I have decided to make Awakened by Fireflies / Radio Free Diatria 99 cents, since I am going to be writing a sequel over the course of the next year. There are other elements of this past book that is becoming very realistic in this age, so it will be my main and only focus of promotion, though you can find my other books on the books tab.
This was my first real fiction focus and is one of my best books, I believe. It is told from the female perspective. While I am born a male and have that body, I have certain personality aspects (such as how I approach relationships, aversion to conflict, and many more) that makes me very feminine in many ways. So, writing this book I threw myself into the character and wrote her adventures and her romance in a very emotionally gripping and courageous way that I think all women can appreciate.
Below, I will provide several samples from the book. If you are interested, you can get it for 99 cents by clicking on the title, above, to either Smashwords for Awakened or Amazon for Radio Free. I hope you enjoy your read and look forward to her future endeavors.
Kate Meanders – daughter of two lunar scientists on the colony of Alphaz. Top of her engineering class, she has been elevated to work at the regional capital Diatria, where she has been working for a year.
Captain Richard Rowan – A playboy, project-manager at Kate’s location, responsible for the construction and repair of items tasked to Diatria, often too busy chasing women and partying to get anything done.
Mayor McKinsey – Longest running mayor in Diatria history, under whose reign economic success and glamour had abounded for his city.
Becca Lasiter – News Reporter at New Diatria Press, one of the leading newspapers in the region.
Rachael Meanders – Kate’s cousin living on Earth, away from the busy city of Diatria in Exliting Falls province.
Ben Jones – Rugged and grounded friend of Rachael’s with an inviting heart and surprising past.
“Becky, has Captain Rowan returned my call, yet?
“Not yet, Ms. Meanders.”
Kate scowled at this and muttered under her breath. This is one part of the job on which she WASN’T trained….how to get your clients to care about their own projects.
Captain Richard Rowan was in charge of the exploratory and research facility unit on Diatria. Among other things, it was tasked to come up with alternative power sources for the colonies. Their contract by the Global Community Force was “to empower production increases by increasing the quality of life of the colony inhabitants.” This was what drew Kate to apply for this position, recalling her own experience growing up in one of those communities.
“Well, see if you can get ahold of him, again.”
“Yes, Ms. Meanders,” Becky chimed.
Kate hated having to get onto Richard to get things done. She joined to be a professional, not a professional nag for someone like hounding a disobedient child. Richard was the same level of worker as she was. Indeed, he was OLDER than her. Shouldn’t he be the one mentoring her in her new relatively new job? However, in her first year since joining the Global force, the main thing she noticed was just how uninspired everyone was at doing their job.
“Hey beautiful,” came the husky voice of Michael, her canoodling buddy, as he put it once. They had been seeing each other for over a year, but he had the commitment phobia of a panicked squirrel. Every time she brought up getting more serious, he just changed the subject by way of physical pleasure. Who was going to say no to that?
Kate sighed loudly. “It’s the same thing, as always. God! I feel like I am a baby sitter around here. It’s like… someone is doing a favor to society to actually do their job.”
“You just need to relax. How about we go to that restaurant with the balcony, tonight? You can see the sunset. You know how much you love that. It would be very relaxing, especially with wine.”
“Mmm, you know how to sweet talk a girl. It’s a date.”
Hanging up, Kate didn’t know how she felt about the night. She liked the attention, and he always took her to the best spots. She did love sunsets. Of course the sun SET where she grew up, but, without atmosphere, it just wasn’t the same. On the other hand, it was becoming more and more clear that Michael was NEVER going to become her forever love, and she might be just wasting her time with him. But, wine is wine, and a sunset night might just take the edge off this day.
“Ok, Ms. Meanders. Mr. Rowan is on line 1.”
“Finally!” said Kate punching the button. She predicted in her mind exactly what she would hear.
“Have you ever just had one of those days, when everything is sunshine, Kate?”
Kate exhaled and rolled her eyes. “What is her name?”
