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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Isra - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

The Dubai Desert, 1926:

“How much farther?” Rachel spit the desert sand back into the pelting wind. The constant shifting of the saddle chaffed her thighs. Her camel ambled forward, oblivious to her discomfort. Its breath was horrid and the camel farted. Often.

John peered through his binoculars. “We should be coming up on the site soon. We made excellent progress on the dig before the sandstorms necessitated our return to the village. But now we can finish what we started. How’s the girl holding up?”

Rachel glanced behind her at Isra. The 17-year-old sat comfortably on her camel, amazed at the seemingly endless, selcouth desert. Isra had never been this far from her village and the vastness of the desert astonished her. “Better than me,” Rachel replied. She wanted to wash the sultry desert from her skin and longed for the bathtub she had left behind in the village, realizing it would be at least three months before their return.

“There it is!” John pointed ahead toward the partially excavated ruins. The four Arab men the archaeologist had hired for the mission rode ahead to set up camp. “It’s just as we left it. If we can find a way into the crypt beneath the ruins, I’ll bet we could fill an entire wing of the British Museum with the artifacts we recover.”

Rachel shared John’s enthusiasm – such an expedition had been a mutual dream of theirs since their days at college — but she was equally excited to be able to dismount from her camel. She hitched the camel to a makeshift post and joined John in the ruins, determined to prove to her parents the money they had spent indulging her penchant to study archaeology at college had not been wasted on a foolish girl’s whim. Few girls had been admitted to the college and fewer still expressed an interest in archaeology. In fact, Rachel had been the only woman in the class. But her fervent passion for ancient civilizations was exceeded only by her ardent passion for her classmate, John. She made sure the camel was securely tied to the post, grimacing at the odious beast, and then turned her attention to the swarthy Arab men erecting the canvas tents.


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Download Issues in Internet Law

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The 10th edition of Issues In Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law has been updated for 2016 with the latest cases and trends in Internet Law. The new edition not only has an expanded glossary, and expanded statute and case indexes but a new chapter devoted to the NSA's spying on Internet users and a first look at the European Union's Right to be Forgotten court ruling and its aftermath.

Topics include:
Privacy: Invasion of Privacy, Public Records, Workplace Privacy, Employer & ISP Monitoring, Data Collection, Data Retention, Data Breaches, the Right to be Forgotten, E-Mail & Chat Room Privacy, Web Site Privacy Policies, Behavioral Marketing, Flash Cookies, Device Fingerprinting, Privacy & Children, Metadata, Border Searches, FISA & the USA PATRIOT Act, the NSA, FISA Court, PRISM, XKeyscore;

Free Speech: Defamation, SLAPPs, Gripe Sites, Revenge Porn Sites, Mugshot Sites, Blogs & Vlogs, Obscenity & Pornography, Harassment & Hate Speech, Prior Restraint, Repression, Student Speech, CDA, Anonymous Speech, Commercial Speech, Expressive Conduct;

Social Media: Misuse, Ownership, Coerced Access, the Courts;

Cybercrimes: Spam, Phishing, Identity Theft, Spyware & Malware, Cyberstalking, Cyberbullying, Computer Trespass, Wardriving, Virtual Crime;

Intellectual Property: Copyright, Trademark, Patent, Trade Secrets, Creative Commons, Linking, Framing, File-Sharing, Fair Use, Public Domain, Work-Made-For-Hire, DMCA, VARA, Domain Name Disputes, Keyword Advertising, America Invents Act;

Business & the Internet: Internet Taxation, Internet Interstate Commerce, Web Contracts, e-Discovery, Corporate Securities, Crowdfunding, Reg A, Reg D;

Also: Cloud Computing; Digital Currency; Right of Publicity; Web Accessibility; Net Neutrality; Online Reputation Management; Social Media Monitoring; Podcasts; Geofiltering; Digital Journalism; Hyper Local Web Sites, Digital Estate Planning; Sexting; E-Books and many more subjects.

Concisely written and covering a broad range of topics, this is the most current book of its kind!


Reviews:

“Concise overview of Internet-related legal issues.” (Law Library Journal)

“Although it deals with the complex legal issues surrounding the Internet, it is written in layman’s terms and illustrated with ‘ripped from the headlines’ court cases.” (Amazon)

“The concepts and issues are presented in a way that is sufficiently rigorous but very easy to read, making the book one I can recommend.” (Computing Reviews) * “A valuable resource, well-researched and well presented.”

“I want a copy on my bookshelf always within arm’s reach.”

“The anecdotal nature made it easy to understand the underlying legal concepts.”

