I am so excited today! I have so much to tell you about today’s guest, Michele Gwynn. Why didn’t I know she is so awesome before? Well, I know now. Have a look at some of the books she’s written (including the HOT HOT HOT new release Exposed: The Education of Sarah Brown), read some excerpts, blurbs, and my review of Harvest, the first book by Michele Gwynn I’ve read. Yes, I’ve got more. If you know me, that should tell you something.
Michele E. Gwynn is a freelance journalist in San Antonio. She writes for newspapers, magazines, and online websites like Examiner.com (under the categories of Film, Animal Rights, Healthy Food, and Sex and Relationships), Yahoo Voices, Alwayz Therro Magazine, and more. In addition, she also edits websites and books – recently editing the debut supernatural romance novel, Lone Wolf Rising, by Indie author Jami Brumfield, and her next novel in a new series, The Witch’s Vampire – Mystery Springs Unleashed. Prior to her career in writing, Ms. Gwynn worked in medical administration in a managerial capacity.
Ms. Gwynn recently published two books; one in the science fiction genre, Harvest, and one children’s fiction, The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer. She is publishing her first erotic crime novel in August 2014 – Exposed: The Education of Sarah Brown, is already working on her second sci-fi novel, and plans to continue “The Cat Who..” series with the intent on introducing common greetings and words of foreign languages with educational information about the history of other countries for children.
She resides in northeast San Antonio with her four felines who so graciously allow her to live in their home.
Book Description: Human greed and gluttony can exist only so long before consequences catch up to actions. For Dave Forrester, the actions of every human living were about to be addressed in his home town of Farley, Oklahoma. A haunting memory from the past is about to become a nightmare. The people of Farley have disappeared without a trace leaving behind only bloody clothing and glimpses of strange lights in the sky. It’s up to Dave to figure out why, and how to save the few that survive….the harvest.
Traveling home after a night out was not unusual for Dave Forrester. It was a Saturday night like any other. He’d hung out with his buddies at the local watering hole, and after a few games of pool, and a round or two of darts interspersed with beer and shots of Wild Turkey, he had clapped his buds on their arms, shaken hands, and promised to meet up again next week. So far, the only thing out of the ordinary had been the cute redhead seated at the far end of the bar all night. He kept sneaking looks at her, but Dave never quite got up the courage to approach her. She was prettier than he was used to, and he struggled with a slight inferiority complex.
So when last call came around, he finished off his last Corona, told his best buddy, Red, he’d see him tomorrow sometime, glanced briefly at the pretty lady, (offering the customary tipping of his hat in her direction) before heading out the door to his Chevy truck. Yep, nothing was new tonight but the same old, same old, and going home alone. Dave sighed heavily, feeling incredibly lonely. It had been a long time since he last was in a relationship; so long that he had forgotten how nice it felt to have a woman’s arms around his waist at night or how sweet the sound of feminine laughter could be. He might not remember those things but he knew he missed them.
It had been three years since Sherry had dumped him after cheating on him with a married man twice her age. He still didn’t understand how the hell that had happened, but the only thing Dave could figure out was the fellow was rich, and had more to offer financially than he did. Sherry always did like gifts, and the stuffed bears, wildflowers and infrequent dinners out to the steakhouse with the all you can eat salad bar hadn’t satisfied her. God knows he had tried. Dave felt one lone tear begin in his left eye and he took a deep breath, sucking it up, refusing to allow any more tears to fall for that gal. Dammit, men just don’t cry. Sherry was just plain materialistic and love notes, hand holding and telling her he loved her hadn’t put designer clothes on her wonderfully sculpted body, hadn’t slid onto her fingers like diamond rings, and could never fly her to Monaco first class like all the other guy’s money had done. Sherry had no heart and didn’t deserve his.
