Friday, March 11, 2016

Fact From Fiction: Bird Island

Uncovering the truths in the story telling

Bird Island?

Rising Sun, Half Moon, Rock Stars

Jules wadded her paper and swallowed her last bite whole as they started over the long causeway connecting the mainland to the particular beach their house occupied.

“See, if you look in the water up here, you’ll see a little bitty island, just big enough to stand on. In fact, my dad took us out there once on a friend’s boat and let us stand on it—” Her excited patter tapered off as she searched the emerald green water below them.

“I don’t see it. Am I supposed to see it yet?” Beside her, Matt peered over her shoulder into the choppy water.

“Yes, it’s right… should be right there…” She scanned again and again. “Marc, do you see Bird Island?

Bird Island’s disappearance was not the only change.

Entire buildings were gone as if they had never existed. Almost all of the houses she remembered were gone, a few of them replaced by skeletal structures that would eventually be new homes.

Jules had known about Hurricane Eloise in September, having watched its progress while in a few different hotel rooms. She’d never seen a newscast or newspaper with a picture of the damage. Her father had later told her, many homes were affected, but theirs had withstood the wind and the surge.

Affected, her father had said. Not gone.

Silently, she exited the car when Marc came to a stop at the underside of the pier-and-beam structure house, out of the sun. Through the years, this area had gone from being a carport, to a screened-in porch, and apparently, with no sign of the screen now, back to a carport.

Taking as many of the brown bags as she could carry, she eyed the lighter wood at the lower half of the beams while Marc pointed out what she was seeing would have been the water level during the storm surge. The line was above her head.

What is this Bird Island mentioned in Half Moon?

The True History of Bird Island

above picture from

Crab Island is an underwater Island located on the bay side of the Destin bridge. It’s a world favorite "beach" to countless tourists and locals. Because the currents are too strong to walk or swim to it from the coast, it’s only accessible by wave runners or boats. It is waist deep to most adults. Adding to the fun is an inflatable slide and several floating food venders. But this party destination and place of family fun has an interesting history.

Viewable from the bridge from Destin to Fort Walton and known as “Bird Island” through the seventies, it was a miniature sandy island big enough for only about 50 seagulls to stand on, thus earning its name. In 1974 Hurricane Eloise flattened beach houses, eroded the beach on the mainland, and washed Bird Island underwater permanently.

The name is said to have changed from Bird to Crab Island by children on a school bus crossing the bridge each day. “There’s Bird Island,” they exclaimed prior to the hurricane. And after the hurricane, the same exclamation met retorts of “There's no birds! It's 'Crab Island” now." Eventually, the name stuck.

Over the decades, Crab Island grew larger with the passing tides, hurricanes and storms, but it never again peeked above sea level. Boaters and wave runners found it to be a beautiful shallow place to anchor and swim in this ‘waist-deep swimming pool.’

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Decade Differences: Love Makers and Breakers

In Rising Sun, Half Moon, Rock Stars the setting is the 70's. When researching this decade, I was amazed at how much technology has changed in a short time. I know I've done these posts before, but thought I'd begin adding them in again--the throwback to that era.

Tonight is about phones.

"She missed Matt, and there were times when she would've called him had a telephone been as close as the tips of her fingers." 

In Chapter 10 of Half Moon, Jules is on a trip with her mother drinking away relationship worries and rethinking her relationship with Matt. If cell phones had been around then, would this chapter have ended differently?

Hmm, I'm thinking a resounding yes!

Chapter 10 of Rising Sun falls during a year when rotary dial phones were being phased slowly by households into push button, and presumably, more quickly into businesses.