“It is imperative that schools adopt this book in a way which would help young students gain knowledge about the various issues involving the Internet.” (Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law)

“Issues in Internet Law: Society, Technology, and the Law will be a welcome addition in both academic and public law libraries… It should be acquired by libraries for its concise overview of Internet-related legal issues.” (Law Library Journal)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Remick - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

Castle Dracula, Transylvania, Four Months Earlier, January 1891:

The dungeon was dark and damp, illuminated only by candlelight from several sconces on each wall and a shaft of light shining through the cast iron bars on the window of the  bolted door. The spider webs that hung from the ceiling glistened in the flickering light, casting weird shadows on the floor. A dozen ragged, young women were manacled by their wrists or ankles to iron rings lodged into the brick walls. The weeks of their insufferable durance had turned their initial agitation into melancholy torpor. Some were local townswomen; others merely unfortunate travelers waylaid as they had journeyed through the Carpathian Mountains. The tatterdemalions shivered and awaited their daily meal of gruel, as did the anxious rats scurrying across the floor. Scattered straw covered the prisoners’ excrement, but did little to mask its lingering miasma or discourage the buzzing flies from landing upon the human waste.

“It’s no use, Annabelle,” a forlorn girl said. “We’ll never escape. That madman and his insane friends will kill us, as he has the others.”

“Someone will rescue us, Antoinette,” her companion replied. “This horror cannot last forever.”

“They are not human. They are fiends from Hell. You’ve seen what they did to the other girls they kidnapped. They drink their blood and leave them to die, or worse, turn into creatures like themselves. They abduct innocent women and use them as food for their debauched parties.”

Annabelle arced her head, observing their bound cellmates. “Surely, someone will notice the rash of abductions and investigate.”

“But when, Annabelle?  It might be too late for us, by then. The dungeon fills with new girls, but whenever the count hosts one of his soirees for his fellow fiends, our numbers are soon depleted. Who knows when we will be next to be chosen for their depraved gatherings?”

“When our family discovers we did not arrive at our destination as expected, they will realize our coach had been waylaid. Father will send out a search party. They might even be combing the Carpathian Mountains as we speak, and—”

The wooden dungeon door creaked open. A misshapen man entered the tenebrific chamber, pushing a cart containing chipped wooden bowls of gruel. He was charged with seeing the prisoners were well fed and cared for during their durance, until Dracula summoned them as refreshment for himself or his entourage of vampires living at the castle. The manservant had a slight hunchback, greasy hair, and warts dotting his face. He stopped, focusing his gaze on several flies sitting on a pile of excrement amid the stramineous floor. The rebarbative man stealthily approached the flies, and reached out with lightning fast reflexes, catching two between his gnarled fingers. “Dinnertime for you ladies, and dinnertime for Renfield as well.” He grinned and plopped the flies into his mouth. He smacked his lips and swallowed. Then, Renfield distributed the bowls of unappetizing gruel to the prisoners.

“What a disgusting man,” Antoinette said to Annabelle. “From the way he stinks, I doubt he’s ever bathed.”

Renfield overheard her and approached the two women. “Disgusting, am I? I’m not the one dressed in rags, flailing about in my own urine. You think you’re better than Renfield?” Antoinette flinched, as he ran his coarse finger down the captive woman’s soft cheek. “You’re a pretty bitch, I’ll give you that. You think you’re too good for me, don’t you? The women in the village think they’re too good for poor old Renfield, too. Until they end up here. Then, I can have any woman I choose. As long as your hearts are pumping blood, the master doesn’t care what happens to any of you.” He tugged the remnants of Antoinette’s dress from her, exposing her nude body. “If you’re nice to Renfield, maybe I’ll ask the master to let you become one of his vampires.”

“No!” Antoinette screamed. “Please, don’t!”

Renfield laughed, as he raped her. “Scream, if you wish. The master and his friends are asleep in their coffins and there is no one outside of this dungeon for miles who might hear your cries. I like fresh, virginal girls like you. As your reward, when we’re done, I’ll bring you some tasty spiders to snack on.”


He’s insane, Annabelle thought. She closed her eyes and tried to drown out the sound of her sister’s screams. She imagined they were back in the stagecoach from which they had been abducted, fast asleep, and that this was all merely a horrific nightmare.  


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Magda - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

The Forests of Transylvania, 1725:

Zoltan’s wife, Nataliya, pointed to a scorched wagon. “One vardo was not consumed by the flames. We might be able to salvage something from it.”

Zoltan nodded. “See what you can find inside. The rest of us will bury the dead.”

Nataliya climbed the vardo’s shaky steps and entered the scorched wagon. She rifled through the drawers of a small dresser, pocketing the jewelry and trinkets inside. She was startled by a creaky noise behind her. Nataliya turned in time to see a loosened floorboard rise and fall. “Who’s there?”

The wooden floorboard rose again and a pair of young eyes peered from the dark crawlspace. “Is it safe to come out?” the girl asked tremulously.

