One Four All, by Julia Rachel Barrett (That’s me!)

jrb-ofa3So I got the cutest review over on Amazon for One Four All – which matters because you know I only have three, wait, let me repeat that, three reviews in total. So one more review is a 33.33% improvement over what I had previously. Right? Am I right? You know I’m right!

I can’t post the entire review because all reviews belong to the reviewer. You can read it here– One Four All — but I can quote it:

I really enjoyed how Julia brought all the characters to life. Sometimes in menage stories the men all sort of blur together but here Kepp, Red and Wat are all very distinct individuals who had never even considered sharing a woman together. And what a woman they meet. Lira is a strong character who embodies what a princess should be and while you know she will win over her men, because it is a romance story after all…

I would definitely be willing to read a continuation of this story with these characters going forth from the end of this book and dealing with all the trials of a royal marriage where the woman is the royal heir. I’m sure it would be a very good read based on this part of the story.
*hint to Julia*

Dear lovely reviewer- Hint taken.

Finding Noodleman. The Real Story Behind My SFR, Captured.

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Mari never expects to find herself caged in a cargo hold on a spaceship. She quickly learns from her captors she’s headed to the meat market. When they try to return her to hypersleep, she resists. After allowing her to stay awake, Mari realizes her survival depends on connecting with the male in charge, Ekkatt. She must make him see her as a sentient being or she will end up as dinner. Ekkatt has never spoken to any human. They are valued for one thing, the money they bring at auction. The Attun race is vegetarian, but other species prize human flesh and bring in good money. Then the female with red hair speaks to him and forces him to admit she has a name. Mari throws Ekkatt’s entire life into question, the biggest question…can he watch her sold to the highest bidder?

The short version – Back in 2007 I dreamed a dream, the entire story of Captured. Wrote it down in two weeks and eventually found a publisher- a not-so-small E-Press, Siren-Bookstrand. I was shocked they were willing to take a chance on such a strange story. Doesn’t fit the straight science fiction category nor is it straight up romance. It is SFR- Science Fiction Romance. And the work is short, more of a novella. The book begins where my dream began and ends where my dream ended. I’ve added nothing more. In all honesty I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. It’s simple, straightforward, and the love story is beautiful.

The long version – I graduated a year early from high school, took what I had in savings and headed to Israel for a year long Hebrew intensive (Ulpan) on a kibbutz. It took some wrangling on my part, but after a number of weeks I was assigned work in the chicken ranch– the l’ul. It’s what I wanted.

It took some wrangling on my part because when I arrived in Israel I was suffering from a pretty bad eating disorder. I weighed 84 pounds and I stood 5 feet 6 inches tall.

The first thing the Ulpan coordinator did was take me to the doctor. The doctor said, and I quote, (I already knew some Hebrew), “I haven’t seen anything this bad since the refugees arrived from the concentration camps.”

The coordinator, Gerti, couldn’t conceive of an eating disorder. However, genius that she was, she determined to alter my behavior. Her tactic? I was given one job and one job only, aside from learning Hebrew. I raked rocks out from under a particular bush and then I raked them back under that same bush for four hours every single day except Saturday, Shabbat. I was told I would do this until I gained 15 pounds at which point in time, as in once I’d gained 15 pounds, I could work in the l’ul.

Let me tell you, relieved of the stress I’d lived with at home, bored to tears with raking rocks while everyone else was assigned meaningful work, and knowing full well that l’ul job dangled in front of my nose like a carrot, I gained 15 pounds in 6 weeks. (By the time I left Israel I weighed 115.)

Now just like work in the refet (the dairy) work went on in the l’ul seven days a week. Yes, even on Shabbat there were eggs to collect and chickens to be cared for. However every Shabbat the staff was pared down to two people and we rotated weekends so each of us was responsible for one Saturday a month.

I loved Noodleman. He was my very favorite co-worker. He was eighty-seven years old. His family had joined the kibbutz movement early and left Europe long before WWII. He was one of the founding members of this kibbutz. He reminded me of my grandfather – always kind, gentle, teasing, smiling. How I looked forward to working with Noodleman! We quickly became each other’s pet.

So he and I were assigned a Shabbat shift. This meant waking at 4:30 a.m. and beginning egg collection by 5. The kibbutz had somewhere between twelve and sixteen chicken houses. Some of the houses were immense, some slightly smaller than immense. The chickens were grouped by age. The older chickens were more productive, the younger chickens less so. At that time the chickens had free range of their chicken houses. They could go where they pleased.