“Elena…can you believe that? What a pretty and elegant name,” Richard continued in a dazed tone.
“Oh, you know her name, this time. I’m impressed.”
“Yes…I know her name,” he retorted. “We talked and talked for hours.”
“Oh, you only talked?”
Richard paused and laughed. “Well, we didn’t ONLY talk.”
“Well, while you have been talking and talking, my proposal is sitting on your desk.”
“Oh, that…yeah, I read that last night. We’re going to pass on it.”
Kate didn’t know which more frustrated her. Was it that he had not felt like she needed an answer to a proposal with a handwritten “CALL ME WHEN YOU READ THIS” at the top? Or was it that she had spent so long working on something Richard felt was less important than the name of his most recent weekend fling. And, now, she was just trying to NOT imagine them doing it ON TOP of that proposal. That tramp probably had the written words tattooed on her back, now.
“Why? The sensors are indicating a fault in that air filter. Those residents are living a half mile from a huge exhaust pipe, and that filter is their only protection from..”
“Kate. I admire your passion, but the money is just not there, especially if we are going to focus our resources on power.”
“Ok. So, when are we going to talk about that,” Kate pressed. “I’ve been working here for a year, and all I have done is training videos and maintenance projects. I got involved in this organization for the power projects.”
She could hear his frustrated sign on the line. “How about next Tuesday? Does that work? We will go over the options we have in the pipe.”
THANK YOU for WORKING, Kate thought. “Ok, sounds good,” she said, but she wasn’t sure if he heard that, before he hung up the phone.
FUN, she thought. What a great job.
From Chapter 5...
The night sky hung over the city like a thick fluffy blanket absorbing all the waste being pumped into the air, which was exactly what Kate wanted to prevent. However, Richard was too busy dating women that were as transparently simple as this problem SHOULD be to him.
On the way to the filter, she passed a man on the street with a face as wrinkled and rough as leather and coughing. With all the smoke wear on his body, it was hard to tell if he were 25 or 50 years old.
“Cough…hhhck,” Kate spattered, as she entered the pollution cloud as she neared the community filter. Much longer down here, and she would need to call in sick, herself. Why was it THIS bad? It should at least be…
Then, she noticed there WAS no filter, just an empty pipe leading out to where she saw the smoke rising just beyond the dirty glass wall.
“What the hell?”
Then, from behind her, she heard a rattle of a can on the ground as a woman in a trench coat stepped from the shadows, hand held recorder in hand.
“What the hell, indeed, Ms. Meanders,” said the woman, staring up at the same sight she had just seen.
“Who are you,” Kate pressed the new visitor to her surroundings.
“Becca Lasiter, New Diatria Press. I overheard you at the restaurant and decided to follow you. Can I assume you didn’t know about this environmental emergency?”
Oh, great…the press. New of the job, and she was already right in the middle of a public relations nightmare. Michael would be so proud…not.
“No. I didn’t, and I really don’t think that I should be talking about it, until I talk to some of my staff.”
“But, didn’t I overhear you saying that your staff had ALREADY been told about it, and they are unwilling to fix the issue?”
“No … I … I think you might have got some things wrong, and I will deny whatever you THINK you heard me say, until I have a chance to get some confirmations.”
With that, Becca clicked off her recorder and extended a card. “Very well…I anticipate your call, tonight, before I go forward with the story that what I HAVE heard would write.”
As the reporter walked away, Kate sighed deeply and glanced up at the missing filter.
Tom and Cecelia’s house was an old, turn of last century type house. The kind you expect to see on the cover of an old house restoration magazine…or haunted house brochure. Kate thought of the memories she had of times spent there. They were certainly wireless detached days, but they were days of exploration and self-discovery.
“Good MORNING,” chimed Cecelia, greeting Kate at the front steps of their home. She took Kate’s bags from her hands and started walking her to the door. “Tom is out in the back lot collecting firewood for the bond-fire, tonight. Your cousin Rachael is out back with a few of her friends catching up.”
