove. She moved the potatoes off the heat and checked the bottom of the cornbread to make sure it hadn’t burned. “Why are you asking this?”
“Because I want Salty to stay. Forever.”
Sarah forgot her potatoes and cornbread. She looked at her son. “Do you like him that much already?”
“I wish he could be my papa. Arnie said he wanted to be my papa, but I didn’t want him. I want Salty.”
Sarah pulled her son close and gave him a swift hug. “Honey, I know how important your crutch is to you, but anybody could have made you one.”
“But nobody did.”
And Salty had indeed made one, had made it a priority despite staying up all night. He’d taken them to eat in a restaurant, bought them a dog, and let them stay in a hotel. No wonder Jared wanted him to stay.
“He might decide to sell his land once he gets it,” she cautioned.
“He won’t.” It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t even an opinion. Jared spoke as though his belief were an established fact.
“Why do you think that?”
“He doesn’t like Mr. Wallace.”
“Did he say so?”
“No, but I can tell.”
And that apparently settled the question for Jared, because he started setting out glasses.
Sarah hadn’t let herself think about what Salty might do when it came time to sign over half of the ranch; not lately. He had become part of her plans nearly as quickly as he had done for Jared. She was more attracted to him than ever. But that’s not what worried her. Sheliked him. That wasn’t in her plans.
It was okay to like him as a co-worker. It was okay to like him as a friend. It was even okay for her to start to depend on him for physical labor, seeing as he was her husband. However, it was not okay to want him around all the time. It wasn’t okay to think of him touching her, holding her, even kissing her.
She’d been on edge so long she probably wasn’t thinking clearly. She was simply grateful to find someone who might actually solve her problems. As a result, she had started thinking she’d like him to stay around forever. But was she so grateful, so relieved, she’d forgotten what her father was like, or Roger? Had she forgotten the men who’d worked for her, who were more interested in getting into her bed than in doing the work they were paid to do? Rose Randolph might have found a man she could love in a fairy-tale way, but Sarah didn’t trust any man that much.
But, maybe she could take him as a lover?
The thought shocked her so much she nearly dropped the pan of cornbread she was taking off the stove. She’d never had such a thought in her life. What was wrong with her? But the thought of being held and kissed by Salty caused her temperature to rise. Something deep inside her longed for the physical contact, and it wasn’t just a sense of safety she might find in his arms. She sought something much more fundamental, something she hadn’t felt with Roger or any other man. It was as though she needed him. She could understand want, could even understand lust, but where had need come from? It wasn’t physical. She could take care of herself. It was an emotional need, one she’d never been able to fulfill, only deny.
“Hurry up with the cornbread, Mama. Ellen and Salty are almost here.”
Sarah’s impulse was to run to her bedroom. How could she face Salty with her thoughts in such disarray? She stood frozen while the pair entered the house. Then she did something she’d never done before. She fainted.
It’s 2125. Aging is a thing of the past but personal memories and desires are now under corporate management. Jenda Swain is a youthful 111 years old, content with her professional career, when a disturbing encounter with an old woman forces her to question her own identity, to begin searching for the woman she once was and might yet become. Her journey takes her into the arms of an activist artist who has a quest of his own; answers come together as their world falls apart.
Donna Dechen Birdwell has created a dystopian world as only an anthropologist can, with sensitivity and insight deriving from years of observation and dedicated study of the human condition. Donna is deeply convinced that storytelling is essential to our nature and that imagination is our most precious human trait. Donna is also an artist and former journalist and a native Texan.
The café was down a couple of side streets, in an area of Dallas Jenda never went to, but she thought she might have been there once before. She couldn’t remember. Without looking at the menu, she ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with fried potatoes and sweet tea. It was plain food. She was halfway through her meal, savoring the anonymity afforded by this out-of-the-way eatery as much as the greasy fare, when she noticed the woman who had turned on her stool at the café’s counter to stare.
The woman was old. That in itself was disturbing. Nobody got old anymore, not since Chulel – the drug that prevented aging – had come on the market a hundred years ago. Jenda, at 111, was as fresh and vigorous as she had been in 2035 when, at the age of 22, she had received her first annual Chulel treatment. Jenda’s grandmother was 165, but appeared no older than she had been when she began taking Chulel in her mid-sixties. What was this old woman doing in Jenda’s world?