My job entailed egg collection from the rows of nest boxes- my collection baskets either on a pull cart or held in my arms – cleaning the auto-fill water bowls and the automatic feeders in addition to filling the feeders. I also kept an eye out for sick and injured chickens. If an illness or injury was bad enough I carried the chicken to the infirmary coop. From time to time we provided mass vaccinations, which could get pretty crazy. And I always had to be alert for attack roosters. The young ‘uns could get a little aggressive, as in– I haz talons and I knows how to use ‘em, sista. Many’s the time a rooster landed on my head and dug his claws into my scalp.

But on Shabbat it was mostly about getting the eggs collected and making sure there was fresh food and water in every chicken house. Then we’d sort the eggs, disinfect the shells, and put them in storage for the next day. Most of the eggs would be sent to incubators to produce more chickens. Some were set aside for the kibbutz kitchen.

So on this particular Shabbat, here’s what happened.

I overslept.

I woke up at 7:30.

I looked at the clock. Let out a shriek and flew out of bed, grabbed my clothes and sprinted to the l’ul. I’d let Noodleman, an eighty-seven year old man, down. How could I be so irresponsible? I’d really screwed up.

I saw Noodleman as I arrived. He was just finishing up with his first house. He waved, I waved back. I grabbed my cart and decided to start collecting at the opposite end. I figured we’d meet up somewhere in the middle.

And then something strange happened. I entered the closest chicken house. I remember it was one of the newer structures and it contained younger chickens. I collected the first two rows… To this day I remember the chickens in those first two rows.

And that’s the last thing I remember.

Until I found myself standing outside a house at the opposite end– the second house, the chicken house I’d seen Noodleman preparing to enter as I arrived. He was shaking me.

I looked around. Every single cart was filled with eggs. I had no idea how they’d gotten filled with eggs or how I ended up outside the house where Noodleman had been collecting.

In less than an hour I had managed to collect eggs from maybe twelve houses and feed and water the chickens and I had no memory of how I’d done it. No recollection whatsoever. Not even a recollection of daydreaming or spacing out. All I could recollect then and now is the panic of realizing I had lost an hour of my life.

That period of time was then, and is now, a complete and total blank.

An hour of my life. Vanished.

I’d managed to do the impossible yet I didn’t know how I’d done it or even if I’d done it.

Noodleman and I went from house to house and yes, I’d completed the work in every other house in the time it had taken him to do one.

He and I stared at each other. We couldn’t believe it. Seriously. Neither of us could believe it. We grabbed hands, both shivering. What I’d done could not be done by one person in that amount of time. It was utterly impossible. But neither of us had an explanation.

Noodleman told everyone. He couldn’t stop talking about it. The event became known around the kibbutz as the Miracle of the Chickens.

Every once in a while I think about that hour and I wonder what really happened. I’d go to hypnotherapy and try to find out but to be honest I’m not entirely sure I want to know.

So… to dream Captured was, well, to say the least an interesting experience.

I’m quite fond of every book I’ve written, every story I’ve told. But of all Captured is the most dear. If I were you, I’d read it. It’s available for most devices. I’ll give you the Amazon Kindle link here.

I’m very much looking forward to next year when the rights to the story will be returned to me.

 

I feel like Sally Field – Somebody ‘gets’ me.

The reviewer got the story. She really really got it.

Head over to Amazon and read the most recent review for Captured, my Science Fiction Romance and, frankly, my favorite work. I can’t quote the review here, that’s against Amazon’s policy. But I’m telling you, this reviewer grokked the story. Made me fuckin’ cry.

Link:  Captured

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Freebie – Daughters of Persephone, Book Four, The Red Demon.

I seem to be running a day behind.  Sigh…

The Red Demon is FREE on Amazon.  See here!

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There is a reason Tem is called the Red Demon. She does what she wants when she wants. No one controls her. Time and space do not hinder her. Worshipped on ancient Earth as a goddess among many people in many different lands, nobody opposes her, except her creations, Issa Bokinan and Kane Tirol.
Having left her own daughters behind on Earth as seed stock for future generations, Tem had hoped to make a life with Kane. That is not to be. Rejected, alone and broken, she seeks comfort in the past with the Empress Ya, on Persephone, promising to behave and keep her identity a secret. Tem is hard pressed to control her worst impulses when she’s caught riding the Empress’ prize stallion. 
Horse Master, Aytan Kirrae, cannot believe his eyes. A small Red Woman has just ridden off on the stallion named for him, a horse bred for the Empress Ya. He waits for her return, flipping her over his knee, meting out what he thinks will be a kinder punishment than she would receive from the Magistrate. He has no idea the small Red Woman can kill him with a single drop of her blood.
Pulled along to the future against his will, Aytan thinks he’s dreaming, until he must share the Blood Bond with Tem to save her life. Once he does, his own life will never be the same.