With that last thought Dave tried to concentrate on the road ahead of him as he headed off down the country lane that would lead to his old-fashioned farm house on three acres of land. The house and land had come to him through his grandparents. When his granddad died five years back, his grandma, Effie, had been all alone in the house, unable to handle the planting and harvesting of the wheat and hay. Dave’s mom, Lynda, had subtly put the idea into her son’s head to move in with his grandmother, and help take care of things. Grandma Effie hadn’t wanted to lose the home she’d shared with her husband, Ernest, for over thirty years. Dave knew he’d end up with no choice in the matter, not that he minded much helping grandma out. The only setback had been in giving up his bachelor pad apartment which helped put a crimp in his love life with Sherry. She complained a lot whenever she and Dave had to go to her place to have sex, said a grown man ought to have his own place. She never understood that sometimes a grown man also has obligations to others as well. But that was in the past. Grandma Effie had declined in her health nonetheless after Ernest Hardy’s death. She just couldn’t seem to find a way to live her life without him, even with her grandson’s help. She passed on a year and half later, leaving the house and all the land to Dave. He’d been there ever since, making a go of farming. It wasn’t much, but he found he loved the simple labor. It was hard work, but he worked for himself, and what he made off the sale of the wheat and hay paid the bills. For the most part, Dave was content.
There were no lights out this far along the roadside and one had to really pay attention to what was coming in order not to hit any wild animals running across the road. It was dark, quiet, and mighty peaceful with the warm July wind whipping through the rolled down, driver’s side window. Dave drifted off into thought as he cruised along the 30mph stretch. Another mile and he’d be home, alone with his television and empty bed.
Behind him, a light streaked across the starless sky like a small comet. Dave noticed the flash in his rearview mirror. It grew larger and seemed like it was headed right at the back of his truck. The light continued to grow until it blinded Dave. He tried to look in the mirror to see what the hell was going on. For a split second, he thought a car load of kids had driven up behind him and had their high beams on. But another split second later, the Chevy truck was fully enclosed in a blinding white light and Dave barely got the chance to mutter “What the..” before a shuddering explosion of sound, or was it an implosion, like millions of conversations at once robbed him of consciousness.
The truck slowed and rolled to a stop in a small ditch off the side of the lane, just a few hundred yards from Dave’s front lawn. The light dimmed and then was gone. Wisps of frost radiated off the truck and melted into the warm summer night air. All sound seemed to stop. The air was still, and Dave, unaware and unconscious, fell sideways in his seat belt, hanging suspended above the bench seat. The car radio spit and sputtered to life, softly playing Hank Williams’ “I’m so lonesome I could die”.
This is a sci-fi short with strong influences from common UFO myths and witness accounts, with original, chilling points and just the right amount of gruesome thrown in. Well-written and very enjoyable, it drew me in and didn’t let me go until I’d reached the last page. Good descriptions and deep enough characters to empathize with, despite the little space to develop them in. I liked the style, loved the mix of concepts and enjoyed the storytelling pace. The ending was satisfying and infused with hope, but I certainly wished there was more to read.
All in all, a lovely, engaging read, suitable for all ages. I fully recommend it.
Here’s a sneak peek of Book II in the Harvest Trilogy, Celluloss.
May 15, 1962
The screams were the loudest and most maniacal sounds Sergeant Trent Wilkins had ever heard. Assigned to guard the doors to the 12th Air Training Command’s underground bunker located approximately two miles northwest of Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Wilkins had not been given any specifics nor had he asked. He just followed orders, and his orders were to stand guard from 11 p.m. till 7 a.m. and let in only the three authorized personnel on his list. With the steel doors closed, no one beyond the field could hear those screams; screams that sounded like something out of a nightmare, like they came from an animal, but no animal he’d ever encountered before. The sounds assaulted his ears and scraped the inside of his skull as Doctor Andre Troyevsky and Colonel Louis Reed exited those steel doors and headed up the ramp towards the jeep parked in the center of what was otherwise a fallow field.