Nataliya dropped to her knees and beckoned the apprehensive child, who clambered out from the ebon hole in the floor. “What is your name, chavi?”

“Magda. My mother told me to hide in the crawlspace until she came back. I didn’t want to; I wanted to go with her. But she told me I must do as she says because she is my mother. She said I would be safer here. She couldn’t fit in the crawlspace with me, so she went outside with my father and brothers.” The little girl looked up at Nataliya with doleful eyes. “My mother’s not coming back, is she? None of them are coming back.”

As her brusque exterior gave way to a maternal mien, Nataliya hugged the frightened child. “Your mother was very brave and very wise. You did the right thing by obeying her. She found a way to enable you to survive the carnage and probably led the villains away from your vardo.”

“Is there… Is there anyone else, besides me?”

Nataliya shook her head.


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Lady Chiyoko - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

Kyoto Prefecture, Japan, early 2012:

Hiroko entered Lady Chiyoko’s office. She was greeted by a distinctive herbal aroma that wafted up to her nostrils from a censer on the director’s desk. She removed her shoes and walked across the tatami mats to a decorative shoji screen, which hid a futon. Hiroko fluffed the makuras on the futon and walked to a credenza on the other side of the room. An Oriental teapot and several tea cups rested atop the credenza. Hiroko poured a cup of warm blood and placed the tea cup on a serving tray, which she brought to Chiyoko.

By outward appearances, Chiyoko was an attractive Japanese woman in her late 20s. But she had been aptly named, for the “child of a thousand generations” looked the same as she had in feudal Japan, when her clan had been one of the powerful regional families of the 12th century.

“Thank you, Hiroko.” Chiyoko took the tea cup from the tray and sipped the sanguine fluid.

The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Buy Now

A drunken Irishman stumbles across a man he believes to be a leprechaun, who shows him the true treasure he already has but doesn't appreciate. A short story by Keith B. Darrell. 4,041 words.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Callaghan - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

The Otherworld (Realm of the Fae), October 1607:

 The Morrigan laughed. “Even assuming the magical anchor is still near the British Isles and a gateway could be opened, what delusional thought process leads you to believe your actions so far would give me the slightest confidence in you?” She gestured with one of her feathered arms and the dullahan was incinerated. Flakes of charred flesh floated to the floor. Staring at the pile of ash, the Morrigan called out to her couchant goblin servants. “Bring a broom and a dustpan.”

Another goblin approached her timorously. “Mistress, you have visitors.” The goblin took two rapid steps back.

The slender goddess spun around. “Visitors?”

“A clurichaun and a mortal. They seek an audience. Shall I admit them or turn them away?” The goblin trembled, not knowing what to expect from the mercurial goddess.

The Morrigan smiled. “How delightful. By all means, send them into my chamber. And bring two more dustpans.”

The acquiescent goblin scurried away, only to return moments later, with Callaghan and Flannigan.


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

President Trump

Dateline: January 27, 2017, Washington, DC.  One week after his inauguration following in historic landslide election victory, President Donald Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden to respond to Congress’ rejection of his economic stimulus plan.

“Congress has a 9% public approval rating,” President Trump said. “They're losers! The American people disapprove of the job Congress is doing. That’s because Congress isn’t doing anything and it hasn’t for decades. All it’s done is obstruct both Democratic and Republican presidents who have tried to help the American people.”

President Trump held up a calendar. “Congressmen work only 139 days a year and get paid $174,000. For what? Most of these losers don’t even show up for hearings or votes during those 139 days. When they do, they vote the way their lobbyists and campaign donors tell them to. They’re not voting for you, the American people. By rejecting my economic program — and let me tell you, it’s a great program — Congress is voting to hurt the American people.”

Raising his pen, President Trump looked sternly into the cameras. “That’s why, on behalf of you, the American people, I am signing this executive order disbanding the Congress. The polls show 91% of Americans already disapprove of the terrible job Congress has done, so I say, ‘Congress, you’re fired!’”

Reaction to the president’s executive order disbanding Congress came swiftly. Senators and representatives immediately denounced the action and promised to file lawsuits against the president. As a constitutional issue, the U.S. Supreme Court would have original jurisdiction over the case; however with three unfilled vacancies on the high court, and no Congress to object to his judicial appointments, it is likely that by the time the case reaches the court it would be heard by a majority of Justices appointed by, or favorably inclined toward, the president.

President Trump has intimated he might issue another executive order, this time aimed at the Supreme Court, if he feels he is being treated unfairly by the Justices. “I have to be treated fairly,” President Trump told reporters at the press conference. “If I’m treated fairly, I’m fine.”