Jenda turned away, but she could still feel the woman’s dark eyes boring into her, probing. Jenda couldn’t help herself; she looked again. When the woman saw her looking, she smiled.
“Zujo!” Jenda swore, quickly returning her attention to her unfinished sandwich. It was too late. Taking the look as an invitation, the woman dropped down from her counter stool and shuffled over to Jenda’s table.
“You’re Jenda Swain,” she said, cocking her head to one side and narrowing her eyes. “God, you look the same as you did in high school.”
“Excuse me?” Jenda sat up straighter and used her best business voice.
“Of course you don’t remember,” the woman said, dragging out the chair across from Jenda and sitting down heavily. “Nobody remembers much of anything anymore.” She shrugged and looked down at her hands. Jenda looked, too. The woman’s hands were wrinkled, misshapen, and covered in brown and red splotches. “I remember you, though,” she continued, looking up into Jenda’s face. “My god, you were a firebrand back then. I idolized you and your boyfriend, you know. Such temerity! The things you did…” The woman refused to turn away. “Do you still paint? You always had your mom’s gift for art.”
“I think you must have made some mistake,” Jenda said quietly, fighting to modulate her voice against the tightening in her throat. “You may know my name, but you clearly don’t know me. Nothing you are saying makes any sense at all.” Jenda felt her cheeks warm as she flashed on an image of herself with an easel and paintbrush. Her last bite of sandwich seemed to have lodged somewhere near the base of her esophagus. “Now, would you please go on your way? Leave me alone.” Jenda blinked, shuttering herself away from this intrusive presence.
The woman’s face clouded and she leaned forward, looking Jenda squarely in the eye. “You need to ask more questions.” She spoke the words clearly and forcefully. Then she pushed her chair away from the table with a loud scraping noise. As she leaned over to pick up the leather bag she had dropped under the chair, the pendant around her neck clanked on the tabletop. It was an old fashioned timepiece, the kind with a round face with numbers and moving hands. Jenda reflexively reached up to grasp her own necklace, a cluster of plexiform flowers in the latest style from her favorite recyclables boutique. The woman took in a deep breath, as if rising from the chair had taxed her strength. She looked at Jenda again. “You’re the one who doesn’t know who Jenda Swain is.” Her voice was gentle, maybe sad. Then she turned and walked out the front door.
Jenda’s impulse to run after the woman and ask her name was unexpected. Holding it in check, she sat rigidly, staring at her cold, greasy food. She swallowed hard, trying to dislodge that last bite of sandwich. Her hands trembled. She quickly finished her dilute, not-so-sweet tea. Looking up and down the street as she exited, she saw no sign of the woman.
Jenda looked back over her shoulder as she made her way back to the main street, back to reality. What possessed me to go to that café anyway? she scolded herself, shoving her fists deeper into the pockets of her fashionable jacket.
All afternoon at her desk in the Dallas offices of Your Journal, Jenda’s mind wandered, pacing back and forth across the odd feelings, trying to tamp them down. How did the old woman know Jenda’s name? What was that about idolizing her in high school? What boyfriend? Firebrand? Ridiculous. Jenda’s personal records with Your Journal clearly indicated that her high school career had been quietly unremarkable. She had been a good student with good marks who never made trouble. The woman must have gotten Jenda mixed up with someone else. That was it. Old people did that sometimes, didn’t they? But Jenda had enjoyed painting in high school. And her mother had been a sculptor of some note before the accident.
“Are you okay, Jenda?” It was her office mate, Weldon.
“What?” Jenda started, “No, no, I’m fine,” she said. “Maybe something I had at lunch disagreed with me.” She gave Weldon a wan smile. It was nearly quitting time.
Jenda’s discomfort followed her home. It’s just an attack of cognitive dissonance, she told herself. There was a pill for that. But when she got home, she didn’t take the pill. Instead she poured a glass of wine and pulled up Your Journal on her home screen, accessing her high school years. There wasn’t much, but the pictures were all precisely as Jenda remembered them – she had the same golden blond hair, the same flawless fair skin. She stopped for a moment to examine the picture of herself with an easel and paintbrush. Why had she ever stopped painting? To make a living, she reminded herself, and a contribution. She had majored in art at Perry University, but her course of study focused on digital design and graphic psychology. With that, she had secured her position at Your Journal. That was ninety years ago.