As Kate walked in the door, she was taken back by the smell of cinnamon rolls cooking in the kitchen, and she loved the sound of her steps creaking on the boards of the old house, as she walked. It was as if the house, itself, was welcoming her back to it’s domain.
Rachael was 2 years older than Kate, and she shared the same pep that Kate did; only, she chose another way to exhibit it. If there was a peace child in this generation, she was it…her and her friends. She was in the arts, most of the time. However, behind her wavy, wind-swept hair and sunglasses was a very smart mind, and behind the peace symbol necklace a heart for change. Kate liked that about her.
“Hey, cuz. Long time, no see. How is time in the REAL world?”
“I’d REALLY not like to talk about it,” Kate said with a smile.
“Ha. I don’t blame you. Oh … I’ve got someone I’d like you to meet,” Rachael said, taking her hand and leading to her friends. Kate knew right away what was happening, because Rachael had a habit of trying to set someone up. This was undoubtedly someone she felt was ‘perfect’ for her, as she often said. “Kate, meet Ben.”
Kate’s walk forward slowed and stopped in front of a character straight out of the romance novels that she had in her room, having been freed from her parent’s watchful eyes. She wondered if it was the ray of sunshine on her making her feel so hot … or the ray of sexy standing in front of her. Ben was fit … not like the muscle bound hunks she would see around the college gym but in a confident kind of way, as the light cotton, laced up shirt held close to his body but left a little to her very naughty imagination.
“Well, hello,” Ben said taking her hand and kissing it in a very old fashioned kind of way. The heat Kate was feeling engulfed her body and igniting her soul, and she felt so weak in the knees that she thought she might fall over. “Rachael has said a lot about you.”
Kate glanced over at Rachael, who has laying against her boyfriend and smiling with a ‘you’re WELCOME’ look on her face.
“Oh? Good things, I hope.”
“VERY good things,” Ben said and smiled. Kate got lost in that smile, and she found herself dazed as she stared in his eyes. What was it she was doing, here? Who was she, again?
“Why don’t you guys go for a walk and talk for a bit. I still want to catch up with MY man,” Rachael said to the newly introduced couple in her mission outreach project for the romantically lost and alone.
With a quick thought to how alone she had been even when she was WITH Mr. I Spy On YOU in Diatria, a walk sounded like a very good idea.
Kate and Ben began their walk along the fence in the huge field behind her aunt and uncle’s house. The field stretched out for several football fields, overlooking a few ponds and the large round hay bails collected for the farm animals. The sun was just setting over the nearest pond, making it all the more magical of a trip.
“How did you know my grandmother,” Kate asked Ben, while watching the breeze blow whispers in the brown shoots that rose from the green grass as they began strolling down the fence line.
“Veronica? She was an amazing woman. I did a few odd jobs for her, here and there. I really admired her spirit.
Her grandmother definitely had spirit, but Kate had to wonder as she looked at Ben if she really needed the help or just liked LOOKING at the help. That would be more her grandmother’s style.
“Like what?” Kate inquired.
“Like … chopping firewood, gardening.. stuff like that.”
Kate smiled. She was DEFINITELY just liking looking at the help. Her grandmother didn’t need help with any of that, and Kate found herself distracted by thoughts of Ben with his shirt off chopping wood or bent over doing gardening. She was so hot she was sweating, and she knew this time it wasn’t the sun. Realizing she had not spoken in a few minutes, she shook it off to continue the conversation.
“So, what do you do,” Kate asked Ben facing him, giving her another chance to look in his eyes.
“I do a lot of things; but, if you are asking what I make money doing, that would be painting, mostly.”
“Oh, like art?” Kate began to assume that this was another artist, like her cousin, trying to make a living on it. She respected that, but it was quite a risk.
“Ha … no. I wish. I am not that great with a small brush. I paint mainly houses. That is how I met Rachael. A few years ago, I was painting her house, and she started hanging out with me and Geoff, my co-worker. She is dating him, and I am…well..”
