MJ Monday: MJ’s Mansuscript: Service for Sanctuary Bk 1


Yes, I have a new book coming out in June. I don’t have an exact date yet, but when I do, I will be sharing it with my newsletter subscribers, then on social media.

The book is the fourth set in my Toke Lobo & the Pack universe and the first in trilogy called SERVICE FOR SANCTUARY.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Prologue

“They’re breaking the treaty.”

Ethan Calhoun stopped twirling his tone bar between his fingers and clutched the cold steel in his palm. So, a governmental dilemma prompted Tokarz, pack alpha, to summon the pack to the Full Moon Lodge. Ethan had hoped Tokarz was going to announce a new tour for Toke Lobo and the Pack. The band hadn’t been on the road in months.

“What?” someone asked.

“The United States government wants to break the treaty with us.”

Ethan tightened his grip on the tone bar. Mitchell Jasper, the pack’s government liaison, slunk into the room with Tokarz. Ethan figured something bad was coming. The man looked . . . terrified.

“Washington no longer wants to offer sanctuary in return for our service,” Tokarz clarified, in case any werewolf in the room didn’t understand the implications of a broken treaty. As if the threat to their existence was a concept too complicated to be stated only once.

Or maybe shock made everyone slower than usual.

Ethan didn’t have the words to describe the sensation of melting from the inside out. Granted, he wasn’t descended from one of the original French families comprising most of the Loup Garou pack. The treaty cut with Thomas Jefferson wasn’t sacred to him as it was to the others. He was ignorant of his own family’s treaty. His grandfather remained mute about the pack he’d abandoned. Although Loup Garou had accepted the Calhoun family, Ethan was always aware he was an outsider.

“We need your help.” Jasper cleared his throat before he spoke. The words still emerged weak and diluted. It was a miracle the man didn’t piss himself.

“Why should we help you?” Tokarz asked.

“Most people don’t want the treaties abandoned.”

“Most people aren’t aware there are treaties,” Tokarz said in a voice so cold, Ethan expected the windows to frost over.

Why didn’t Tokarz ask Jasper to define we? Who wanted the pack’s help?

“Look.” Jasper channeled some testosterone from somewhere. “I know it’s a bad idea to break the treaties. I know how valuable having a . . . secret weapon of . . . your nature . . . is to the security of our country. I’m a patriot, and I am not going to let ignorance and short-sightedness destroy something costing the government nothing and still works.”

Tokarz smirked. “So. You want us to be a secret secret weapon?”

The phrase sounded ridiculous. Tokarz watched too many old movies.

Jasper cleared his throat again. “My department isn’t the only one trying to work around the new administration’s dictates. While I am in Loup Garou to officially tell you the treaties will be rescinded, I am also here, personally, to tell you our country has never needed you more.”

The man deserved points. He played the room perfectly. Every werewolf present, including Ethan, was deeply patriotic.

“Not to say there isn’t an element who would like to see you . . . your species eliminated.”

“Say what you mean,” Tokarz said. “Don’t use fifty-dollar words when nickel ones will do. Dead. Some folks want us dead.”

Only if a guy observed Jasper closely, as Ethan did, would he see the slight inclination of his head.

“We need to remind some members of congress who are privy to the agreements precisely what they know and why the treaties matter.”

“You mean threaten them.” Tokarz glowered.

“The treaties have served our nation for two centuries. Some influential people need to be reminded.”

“And on whose behalf would we be reminding them?” Tokarz asked the first question Ethan would have asked in his place.

“Your own.” Jasper lifted his chin, as if daring Tokarz to contradict him.

“Go on,” Tokarz said after several moments of a staring match. Jasper did not blink.

“I have a list of names. Men who have availed themselves of the special services guaranteed by the treaties, and who are currently in positions of power to help—maybe force—the preservation of the treaties.”

Maybe Ethan’s imagination spoke, but Jasper sounded stronger. Surer of himself.

“And how do you suggest we remind these people they owe us sanctuary?”

As Jasper laid out his plan—and his idea didn’t sound like much of a plan—Ethan’s gut churned. He was surprised he hadn’t snapped the tone bar he always carried in his front pocket. His fingers worked the steel hard enough.

Jasper’s so-called plan involved sending emissaries to meet with the politicians who had availed themselves of lycan services in the past. Ethan wasn’t clear on what the emissaries were supposed to do; every instinct he possessed shrieked Tokarz planned to send him. He’d worked on a couple missions the band had been involved in and was one of the few band members who was not yet mated. Mated males needed to stay put and protect their females.

After the meeting broke up, Tokarz asked Ethan to stay. The request prompted Ethan’s father and grandfather to also remain.

“My grandson is the sole survivor of my line,” Pa told their alpha.

“When my grandfather accepted you into the Loup Garou pack, you—”

“My agreement with the Loup Garou hasn’t changed,” Pa said.