Excerpt from this chapter:

“Think I will get this.” Jules fingered a shiny orange, sleeveless top picturing it under her black jacket. Holding it up to her chest, she swung around to the mirrored column.
Starla let out her signature squeal of approval. “Makes your hair pop.”
And, hopefully, Matt’s eyes pop. Jules smiled at the secret thought. They were just friends, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to look good for him.
They left the store after Jules actually paid for her shirt. Star drove Jules to her therapy appointment and then sat in the waiting area, thumbing through a magazine until Jules was done. Since they had been fifteen minutes late, it was only a forty-five minute ordeal.
The therapist, upon hearing Jules’ parents were back in town, was interested in the so far elusive appointment with them as a family unit. Jules let her know that realistically, it would most likely never happen.
“Why don’t I just give them a call now, since they are both home, you said?” Nodding, Jules picked at the color on her fingernails, listening with interest to the soft bleep of each digit as her home number punched into the sleek phone with buttons instead of a rotary dial. The conversation with her mother was over in less than a minute. With her usual stoic face, the woman jotted something in her file before looking up with an actual sympathetic smile, which threw Jules off guard. “I’ll see you next week then?”
Jules couldn’t muster a return smile, and with a mumble of acquiescence, she rushed home with Star to practice.
Their gig planned for the next night was at a rising young starlet’s home. Marc asked to be included, offering to help them set up, and of course, they didn’t deny him this. Marc had, after all, introduced Matt into the band, was Jules’ sibling in blood and bond, and they welcomed the help. Candi’s obvious glee was something Jules tried to ignore.

Chapter 11 Half Moon. The fight

Remember--or your parents will--when you could slam the receiver down in a fit of rage? Somehow "end call" on a cell phone is not as satisfying...

Excerpt from this chapter

The next fateful ring of the phone came just days later during those wee hours, which could be called night or morning.
“Hey…” The quiet word was a hesitant breath from Matt’s side of the line.
“What do you want?” Unlike his, her voice, fed by the alcohol in her system, was strong.
“To hear your voice.”
Breathing stopped, her throat clinched, and she felt the faint crackle in destiny. Later she would look back and remember it strongly, but that night it was fate’s feather brush, and she stupidly and senselessly ignored it. “Why? Already sick of Donna’s hoo-ha?”
The silence between them stretched. Either he was declining to answer, or she’d rendered him speechless by the mere fact that she knew of his duplicity. Foreigner’s ‘Hot Blooded’ pounded softly through her speakers, a song which had been one of their favorites as a couple.
“Don’t,” he finally spoke, barely above a whisper. “Don’t, Jules. Do that. Don’t…”
The alcohol, the fury, the embarrassment, and the hurt—all of it was a fog in her brain. She would never remember anything except bits and pieces of what was said afterward. Ignoring his ‘don’t’ plea, she raged at him. Horrible things about him not being able to wait to screw someone else. When he denied it, she said something about the kiss—that he couldn’t deny kissing someone else THIS time. At one point, she thought she heard her brother pick up his line, but Matt had begun screaming back at her by then, and it was a clicking sound swallowed, and forgotten in the anger of the argument.
Matt ended up hanging up on her accusations, but even that was done in perfect Matt style. All yelled out, he said something like, “I’m hanging up now. Call me if you grow up.”
Even though Matt had already disconnected, she slammed the receiver into its cradle, again and again, and finally threw the entire phone across her bedroom, ripping the cord from the phone jack in the process.

Payphones! Still around but scarce and definately not a dime anymore!

Excerpt from Half Moon Chapter 10 Pop Rocks and Other Obstacles

Jules began the drive home and realized within two minutes that she shouldn’t be behind the wheel. She wanted to call Matt to come get her. She wanted to go home to him. To his home which should be their home. To the couch, or the bed, or whatever Matt had tonight. The payphone was even in her hand with a dime in its slot when she remembered their last conversation about her drinking, and she replaced the receiver. Buying a coffee, she iced it despite the store clerk’s revolted stare. Carrying it to the car, she chugged it in her usual manner before twisting the key.

That's all the phone examples I could think up on the spot, but I remember the story being riddled with busy signals, long distance charges, and times when an easy phone call would have smoothed over a huge relationship rift.

The differences over the decades is part of what makes this story evolve how it does.

Rising Sun, Half Moon, Rock Stars 

Silver Strings D-String Set Trilogy

They are friends in public, lovers in private. In an age of sex, drugs, rock and roll, they want it all. But 'all' has a different definition to everyone. What happens when sexy drummer Matt Loren wants bandmate Jules Breaux as more than a bedroom plaything? Is her love more than a four letter word? 