“Date pimping material? Ha” Kate couldn’t exist.
Ben smiled and laughed. “I guess so. But, what about you? She only said that under all the seriousness, you were as passionate as she is.”
“Unfortunately, that is true” Kate said with a frown and a glance to the ground.
“What do you mean, ‘Unfortunately?’”
“Well, let’s just say not everyone likes it when I am passionate, especially when it rains on their parade. I thought working there would be a great way to make my mark and feel like I was making a difference. However, I’m finding no one is looking out for me but me, anymore.”
Ben looked away toward the sunset over the water, while opening a pecan he found on the ground as a snack.
“Well, sometimes you just have to make your own parade happen, if you know you deserve it ... wherever you have to go. Somewhere, there is someone that LIKES that kind of passion.”
Could Ben BE yummier, Kate wondered.
“Yeah, I guess so. I have been thinking of making a few changes, and somewhere knew with people that respect me might be just what I need.”
“Where would you go,” she heard Ben ask in a hopeful tone.
“I don’t know … maybe somewhere like this. I am really like what I see out here.”
Looking over at Ben, her insides lit up as he smiled to hear her say that
“Me too,” he said.
Kate was feeling so comfortable with this man. It was like she had known him forever, even though they had just met. She always felt that she was really good at sizing up people, and his eyes were so simple and compassionate and real. It was refreshing from all the Diatria drama, and it was all the things she had wish Michael to be but never was.
She wondered if it was it even right to expect someone else to become what she needed them to be, if that was not who they were? Maybe the fault had been partially hers for expecting anything else from Michael. They had spent years, together, and going out with him was as personal as putting on a piece of clothing that she could take off. Shouldn’t it be more meaningful than that? Shouldn’t she feel bad that it was over? Maybe, it had been over for a really long time.
Kate knew what she had to do, regardless of whether Michael was really a spy or just a distant man who only wanted romance if it got him into bed with her. It was time that that ended, especially if there were guys like this out there. Indeed, maybe it WAS time for her own parade.
“You know, when I was a kid, I liked to get up on the hay bails and jump from one to another,” Kate said with a smile as she looked at the bails lined up on the fence line.
“You don’t have to be a kid to do that,” Ben said, and he started running toward the nearest bail. As he climbed to the top, he motioned Kate to join him. “Come on. Be a kid, just for today.”
Kate couldn’t believe he was doing that, but maybe she just needed to forget being a ‘professional’ girl and just be a girl, playing on hay bails away from everything. After all, who would see her?
She ran toward the hay bail and climbed up to the top and shouted, “RACE TO THE END,” and began jumping from one to another, startled Ben turning and beginning to catch up.
“You’re good at this,” he said.
“I’m pretty good at everything.”
“And, pretty sexy, too,” she heard him say, distracting her and causing her to loose her footing and she fell face first into the hay.
Ben, who was right on her heals tumbled over her and landed next to her.
“Well, maybe not good at walking,” he said, and they both lay catching their breath and laughing.
“You’re fun,” Ben said. “I am really enjoying meeting you.”
Now, it was Kate’s turn to smile. “I am enjoying meeting you, too.”
I didn’t ask Rachael,” Ben started, staring deep and piercing into her eyes and raising her pulse. “I just assumed. Are you seeing anyone?”
“No, I am not seeing anyone.” Kate said after thinking. After waiting forever on Michael and seeing that picture in her mind of him meeting with the mayor, the nail was in the coffin of her long dead relationship.
Ben smiled, and Kate tore her gaze away from him, so as to not be completely obvious that she was getting a huge crush on this man she just met. Suddenly, over the field her gaze was met by the field come to life …. fireflies. She had forgotten about the fireflies. She stood on top of the bail and looked out over at the portrait forming in front of her.
As the sun’s last embers left the skyline, she saw the entire field awake with hundreds … or thousands … or little flashes. Suddenly, the ground was as pretty as the country sky, above, which was a clear picture of the Milky Way that you could only see away from the lights of the city. Above and below lights twinkled, as the warm breeze crossed her face, and Kate felt perfect peace.
