Meet Guest Author Dellani Oakes

 

dellani photo dark 2 super cropWho am I? A crazy sister, lunatic aunt, loving mother and adoring spouse. I’m a former A.P. English teacher, costume designer, photographer & stringer for a newspaper and Mary Kay consultant. I’m now an author and substitute teacher. With a skill set like that, I can do amazing things—but please don’t ask me to leap tall buildings at a single bound. I’m not as sprightly as I was twenty years ago.

I’m an introvert with extrovert tendencies. In other words, I can speak to a large group of like minded people (chiefly authors) but put me in a crowd where I have nothing in common with them, I’ll clam up. I hate small talk, but will chatter about books and writing for hours on end—just try and stop me! Finding that a useful tendency, I decided to venture into the world of internet broadcasts on Blog Talk Radio. I began as the assistant to another host and found that I had reached my level of incompetence. When the chance came to take on my own shows, I did so nervously and reluctantly. It was a good switch. I have a more than competent assistant, Rachel Rueben, who is also an author. She runs the technical side and I run my mouth. We’ve done this nearly five years now, and I love every minute of it.

Writing is my life’s blood, I could never give it up. Listening to that inner voice and telling the story and allowing me to write it down and share it. I’ve never quite figured out where the voice comes from, so I choose to label it my Muse. She’s kind of an ADHD brat, but she’s served me well, for the most part. Because of her, I have 72 finished novels & short stories and 77 unfinished novels & short stories. Of this plethora of written words, five novels are published: Indian Summer – historical novel, Lone Wolf and Shakazhan – science fiction, The Ninja Tattoo – contemporary romantic suspense and Under the Western Sky – romantic suspense set in 1976.

Each of the books had a different starting place. With Indian Summer, I vividly remember where the idea came from. I was on a field trip with my son’s fourth grade class. I looked around the old fort, Castillo de San Marcos, and thought, “If these walls could talk, what stories would they tell?” The voice of Gabriella started talking to me and didn’t stop until I wrote her story down.

Lone Wolf and Shakazhan were inspired by a role playing game my husband and I participated in when we were in college. A forerunner of Cyberpunk and after Dungeons and Dragons, was Traveller. Set in a sci-fi world, they had aliens, cyborgs and deadly weapons. Matilda was based on my character. The characters of Wil and Marc were introduced by two friends of ours. I began with the idea of chronicling our adventures, but early on, the story went its own way. I think that what it finally became was better than what I envisioned.

The Ninja Tattoo had the most chilling inspiration. It begins with the main character, Teague, driving along Riverside Drive in Edgewater, Florida. He encounters a trio of bikers behaving strangely. The peculiar events really happened to me. To this day, I don’t know what they were doing or why, but the bikers in my novel had deadly intent.

Under the Western Sky came to me unexpectedly. I hadn’t intended to write anything set in the Seventies, but something keyed a memory and off it went. I don’t know specifically where the inspiration came from. Maybe it was a song on the radio or a conversation with an old friend. Whatever cued it, I sat down and wrote the story quickly, less than a month from start to finish.

Dellani apricot top no glassesI started trying to get Indian Summer published in the fall of 2007. I was in way over my head, sending out to anyone with the right acceptance list. I got a lot of rejections and spent a lot of money. That was before most places accepted submissions via e-mail. It was pretty depressing. I tried both agents and publishers, no one wanted my book. I got one of my query letters back with NO! scribbled in the corner. No explanation, not even a xeroxed copy of a rejection letter. That hurt horribly. I realize that publishers get a lot of books and have a great deal to process, but it takes about two seconds more to write No Thank You rather than No!

After finally getting my books published, I didn’t really try to get anything else out there. I set about trying to market and discovered, as with the show assistant job, I had met my Waterloo.

I had joined a group on Facebook, and happened to see a small publisher from Ireland was looking for books to publish in e-book form. There was a call for submissions and I decided to send The Ninja Tattoo. I’m proud to say, they jumped at the chance to take on Teague. McMurtry That’s how I met Kemberlee Shortland of Tirgearr Publishing. She also accepted my novel, Under the Western Sky.

I’m about to make the move to self-publishing, which is super scary for me. I’ve never done anything remotely like this and can’t help wondering if I’m really capable of it or if, as before, I reach my level of incompetence. The good news is that I have friends who are experienced with the formatting and so forth, who can help me with that end of the process. I’m delighted that there are so many more options out there for authors than there were when I first started trying to publish.

Be looking for Conduct Unbecoming – a Teague McMurtry novel, coming sometime this fall. I also hope to have It Takes a Thief out by Christmas.

I don’t really have any hobbies other than watching my Netflix in marathon sessions and complex doodles I draw on scratch paper. I’m still looking for a good outlet for these. I attend two writing groups a week. One is geared toward having fun and reading short pieces we’ve written. The other is specifically focused on writing to publish. We share longer excerpts and give feedback and critique on what we’ve written.

Indian Summer

indian summerSet in the summer of 1739, the story follows Gabriella Deza, youngest daughter of the Spanish Governor. She and her finance, Manuel Enriques, work together to track down and capture a British spy who has infiltrated their ranks and has organized an attempt to overthrow the town and secure the fort.

Lone Wolf

lone wolfWil VanLipsig thought his life would be an unending series of battles, some lost, most won. Then he met Matilda DuLac, a commander on a Guild mining station. She and Wil discover a plot to destroy the Mining Guild and bring Wil to ruin. Embroiled in intrigue, the two dash across the galaxy to parts unknown, to bring the villain to justice.

Shakazhan: Book 2 in the Lone Wolf series.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]It begins where Lone Wolf ended—with the disappearance of the villain. Transported by an ancient device, he’s been taken to parts unknown. Though they hope he died in transit, they can’t count on that. With the help of some new alien friends, the couple embarks on a quest to find the mythical planet, Shakazhan

The Ninja Tattoo

Ninja TattooTeague McMurtry left the Army, returning Stateside, a few months ago. He thought he’d left danger behind him, but somehow, he’s inadvertently landed himself in a mess. Though he hates to admit it, it all started when he bumped into the beautiful and troubled Vivica Rambo. Little does he know that she’s a part of something that can bet them both killed. With the help of his family, Teague protects himself and Vivica, bringing the villains to justice.

Under the Western Sky

Under the Western SkyIt’s 1976. Women are burning bras, the Vietnam War is winding down and the American Indian Movement is in full swing. It’s been three years since the violence at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, but the Midwest is still reeling from the impact of those deaths. Prejudice is not as open as it was in earlier decades, but there are still hard feelings amongst the Whites. They don’t like Mexicans and see them as a bigger threat than Blacks. Their organized hatred causes friction between Bobby Menendez and his best friend, Danny Emerson, nearly getting both boys killed. Tangled in a web of danger, the two boys must stand together to fight for their lives, Under the Western Sky.

Look for me on the following:

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10 thoughts on “Meet Guest Author Dellani Oakes

  1. Flipping heck, I am exhausted just reading this Della. How wonderful. I wish you tons of success with your books, publishers and self-publishing and hope you can sit down, put your feet up and take five. I have just had to sit down; rather dizzy reading all this. What a fun life, so busy and diverse. Your books are going to be so sought after. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very impressive list of accomplishments, congratulations, Dellani! Best wishes for continued success!

    Thanks for sharing this accomplished author, Chris!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for having me here, Chris. I apologize for not thanking you before, but life has been very busy! I’m delighted to be your guest here and hope we can chat more in the future. Do you do radio show interviews? If so, please contact me via Facebook or e-mail and let me know. I’d love to have you on the show. Dellani

      Like

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