Cows lowed in the distance answering those screams that faded off as the doors automatically closed behind the departing men. Wilkins was relieved when the lock clicked shut and he could no longer easily detect the other-worldly screeching. Other than the frightening noises from within, the job was easy. He could smoke his cigarettes, piss in the field, and he was allowed one thirty-minute break to eat. As long as no one went in that wasn’t on the list, and no one left who wasn’t on the list, his job was complete. The list changed nightly with only a few variations in authorized military personnel, but the demands of the post stayed the same. Wilkins had been on this detail for three months and not much had changed. If he could finish out his military contract before his out-processing back into civilian life pulling this detail, his remaining time would be a cake walk.
He lit a Marlboro as the jeep pulled away and took a long drag. Only Doctor Parker remained inside the bunker. How he could stand those screams being so close to whatever was going on down there he didn’t know. Ben Parker was in his fifties with silvery hair, what little he had, and wore a stern countenance. On the few occasions he’d seen him, Parker had not acknowledged the Sergeant beyond flashing his I.D, and he always looked ten years older when he left in the morning.
Wilkins leaned up against the concrete frame built fifty feet into the ground that surrounded the ten-inch thick steel doors. His cigarette burned down slowly between his fingers as he let his eyelids droop. All the silence; crickets chirping, light breeze in the trees, and the cows out in the neighboring field created a tranquil state that lulled him into a light doze. Troyevsky and Colonel Reed wouldn’t return this night. Once someone left during a shift, they were finished so he wasn’t worried about being caught sleeping on duty. Wilkins perfected the art of dozing while standing guard. It was how he spent most nights. This one was no different, until a loud banging from inside the steel doors jerked him to attention.
Muffled screams barely discernible through the ten inch thick steel mingled with the frantic pounding. “Open the door!” Muffled but discernable, the words reached his ears.
Wilkins cocked his M-14 and aimed at the doors. “Doctor Parker? Are you okay, sir?”
“Open the door, soldier! Open the door!” More pounding and the sound of scraping assaulted his ears.
Wilkins felt increasingly uneasy and panicked, but tried to remain calm. “Sir, you have to use your key, sir. I don’t have a key to open this door. I’m not authorized. Use your key and open the door slowly. I have my rifle aimed at the doors and won’t stand down until I’m assured you’re alright.”
Words gave way to unearthly screams. The sound of fists pounding on the inside of the door gave way to a hideous scraping like fingernails on metal. Then a loud bang that sounded like a body slamming into the right-hand door caused them both to shudder and actually shake the concrete jamb. Silence.
“Doctor Parker?” Sergeant Wilkins called. No answer. “Doc? Doc? Doc!” Wilkins felt a sick sense of horror. Something had happened to Doctor Parker and he couldn’t help him; couldn’t get inside the doors or leave his post to call for help. “Dammit!”
He paced back and forth never lowering his rifle from quick aim at the doors. There was more than an hour left until daylight and the arrival of his relief and the next shift of authorized personnel. He’d have to wait. He had no choice.
“Doc!” Wilkins kept calling for Parker until his voice went hoarse. Time crawled slowly by as he kept trying to elicit a response inside. Sweat trickled into his eyes and his heart raced. Finally, the horizon began to show the telltale signs of dawn and the rumble of a jeep moving closer alerted his ears. He didn’t know how long he’d been standing facing the doors, pointing his rifle, calling the doctor’s name, but it felt like an eternity.
Tech Sergeant John J. Haus pulled up roughly twelve feet from the incline that led down to the bunker. He left the keys in the ignition for Wilkins. The guards relayed the military vehicle back and forth from the base so as to keep the field clear and inconspicuous to anyone who drove by during the day. Between the overgrown brush and the entryway being built below ground level, the military presence on the land was undetectable. The only giveaway was the fencing surrounding the acreage that had signs stating Leased Property of the U.S. Government: Keep Out.
Haus grabbed his pack that contained his lunch and several canteens of water. It got hot out in the field and a man could sweat off his body weight in the middle of May in Texas. He slipped his arm through the strap of his M-14 and headed off down the ramp. He immediately noticed Wilkins standing with his back to him and his rifle aimed at the doors.