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day

Someone asked not long ago out of all the holidays included in the Silver Strings Series why not Valentine's Day? I had to think a moment. Because Christmas comes up time and again in my novels and Halloween too. But Valentine's Day? Other than the one Jack and Marissa novelette dedicated to the holiday, they were right. It never comes up.

Maybe it's because I have issues with the holiday myself. For a romantic who always has a love story in her head with a HEA ending, in reality, I've never been a Valentine's Day sort of gal. In fact, my man and I have for two decades have exchanged scratch offs on the 14th. My theory is it will be a great story when we do win that giant prize. Can you imagine smiling for the local television crew and explaining for more than twenty years we've had a glass of wine while scratching our valentine tickets?

In truth it's not as bad as all that. You see, my hubby is way more romantic than me. And most Valentine's Days I'm met with a giant bouquet of long stemmed roses--or lately some of the most beautiful exotic flowers I've ever seen. And then me, being he VDay bitch I am, inwardly add up the cost and wonder, why oh why while outwardly squealing in delight and saying thank you in all the ways men love. Win win. Because secretly I love he's that kind of guy ;)

Here I present to you my one time go at fictional Valentine's Day. I'll even give it  away for free through the 14th. And if you haven't read the series yet, no biggie. It's pretty much a stand alone.

Excerpt #1

“Who is that lady with Daddy?”

She had heard that very sentence too many times, but even now, nothing ever made her head swivel faster. Taking in Jack escorting the buxom brunette that had earlier been out by the bus, Marissa carefully chose her words. Words that she had said more than a few times, but the caution was always in the tone of the words to their son. “Someone that likes his music.”

Jack’s gaze scanned the room stopping on her and Tristan. The first few times this scenario had happened, he had looked like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. Their relationship had been new, and even though they had trust between them, he had thrown up his defense shields. Lately though, anytime this sort of thing happened, he always seemed relieved to see her, and always wanted to foist his cookies off onto her.

He escorted the young woman toward the buffet and politely got her started by passing her a plate. Bending, he spoke to her, and she nodded with a smile.

Then, he crossed to her and Tristan. A chair scraped the floor as he pulled it out.

“Another contest winner?” Usually, Marissa liked to torment him, but tonight, for the last half hour, she had dawdled over her meal hoping that he would show up to eat with her. And now that he had showed, some hot chick was in tow.

Glancing at Tristan’s watchful gaze, he nodded.

The charade of a ‘Date With Jack Storm’ rarely bothered her. She was the one who wore his ring.

A ring that had headlined stories of gossip sites and tabloid magazines for more than a month after she had received it. The exquisite black diamond screamed to the world that she belonged to Jack.

Maybe, what did bother her was that they had not screamed to the world of their engagement. Sure, it had been unofficial and speculated about since the day he had showed up in LA with Tristan and her. The week paparazzi had noticed the ring on her finger, headlines had pretty much confirmed the engagement to the public. However, Jack hadn’t publicly confirmed it. The ring pictures in these magazines had come from telescopic lenses with shutters as quiet as she and Jack had been about their private life.

“Eat supper with Jack Storm? Seriously?” The ridiculousness of it hollowed her words with scorn toward whatever radio station or entity had cooked this contest up. Normally, ‘Jack Storm Dates’ were a place side stage to watch the show– with her and Tristan– and a drink or two after the show, sometimes on the tour bus– with her and Tristan. Looking at these ‘dates’ from the lucky woman’s point of view, she could see that they might be special. Yet, there was nothing special that she could see about a buffet style dinner served among folding chairs and tables– even if it was partaken with a rock star.

One of his shoulders lifted in a slight shrug, and he seemed uneasy. Looking back at the girl, Marissa found her happily choosing between the salads. Making the choice, the girl picked up a few napkins, and that is when comprehension dawned. There in front of her own plate were her own extra napkins. White with red hearts.

A Valentine’s date with Jack Storm.

She knew it as surely as if it had been printed on those napkins or on a ginormous banner stretching across a wall. She KNEW it. And she couldn’t even get a Valentine’s date with him– her own fiancĂ©.

Shoving her chair back, she stood. It was wrong to be this angry with Jack. He didn’t create the contests and promotions. Hell, he hardly ever knew of them until he was told where to be and what to do. If the event did show up on some daily manifest, he usually didn’t see it because he was too busy or too tired to read the papers that showed up daily in the bus.