In that moment, none of it mattered. Nothing mattered at her job, career, or even Michael. With all that quieted, she remembered that the point of living was to live. Standing in the field of serene beauty and calm tranquility, Kate felt home … not the home of being near family but the home of finding the balance of meeting yourself and knowing THAT is enough. The rest can be handled.
“Beautiful,” she heard Ben say. He must like all this, too. As she opened her eyes to look at him, he was not staring at the field but at her face. “Very beautiful.”
Hearing the crackle of the fire pit getting started, they climbed down to walk back to the house. Kate wondered if this was all real or if she had fallen asleep in the car on the way, since this was turning out better than her dreams generally do.
“So, what is it that you do that they don’t respect,” Ben said breaking her dream world.
“I’m an engineer,” Kate replied, somewhat defensively and looking at his reaction.
“Engineering … well, that’s exciting. What do you design?”
Kate was refreshed at someone that respected her career choice and that his response wasn’t, “Oh, they let women do that, now”…not that he struck her as the kind of guy that would be like that, but this was the country.
“I work on mostly electrical systems. I got into it up on the moon colony. There isn’t a whole lot to do there, but there are a lot of wires. So, for a kid that is alone, playing pretend, I found a lot that I could do to spice up those pretend times.”
“You’re really different from the girls around here.”
Oh, no, Kate thought. Here is where Mr. dreamy becomes Mr. judgy.
“Well, it’s not like I didn’t have my outfits and makeup and dollhouse, I just made them all cooler.”
Ben held up his hand with a surprised look in protest. “Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t saying it was a BAD thing that you were different. You sound like you are smart and followed your dreams. Around here, that is VERY different from the type of girls I see. Their dreams only extend to which boy to sleep with for a big house, babies, and spending cash.”
Kate couldn’t argue with him, there. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem equality for seeking careers had made it to the country life, and it was almost archaic how little girls were raised to be marrying women to have children, putting wives for a man little above the cows that they owned.
“Well, that’s true,” Kate smiled. “I couldn’t ever see myself being like that, just existing to be some guy’s eye candy and fulfill his dreams when I have dreams of my own.”
“What was it that they didn’t respect … at work”
“An air filter that was broken. It was missing, in fact.”
“Well, that’s not good, Ben retorted with a snort. “Aren’t they supposed to be responsible for the people they serve?”
“EXACTLY,” Kate was almost shouting and smiling that SOMEONE was getting her. She reflected on the fact that this new guy knew more about how she felt than anyone back at Diatria.
“Sorry to interrupt, you love birds,” Rachael said. Her dad had finished lighting the firewood he had brought from the woods, and she was walking around the fire handing out marshmallows to everyone for making smores. “Fire’s getting good n ready for treats.”
She handed them a few sticks and marshmallows. Kate and Ben got theirs ready and put them into the fire, where they erupted into flame.
Kate loved making smores. Not only was it so yummy eating the sugar and chocolate, but there was something about the sight of the marshmallow on fire. Then, the soft sugary marshmallow went from being a dandelion like ball of fire to a hidden gooey potion that could take anyone to a happy place.
“Here, let me,” Ben said pulling her marshmallow off her stick and putting it between the gram cracker and chocolate he had waiting. Then, he held it up so she could take a bite.
The flavors flowed through her body, beating even the most delicious piece of lobster back in Diatria, and Kate closed her eyes to absorb the full impact of this moment. When she opened her eyes, she found Ben staring with his ‘beautiful’ expression, again. Kate couldn’t hold back, anymore. Losing all strength of resistance, she closed her eyes and leaned forward into his kiss.
Amazing … just amazing. Kate was on heaven, and she knew that she would remember this night for the rest of her life.
However, the above chapters are just a taste of what is to come. Get the book to read about Kate's life threatening adventures going up against a corrupt leader, discovery of a secret underground resistance, and more. Get it, now, for 99 cents.