An excerpt:

She’d been wise to return to Persephone. The Empress spoke the truth. Tem did need to find a place for herself, and perhaps once she did a life would follow.

“I need to settle upon one man and one time, the same as Aja and Ennat, and even Issa,” she murmured.

The anger she’d felt at Issa’s abandonment had dissipated. She no longer pined after Kane. Again, the Empress had been correct. Tem had always admired the older woman’s wisdom, now more than ever.

Kane Tirol was Issa’s true mate, Blood of her Blood. There was no sense in pretending otherwise.

Tem tossed her hair back and laughed out loud at the irony, the sound of her laughter echoing back from a nearby grove of trees. She’d been obsessed with men and women who didn’t even exist yet. Tem always thought of them as alive and well, and inhabiting the same moment in time she did.

“Well, when you can walk through time as you walk down a lane, it makes no difference.”

Tem threaded her hands through the grass, running her fingers along the stems, stripping them of their rough ripe seeds. She gazed down at the blond nuggets. The grass seeds reminded her of the rich gold-yellow hair of the people of Calen, descendants of the men and women who would settle that planet in another hundred years or so.

Lifting her palm to catch the wind, Tem watched the seeds drift away.

I am like the seed heads. I have nowhere to go, nowhere to be, no bloodline to manipulate, no human race to save.

She unbuckled her belt and tossed both the belt and her knife in its leather sheath onto a nearby rock. The horses always shied at the faint scent of blood on her knife so she had to discard it.

She stepped into the middle of the meadow and waited.

Tem felt vibrations through the soles of her bare feet and her smile widened. This was what she’d hoped for. Blood pounded in her ears.

She knew the stallion and his mares would remember her. She’d decided she would learn to ride on her own and she’d found her way to the Empress’s grand herd shortly after her arrival on the planet, but she hadn’t found the time to ride in ages.

The vibrations beneath Tem’s feet became thunder; the thunder gave way to a great roar. The ground shook beneath the force of their hooves. A thick cloud of dust moved in her direction and within seconds, she spied the mass of sleek, smooth, muscular bodies bearing down on her.

The Kirrae.

“Yes,” Tem whispered. She stood still, entranced by the sight of so much power.

Tem stepped in front of the great herd and closed her eyes. Relying upon her inner sight, she spread her arms. As the herd drew close, Tem stretched out her hands and the animals parted. The horses wove their way around her like water flowing around a boulder in the middle of a riverbed.

Tem dug her toes into the grass and forced herself to remain upright. The strength of the herd transported her, lifting her out of her body, sending her soul soaring up to her own private Nirvana.

She sensed the herd had passed her by, but now they began to circle back, cautious. Humans rarely approached them, let alone called them.

Hearing the stomp of his heavy hoofed foot, Tem smiled and opened her eyes. He nosed her outstretched hand.

The magnificent dappled gray stallion remembered her.

“What in the seven hells are you doing, woman? You’ll get yourself trampled to death.”

Tem turned around to look at the man striding towards her from the riverbank. She garnered his name in a single glance, Aytan Kirrae. Still smiling, Tem returned her attention to the horse. “I think not. He’s gentle as a kitten.”

To prove her point, she ran a hand along the stallion’s velvet nose. “Birat,” she said. “He’s called Birat.”

The man snorted. “The stallion has no name and you have trespassed into the Royal Grasslands. I’ll escort you back to the palace grounds. I’m sure you’ve left much work behind in the kitchens or the laundry. This is no place for the likes of you. Come.” He thrust an impatient hand in her direction.

Tem swallowed the obscenity on her tongue. It wouldn’t do to let the idiot know he’d managed to rile her. Instead she concentrated on the feel of the stallion’s breath, hot against her hair. The horse pawed the ground. Perhaps she should encourage him to kick the man.

“I’ll return to the palace later,” Tem said. She twisted her hands in the horse’s thick, white mane and vaulted onto his back. Squeezing her legs into the stallion’s flanks, horse and rider dashed off through the waving grass. Without hesitation, the mares followed.

“Godsdamn it, woman,” Kirrae shouted after her.