Sometimes when she threw these fits, he was more sensitive and sweet than she deserved. Calling her back, he would tenderly calm her down with the reminder that it was a life that would soon be behind them. Tonight was one of the nights that he looked too worn for confrontation. She knew it when his wary shield slipped for a second revealing his fatigue and apathetic acceptance of her upcoming tirade.

With another look beyond his head at the dark exotic beauty, she paused. Bracing a hand on his shoulder, she bent laying a long, publicly possessive kiss on his lips. “Have fun on your date, Jack Storm. Just remember, I’m the one who's going to have your babies.” Unable to resist another barb, she leaned again. “And I’m the one who will be–” With an X-rated whisper for his ears alone, she moved away.

Wadding her napkins, she tossed them in the leftover food, and stacked Tristan’s plate with hers as she let that image sink into his skull.

Taking Tristan’s hand in one of hers, and their trash in her other grasp, she crossed the room, making sure to smile at Jack’s date. It wasn’t the girl’s fault either. Marissa knew Jack, as always, would be sweet and courteous, making sure the fan was comfortable. That is who he was– the gentleman beneath the Jack Storm exterior. It wasn’t Jack or his ‘date’ that put her in pissy mode. It was the shitty situations that came from living in the public eye.

More Lisa Gillis Rock Rom Books

Excerpt #2

“Mariss! You are sure taking your time, my honey.” Jack’s voice rumbled pleasantly through her head. Real this time. Not imagined.

Crossing to the bunks, she shrugged out of her shirt and pulled back the privacy curtain. “How long have you been awake?” Dropping a knee to the bunk, she crawled in with him.

“Long enough to know you’ve had more than enough time to take off all of your clothes.” His eyes were dark pools in the shadows, but from experience, she knew that the playful tone was matched by a teasing glimmer in their depths. “And yet…” A finger hooked in the strap of her bra.

Guided by his voice, her lips had no trouble finding his in the dimness. Her tongue met his and mingled. Their lips brushed over and over, and their breath became one.

“You want them off so bad, then–” Her mouth moved against his as she spoke, and his nip to her lip cut her sentence short.

“Then what?” he goaded. Even through the denim of her jeans, Jack’s touch tingled the skin below as he curved his fingers to her back pockets and squeezed.

“Then take ‘em off…” She managed to infuse a little sass although her motor skills were becoming muddled.

With expert movements, he unclipped the silky triangles of fabric and let the bra fall somewhere in the grayness. She whimpered into the kiss as his hands familiarly claimed their prizes.

The silence was broken only by the rustle of their movements and their kisses– and the fan club just outside the bus. The soprano shouts were barely discernible, but she heard them just the same.

“Is Jack in there?” … “I love you Jack!” … “I want to have your babies!”

If this Valentine’s Day were only sex in a coffin with a chorus of fan girls unknowingly cheering them on, she would happily endure the rest of the evening.

She was lying fully on him and enjoyed the contact of their bare skin anywhere it came together. Hard abs to softer. Pecs to peaks. She curled her fingers to a bicep guiding her touch to his shoulder and the mental image of colorful ink and skin melted into her mind.

Wanting to bare more important skin, she reached down hooking a thumb into his briefs. Thinking about his package had her craving it. Heaving a heady breath that was all Jack, she kissed a well frequented trail to his waist. With a groan, he pulled her upward before she could drag his briefs down.

“I wasn’t finished undressing you…” His kiss landed in the cleavage where her necklace generally rested, and he seemed in no rush to remove the remainder of her clothing. Closing her eyes, she drew in a ragged breath, as he trailed his tongue to amazing places. When his teeth came together in a nip, she saw stars on the backs of her eyelids.

Her ears were slower in picking up music. Once her overloaded brain registered the sound for what it was, her moan was no longer totally from the pleasure of the things his tongue was doing.

The melodic ringtone caused him to pause, and she uttered a deprived sound as the air chilled the areas his mouth had been warming. When the unanswered ring sent the call to voicemail, and the phone went dark, his muscles relaxed. He savored another mouthful and his grip went to her jeans, but he groaned with frustration when the tiny screen again lit up and the same ringtone repeated. This time, she knew she was not seeing stars, and she sighed along with him.

