Archive for October 27th, 2011


I’m happy to announce that today (Thursday) I’m a guest over on writer Hart Johnson’s sassy blog, CONFESSIONS OF A WATERY TART.  Please check me out at this link, and while you’re at it say hello to the gloriously irreverent Hart.

http://waterytart23.blogspot.com/

Meanwhile, Amazon has STILL not posted the first chapter of The Compass Master on its page, and they have STILL not responded to my queries about it (“We will reply to your email within 12 hours.”  Liars).  So or your entertainment I’m posting here the first part of the first chapter.

Have a wonderful day.

Chapter 1

The guards appeared like dark threats in the empty landscape. There were five of them, and all were slouching in boredom and fiddling with their Kalashnikovs, and none wore distinguishing uniforms but instead the kind of black leather jackets favored by Serbian tough guys. They were blocking a road that split off from the two-lane highway and led around a hill to an unseen Serbian town—an enemy’s legally separate enclave in predominantly Muslim-Croat Bosnia. It didn’t matter that the war had been over for years. Because bad memories never die, the men stood armed and ready in the mid­dle of nowhere.

Layla Daltry knew they might give her trouble. Might force her to stop by stringing themselves across the road. Might swagger over to her slowing car and shove the barrels of their guns up against its windows, and shout at her in a language she didn’t understand. She was driving on the Bosnian side of the border, but hers was the only car on the highway. No one else was around to prevent the guards from doing whatever they wanted.

There was only one thing she could do to escape them. She slammed her foot on the gas pedal, which made the little rented Yugo give a heave and a jerk. Lord, how she hated Yugos! Worst gears in the world. But in seconds the car was ripping down the asphalt like a screaming demon. The guards turned in her direction and one held up his hand and another his gun. That was when she performed her oldie but goodie, dazzle ‘em with fun and sex. She tossed her head so that her hair fell playfully across one eye, teasingly unbuttoned her shirt halfway down, and flashed a crooked, naughty smile. The guards gawked in surprise. Before they could move her car zipped past them. In the rearview mirror she saw them laughing and waving at her while one hooted a catcall.

“Talk about being dangerously bored,” Layla whispered. At least those men were the last trap she had to negotiate—she hoped.

Long minutes dragged by before traffic appeared on the road ahead. Like an animal seeking shelter in a herd, she steered into the thick of it until her nondescript car became invisible amid the sleek Mercedes, old junk heaps, and smoking trucks. A few miles later she murmured, “It’s just around the corner.” She took the last long curve of asphalt with reckless speed and didn’t slow down even when she saw it: her sanctuary, Sarajevo…