Tem dared a glance back. If looks could kill, she would be very dead. Kirrae appeared furious, but at least he had the good sense to stay put. He’d bred this stallion and he knew as well as she did he’d never catch her.

Tem made sure he caught sight of her grin before she turned away. She had all afternoon and she could play hide and seek with the best of them.

Wicked Wednesday – A Space Opera!

It’s a damn good thing I have a bunch of books out there because I’m getting NO work done.  I am, however, getting sick again which pisses the hell outta me.

On the bright side, the second volume of my Space Opera, Daughters Of Persephone– Exile – is free on Amazon for the rest of the week.  See here.

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A wicked excerpt:

Ennat reached over and closed Karna’s open mouth.

“By a gack’s shit, is that how all you women fly?”

“Of course.” Ennat grinned at him. “You’ve never flown with a Woman of the Blood. You must try it.”

“I’ve heard stories of my gran, but I didn’t believe them. I thought my father was simply telling tales.”

“Your gran?” Ennat’s eyes opened wide. “That was what Kyr meant? She was a pilot?”

“Yes. She flew the route between Calen and Matsu.”

Ennat closed her eyes. “How did I miss it?”

“Miss what?”

“Your smell. I should have smelled it. You are of the Blood. Why didn’t I know this?”

Karna laughed. “I should hope I don’t smell like you. You smell far too pretty.”

“Karna, I’m not teasing. Only a Woman of the Blood can fly between Calen and Matsu through the Tionay Nebula. That’s the route she took, isn’t it?”

“So says my da.”

“Let’s test it,” said Ennat. She reached for Karna’s hand. “Fly with me and we’ll see if you’re of the Blood. Let’s take the Glory to the repair station. I’ll pilot.”

“You’ll pilot?”

“Of course. You saw Aja take off in that tiny craft. You watched her flash right above our heads. Exactly who do you think trained with whom? Your brother seems to have no problem with her, with the way we fly.”

Karna considered her words for a moment. He wasn’t so certain his stomach would hold up under those turns. He had no desire to appear less than a man in front of his woman. Davi Fedd had described at length how sick he’d been with Aja at the controls.

“All right, just let me settle—”

“It’s all settled, they’re all settled. They’ll be leaving to gather their troops. Arms shipments won’t arrive until tomorrow. Let’s have a bit of fun together.”

Karna raised an eyebrow. “What we do in my bunk isn’t enough fun for you?”

Ennat laughed. “Oh yes, that is most very fun. But I haven’t flown in weeks and I love it. It’s so thrilling, so exhilarating. Please? Please, Karna, fly with me.”

“Now you sound like a woman begging for a new gown.”

“Hah. As if a gown matters to me. I’d rather be dressed like you. Your weave is far more comfortable than this clothing. I hate formal garb. I find it so restrictive.”

Karna dragged her against him. “Restrictive? I like the way it restricts certain parts of your anatomy. But I must say, I didn’t notice you putting on any undergarments. All I need do is lift up that skirt…”

“Stop trying to distract me.”

“But it’s working, isn’t it?”

Karna stared at her exposed cleavage. He watched as Ennat’s breathing became ragged and she shoved her breasts forward, giving him a more pronounced view.

He led her to his quarters wondering what is this thing that happens between a man and a woman of the Blood? This overwhelming desire, this lust that seems to increase even more once you’ve shared the Blood?

All Karna had to do was look at Ennat in a certain way and he knew he could make her tremble with desire for him. He was certain this warrior woman had never felt this kind of weakness in all her born days. Despite his own weakness where she was concerned, he’d never felt more of a man.

When they reached his cabin, Karna kicked the door shut behind them. His nostrils flared with raw desire.

“I can smell your heat,” he said, blunt as ever. “Gods, it smells like you’re on fire for me.”

Ennat didn’t protest when his big hands lifted her skirt and his palms slid upward along the inside of her thighs. Ennat sagged in his arms.

“Stand up, woman. Don’t you dare fall.”

Ennat began to whimper, and Karna knew he had her. She was trapped by her own desire for him exactly as he’d been caught by her the moment he’d seen her, sword raised, drenched in sweat, eyes on fire when she challenged him to fight her.

“You may be able to best me with a sword or a knife, you may be the better pilot, but woman, you belong to me. Never forget it. And remember…” He laid his lips against her ear. “Always leave off the undergarments.”

“Bloody male chauvinist.”

“Yes I am.” Karna was unrepentant. “And that’s why you love me. You may be able to slice me six ways to Solsday on the battlefield, but…” He pressed his erection against her. “Only I can do this to you.”