One of his thumbs circled the tip his teeth had been teasing as he waited for the rings to stop again, and then pressed the voicemail button. Her touch went back to his briefs, traveling familiarly over him, before slipping beneath the waistband, determined to keep his body focused as he tended to whatever ‘other business had come up.’

The phone was not on speaker, but she clearly heard Chris’ freaked voice.

“Jack! I’m sorry dude. I know you’re– busy. But, erm– you need to know this now. Some stupid roadie– not with us– totally fucked up Shay.”

She and Jack had been together for almost a year, and she had never experienced to this extent what happened beneath her touch. Her fingers stilled. Jack may as well have been in a dead sleep. Strike that—even when he was in a dead sleep, her touch would rouse his body before his mind. Annoyed, she retracted her hand, and she wondered if they would pick things back up, or if she should just give up on Valentine’s sex.

Even as she mused, he pushed to his elbows, and she slid to the side.

Another jab at his phone, and the quiet purr of rings filled the silence. Only two rings passed before Chris answered in monotone. “Jack.”

“The fuck, Chris?” Jack growled.

She pushed her hair from her face and sat up. The phone provided enough illumination for her to watch the expressions play over his face. It was easy to hear Chris explaining that ‘Shay’ had been dropped a half story and then rolled over by a tour case in that split second.

‘Shay’ was Jack’s Midnight Blue Metallic Frost ES.

“Fuck!” In a smooth arc, his legs swung over the side of the bunk. “I’ll be right there.” A furious jab of his thumb ended the call.


“Oh, sorry,” he patiently explained. “It’s Shay. Some wacko dropped and destroyed her.”

“I know. I heard.”

He nodded as if that were that. His feet hit the floor, and he pulled a shirt from his storage area. Frowning, his fingers fumbled through a search of the tiny closet before he moved away empty handed and instead stood in the bathroom. Flushing the toilet, he turned as if feeling her gaze, and his eyes impassively dropped to her bare chest as he gripped the brush and ran it through his bed head.

This was insane!

“Are you seriously bailing?”

The brush strokes stilled, the bristles freezing inches from his skull. “I have to take care of this. Fuck, I can’t believe it happened.” He abandoned the brush, clearly wary of what he was seeing in her face, and clearly not swayed by what was below her face.

“It’s a guitar…” Now, she swung from the bed and expelled the aggravated exclamation. “It’s a damn guitar!”

Okay, she might have slid by with a disparaging remark about one of his ‘girls,’ but in addition, she’d gone and cursed this one.

“Yes!” Sparks ignited then shot from his dark gaze as the furious words flew from his mouth. “A guitar that I need.” Moving toward her and then beyond her, he searched again presumably for jeans. Her eyes ran down his backside, lingering on the briefs she had been unsuccessful in removing, and then the long muscled legs and large bare feet. “I can’t do this show without that guitar!”

Cursing the guitar had been bad, but laughing at that moment was not good. Not good at all. With a faded pair of black jeans in hand, he spun around as soon as the sound left her lips, and his look was so dark that she almost choked as she swallowed the snicker.

“Mariss! What do you want from me?”

“Some dick!” The screech felt as ugly coming from her throat as it did echoing through the bus. “But you go– you go and take care of Shay on Valentine’s Day!”

The jeans fell to his side, his grip on them loosening some. His shoulders also dropped. In fact, his entire body seemed to sag. The date was unknown to him. What had she expected? In the heat of the tours, he usually did not even know what day of the week it was, much less, what day of the month.

His faltering gaze fell to the floor, and he used that moment to step into his pants. The earlier urgency vanished from his movements. Still not meeting her eyes, he dragged them to his lean hips. His fingers worked the fly but abandoned the buttons midway up the vee. Devoid of the exasperation and anger of the previous minutes, he locked a beseeching gaze to hers.

“I didn’t– I should’ve– I’m so sorry that I slept all day.”

“It’s okay, Jack. You need the sleep.”

Regardless of how embittered she felt over their interrupted tryst, nothing changed that fact. He was on the verge of exhaustion.

“No,” he returned. “It doesn’t feel okay. Not at times like this.”