Ethan exchanged a glance with his father, who didn’t seem any more in the know than Ethan was. Pa nursed his secrets; his family respected Pa’s reticence.

“My agreement hasn’t changed,” Pa repeated. “The treaty your ancestors signed with the government has nothing to do with me or mine.”

“My grandfather’s conditions for accepting you included honoring our ways. The treaty is a part of this pack’s heritage.”

“Has Ethan not participated in missions as required? The time you met your mate? The time a crazy man in Idaho threatened to overthrow the government? Ethan has fulfilled his generation’s obligation to your family.”

“I don’t have a choice.”

“You do. You’re alpha. You could send anyone.”

“You’re right. I’m alpha, and I’ve made my decision.”

***

A lopsided silver moon transformed the random snowflakes drifting around Ethan from white to glitter as he made his way home. His breath, puffing into the frigid winter night, sparkled where moonbeams brushed the warmer air.

The streets were empty despite lycans preferring the night. Everyone must have been celebrating they weren’t being sent on a fool’s errand.

The moon appeared lonely, as if she needed a song or two. Ethan considered obliging her.

Except he didn’t feel much like singing at the moon or into a microphone or even in the shower. He was unmated; naturally Tokarz volunteered him for a mission. The mated guys got to stay home with their females, while the single males were obligated to treaty fulfillment.

Even without a treaty.

Even if a lobo’s family wasn’t included in the treaty.

Even if the lobo wasn’t part of the pack.

 

MJ’s Musings: A Thing I Don’t Get

There are many things in life I do not understand. Movies on a first date. Cars that are more elaborate than homes. I’m not saying those things are wrong. I simply don’t understand them.

Here’s another: you walk/run 10 miles a day, pride yourself on your physical fitness…and need an electric can opener to open your can of garbanzo beans. What?

And riffing off that, I don’t understand electric can openers. Why?

MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Dylan Says It Best

Welcome to the debut of MJ’s Music, which will be posted the third Monday of every month as part of MJ Monday. I will be sharing my somewhat eclectic taste in music with you.

My favorite artist is Bob Dylan. He has always been my favorite and probably always will be. I joke around that I married my husband for his bootleg collection of Dylan music.  When we started dating, my husband asked me who my favorite artist was and my favorite album. When I said, “Dylan, Blood on the Tracks,” TV Stevie’s face lit up. Blood on the Tracks is usually in the top ten of anyone’s compilation of Best Albums of All Time.

Dylan is an artist people either love or hate. He is a lyrical genius, as far as I’m concerned. And if you’re like me, and love to crank the music and belt along with it, you never have to worry about being on key.

Since the age of making our own music mixes, I have a custom one I call Dylan Says It Best. It’s angry music, with sometimes  vicious lyrics. There are days when a person needs to vent, and this mix is my venting sound track.

  • “I Shall Be Released”
  • “All Along the Watchtower”
  • “Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)”
  • “Like a Rolling Stone”
  • “Positively Fourth Street”
  • “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”
  • “Watching the River Flow”
  • “When I Paint My Masterpiece”
  • “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
  • “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
  • “Shelter From the Storm”
  • “Idiot Wind”

Do you have mood music?

MJ’s Musings: Book Bingo: TBR Pile-WICKED GAMES

My local RWA chapter is once again running a Book Bingo challenge. This year’s Bingo board is 96% different than last year’s challenge. The only square that has not changed is the center square: Written by a CNYRW member. I think this year’s contest is going to be more challenging for me than last year’s was.

However, the first square I completed was YOUR TBR PILE (this included your Kindle version of the TBR pile).  I chose WICKED GAMES by Jessica Clare.

The novel is heavily based on the TV program SURVIVOR. I’m sure there are aspects of other reality shows mixed into the concept, particularly the “romance”-based ones.  I was surprised I liked the book as much as I did, having never watched television of this genre. Well-written and fast-paced, the story could have bogged down describing the challenges. It didn’t. Yes, important parts of the plot were predictable, but the book was still a fun read.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-Snow Cake

Welcome to the debut of MJ’s Movies, where once a month–the second Monday–I’ll talk about a motion picture.

I tend to like quirky, off-beat movies. A friend recommended SNOW CAKEa 2006 independent release starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver.

This movie should be better known than it is.

Weaver plays a high-functioning autistic woman and Rickman plays a man who “accidentally” comes into her life for a brief moment.  Wikipedia calls the movie a romantic comedy, while IMDb classifies it as a drama.  Amazon.com says:

Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver form the quintessential indie-film odd couple in this intimately observed drama that makes a memorable detour from the usual high-concept, special effects-laden studio fare.”

So, so true. Parts are funny; parts are sad; it’s all compelling.

I was lucky because my library has a DVD available.

This movie should have gotten more attention than it received, if for no other reasons than Rickman and Weaver.

If you’re able to get your hands on a copy, grab and watch it. You shouldn’t be disappointed.