Jenda loved her job with Your Journal, loved being part of such an important corporate institution. Everybody relied on Your Journal as a secure repository of their personal photos, stories, thoughts and feelings. People interacted with it every day, experiencing pangs of guilt if they failed to respond to the reminders on their digilets. You could also put photos and comments on LifeBook, but those were shared with everyone in your loop. YJ was personal and people often referred to their YJ files as their “exomemories”.
Jenda was due for her next sabbatical in a couple of months and she had already booked into a resort in the Republic of California. The social order under Chulel had done away with retirement, moving instead to a system in which every worker received a one-year sabbatical every ten years. Technically, of course, a “sabbatical” should occur every seven years, but the term had a nice feel. Nobody questioned such verbal technicalities.
Jenda pulled up some pictures of the resort, which suddenly struck her as mundane and boring and not somewhere she wanted to spend an entire year of her life. Maybe she should try something different. Maybe she should try painting again. Jenda vaguely recalled a place where her mother had gone a few times, a place that used to be considered something of an artists’ colony. Maybe in Mexico. Jenda searched through various mediazones and finally came up with a town in central Mexico called San Miguel de Allende. She wasn’t sure that was it, but she decided that was where she would go. She did check to verify that there would be tennis courts. She always said tennis was her favorite activity.
Within a few minutes Jenda had cancelled her reservations for California and made new ones for San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Then she drafted a memo to her supervisor, asking to begin her sabbatical early. She would lose a few weeks of leave, but she felt an odd exhilaration arising from these rash decisions. It felt good.
Out of necessity Shelby Matthews, a beautiful, blonde mother of three grown children becomes an eighteen-wheel truck driver, finding out that leering eyes and cat-calls from the men aren’t as dangerous as the vindictive and territorial behavior of a female co-worker, Betty Burton.
On her first hauling job Shelby has an unexpected encounter, and finds herself the target of unwarranted revenge. As the threats quickly escalate into sabotage on her marriage and attempts on her life, including impending death from the cliffs of some of Utah’s highest mountains, the dangers of being a woman on the road emerge, will Shelby prove to be a true-blue, red-blooded American, Mother Trucker?
The gunshots came down from the top of the hill into the pit, making it sound like a war zone. Shelby tried to look up to see what was happening, but the dust was thick from the spray of bullets that were hitting everything in sight. “STOP THE DAMN SHOOTING!” she yelled as she covered her head with her hands and put her face in the ground. Just how did I get here? She wondered.
“Ouch, dammit that hurt!” Shelby put the injured finger into her mouth and then quickly removed it. She looked at the nicely-painted, half-broken artificial nail. “I just had these nails done last week.” As she reached down toward her stuck high-heel, which had caused the incident in the first place, her purse slid from her shoulder, hitting her leg. “Stupid shoe.” She pulled at the lodged heel stuck in a crack of cement, near the rubber mat that lead into the grocery store.
Shelby hobbled into the store and used the handle of a shopping cart to balance as she replaced her shoe. Then she placed her handbag in the child seat. “What else can go wrong today?” she mumbled.
Just as she was about to push the cart forward toward the produce section, a hand gently tapped her shoulder. “Shelby? Shelby Mathews? I knew that was you.”
Shelby turned, catching her blonde hair in her old college friend’s ring. She pulled her hair away and the two women embraced each other. “Jayne Edwards, wow, it’s been like forever since we’ve seen each other. How are you?”
Jayne let Shelby go and smiled at her old friend. “Oh, it’s been too long. Funny, I’ve been thinking about you lately, which must be why we crossed paths today. I’m doing well. How about yourself?”
Shelby lifted up her finger for her old friend to inspect. “Just hanging in there really, and this little mishap is the icing on the cake for me, I think. My father always told me I was a magnet for mishaps and mischief.” The two women laughed. Shelby was glad to see her friend, but with everything that had happened over the last few weeks, all she really wanted to do was burst into tears. “Trying to keep my chin up and move forward.”