“Wilkins! What the hell are you doing?” Haus stopped, dropped his pack and swung his rifle into position aiming towards the sergeant and those double doors. His senses were on immediate alert.
“Sarge” a hoarse voice asked? Wilkins looked over his shoulder and the haunted look in his eyes set off alarm bells in Haus’s head.
“What happened, Trent? What’s going on?” Haus kept his voice calm, waiting.
“Doctor Parker. The doc, man. He was screaming and banging on the door. Kept shouting for me to open the door. I tried to tell him I don’t have a key, but he kept screaming at me.”
“Where’s the Colonel and Troyevsky?”
“They left earlier. Only the doc was inside.” Wilkins turned back towards the doors.
“Did he come out?” Haus continued to try and assess what happened.
“No. He just stopped screaming,”
“How long ago?”
“Dunno, Sarge; maybe an hour ago; maybe a little more.” Wilkins voice cracked.
Haus knew this was serious. He’d have to inform the Colonel right away. “Wilkins, stay on guard until I get back. I have to go back to base and get help. When the next shift comes, don’t let anyone in, you copy?”
Haus ran back and jumped into the jeep and sped like a bat out of hell back towards base.
EXPOSED: THE EDUCATION OF SARAH BROWN
The temperature dropped as soon as the sun went down. Anthony de Luca walked around downtown trying to capture the nightlife of the city on camera. The images would be part of an article he’d been contracted to write for an online tour guide about Berlin. He was being paid for the job, compensated for his hotel and expenditures, and they promised to promote his guide books. He was famous for unearthing the unusual about any city he photographed along with the normal tourist sites. With that in mind, he found himself on a side of town that wasn’t quite the best. Still, it was all part of Berlin.
For fun, he’d photographed a few street walkers trying to lure in some business. They were pretty bold, approaching cars as they slowed down to ogle the local ‘talent’.
As he aimed and clicked the shutter, he noticed a distinguished looking man walking quickly out of a back alley with a young blonde man behind him. The blonde was walking fast and shouting at the man in the cap. He was speaking in rapid German so Anthony had no idea what he was saying, but he seemed pretty pissed.
The blonde reached out and grabbed the gentleman’s arm and tugged. That was when Anthony noticed the cane in the older man’s other hand. That cane came around and connected with the blonde’s head. Hard.
Shocked, Anthony aimed his camera again, and began shooting picture after picture. The older man continued to strike the younger one on the head, back, shoulders, and legs just outside the alley. Head bleeding, the blonde raised his arms to fend off the blows while trying to hit back. He wasn’t strong enough for the older man.
Two men came running, one black and the other white with dark hair, and chased off the older man. Anthony kept shooting.
As he half-walked, half-ran away, the older gentleman looked around him. His eyes landed on the man across the street with the camera. The slightly panicked looked changed to one of dark anger.
“Shit!” Anthony turned and ran back towards the city center. He didn’t wait around to see whether the older man would follow him. He knew he was younger and could outrun him.
The man did try and follow, but Anthony was soon swallowed up into the crowd, gone. The man stopped to catch his breath.
He wasn’t worried that the blond hustler would report him to police for not paying for play. He hadn’t intended not to pay him, but discovered too late that he’d left his wallet in his room on the bedside table. No other way to deal with that situation since the deed was done, but someone else might report him to police. Someone else with an expensive camera who was not a prostitute trying to protect himself. Someone who was most likely legitimate. Someone who now had his image on film committing a crime.
He’d have to leave Germany sooner than he planned. He’d have to leave that night; leave before he could set up a meeting with Mistress Elsa. He sighed.
He hailed a taxi. A quick trip back to his hotel had him packed and off to Tegel within the hour. He had no time to spare. If the man with the camera had reported him to the Polizei, his image would be on an all-points bulletin shortly, and he’d be unable to get out of the country and back home. He’d find another way to gain what he most wanted.
Guess what I’ll be reading next? 😉