Jayne could tell that her college chum needed to talk. “Hey, why don’t we find a seat over at the coffee bar and chat?”
“That sounds wonderful, I would love to catch up. Steven, my son is home with Jack, so I’m sure he won’t need me for anything for a while.”
The two women ordered their coffee and took their cups to an empty table. When they were settled, Jayne began, “Last thing I remember was you marrying Jack Mathews, and I think you sent me a couple of e-mail announcements, about the birth of some children.”
“Yes, I married Jack, and we have three boys—all grown up. She paused, “Jack just came home from the hospital a few weeks ago—heart attack.”
“Oh, no. How is he? How are you?”
“We’re coping…trying to keep things running smooth. I’m a teacher, and Jack—well, Jack used to be an executive in his company. He’s been with them since we got married, but right now he’s on long-term disability. Believe me, that isn’t easy financially either. I had to take a job at a local convenience store to help supplement, so we can at least pay most of our bills.”
“That’s terrible. It’s a shame that teaching just doesn’t pay like it should. I remember when I got divorced it was nearly impossible to keep up on just one check. That’s why I changed careers.”
Jayne and Shelby sipped at their coffee.
“Tell me about those boys,” Jayne said.
Well, we have three now. Jack Jr. the oldest looks and acts just like Jack. He has two children. Can you believe it? Me, a grandma.”
“Mark, the middle boy is a Marine. He’s more like me. He got leave when he learned of Jack’s heart attack; we just sent him back to North Carolina.” Shelby sipped her coffee again, holding back the tears she wanted to shed. “We’re very proud of him. It’s amazing how much being a soldier has changed him. He’s so grown up, yet so young.”
“Wow, has he seen combat?”
“Yes, he was in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
“At least he’s safe on American soil now, right?” Jayne took another sip of her coffee. “So, what’s the youngest boy like?”
“Steven. He’s in college, and he still lives at home. He’s my quiet man.”
“Sounds like you’ve been busy,” said Jayne. “I’m sorry to hear about Jack—“
“We’re taking it one day at a time.”
Jayne put her hand on Shelby’s. “He’ll be okay. One day at a time is all you need to be doing right now. Have faith, Shelby.”
“Thanks…so what have you been up to all this time? I feel really bad I haven’t kept in touch.”
“Well, I got married…but it wasn’t a good marriage. Like I said, I got a divorce, but I have a great son out of it, and I’m glad I’m on my own. I drive a truck for a living now, so I get to see a lot of the states and make a good living at the same time. Life’s been good to me health-wise, and I enjoy every day that I’m given.”
“You’re a truck driver?” Shelby said, shocked. “Are you telling me that you drive one of those great big things all over the country?” She gaped at the smart, pretty woman who sat in front of her.
Jayne grinned. “Yep, I’m a big eighteen wheel truck driver. I drive all over the country, and I love it. Besides getting to see a lot of great things, I meet nice people and get paid really well for just delivering stuff from one side of the country to the other.”
“Don’t be so shocked,” Jayne said. “A lot of us women are driving rigs now, especially single women who have to take care of their families. Truck driving is a good way to make a living, even for those of us with college educations.”
Shelby sat back and studied her old friend. Before her was a happy, healthy, educated, put together woman. “I hope I haven’t offended you. I guess I’m just a little confused. Hell, I know women work in almost every industry these days; you just don’t seem the type.”
Jayne laughed. “Well, I am. After my divorce, I had to find something that paid well if I was going to raise my boy and send him to college. My job as a college professor just wasn’t cutting it financially.”
“You make more driving a truck than you did teaching at that community college?”
“You bet. At least twice as much.”
Shelby wanted to know more. She looked at her watch. Time to get back to Jack. “Jayne, I would love to continue this conversation with you. May I have your number so we can talk? Or maybe you can come by my house sometime and we can have coffee again?”
Jayne reached in her purse and pulled out a business card. “Here. I own my own trucking company, and although I’m gone a lot, I’d love to talk with you again. Call me any time. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for you.”
Shelby took the card and got up from the table. Jayne got up too and gave Shelby a hug. “I’ll be in touch soon, I promise.”
Shelby grabbed her shopping cart and disappeared into the store.