“All I’ve ever wanted is to be treated fairly,” President Trump said. “You know, the press doesn’t treat me fairly either. The latest Gallup poll showed 60% of Americans distrust the media. Maybe we should think about letting the government run the newspapers and TV news outlets so Americans can get honest news.” President Trump smirked. “Trump Network News — I like the sound of that. It’s going to be tremendous!”

Friday, March 11, 2016

Cody - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

A forest in Arizona, 12 Years Ago:

“Dad’s going to make some s’mores and then we’ll set up the telescope. You can see the stars so much clearer here than in the city. Plus, there’s a full moon tonight.”

A shiver shot down Cody’s spine. He glanced at the darkening sky. “It can’t be. Not tonight. How could I forget?”

Chuck pointed upward. “Look, even though it’s only twilight, you can make out the moon rising on the horizon.”

“I’ve got to go,” Cody said.

“Don’t be foolish,” Evan said. “I’m not letting a boy wander off in the woods at night. Do you think the bears and snakes would make better company than Chuck and me?”

“Besides, you haven’t had the s’mores yet,” Chuck said.

Cody felt a twinge of pain, signaling the start of his transformation. “Look, today’s been great, but I must — Arrgh!” Cody buckled in pain.

“What’s wrong, boy?” Evan asked.

Cody felt his bones stretching and fangs pushing through his gums. His skin bristled as his languinous body hair turned into a furry pelt. His vision blurred and he felt his mind dimming, as the incipient transformation neared its completion. “Run!” he cried. “Get away! Get as far away as you can!”

Evan stepped toward the crouching boy, whose body jerked in frenetic spasms. “Son, let me help you…”

Cody turned his head toward Evan, revealing a drooling snout lined with sharp teeth. The teenaged werewolf growled, not recognizing the human.

Evan backed away. “Chuck, bring me my rifle from the tent.”

The startled boy raced to the tent.

The werewolf snarled. Evan turned to run toward the tent. He never made it. The werewolf pounced on him, shredding his flesh with its trenchant claws.

Chuck emerged from the tent holding his father’s hunting rifle. “Dad!” He was terrified by the sight of the belluine werewolf disemboweling his father, yet he lifted the rifle and aimed it at the beast. He fired into the wreckful creature, several times, but the bullets merely stung the werewolf. Chuck turned the rifle around and struck the werewolf repeatedly with its butt.

A sleek brown wolf leapt from the bushes, knocking Chuck off his feet. The wolf morphed into a Gypsy girl. The werewolf ignored her, advancing on the fallen boy. Lupe snuck up behind the werewolf and placed an amulet around its neck. The creature howled before dropping to its knees in pain. It convulsed, as the lycanthrope’s elongated jaw receded and its fangs sunk into its gums, replaced by human incisors. Lupine fur faded, revealing soft flesh, and the savage beast changed into a teenaged boy.

“I’ve been tracking you all day,” Lupe said. “I lost the scent, but when I heard the gunshots, I thought it might be you.”

Chuck clambered to his feet and aimed the rifle at Cody. “I don’t know what the hell you are, but you killed my father and I’m going to kill you.”


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Valentina - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

Stalingrad, 1956:

Valentina gazed around the seedy neighborhood bar. Now that it was dark, the evening shift workers from the local plant would soon stumble in, seeking liquid relief from the bottles of vodka that lined the wall. They knew when they eventually arrived home, their wives would berate them for having spent their precious wages on alcohol when the necessities of everyday life – bread, meat, gasoline, and clothing –were rationed and only found in abundant supply on the expensive black market. Yet another reason the weary husbands chose to linger at their watering hole. Despite the propaganda circulated to the outside world, life in the Soviet Union was a bleak and dreary existence, made bearable only by vodka, the lifeblood of the working man. But Valentina’s lifeblood was not that  clear, tasteless liquid but rather the sapid, crimson fluid that flowed through their veins. She frequented the squalid establishments for the same reason they did: it was the best place in town to get a drink.


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Claude - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

The Gauthier Farmhouse, on the Outskirts of a Small French Town Northwest of Paris, 1918:

The root cellar was dark and cramped. It was little more than a glorified hole in the ground, with earthen walls supported by a wooden lattice and a heavy wood trap door atop. Slivers of light flowed through cracks in the warped wood, like starlight coruscating through a blackened sky. The same cracks allowed air to circulate within the oubliette, but it was tainted by the stench of rotting vegetables left behind in the cellar. Insects burrowed through the dirt, obscured by the darkness, but present nonetheless. Not being able to see them but knowing they were there made them even more frightening. Claude wondered what else might be lurking in the ebon recesses. The eight-year-old shivered, partially from the cold but mostly out of fear.


“Please, let me out.” His plaintive cry went unheeded, as had his previous entreaties. He wiped the tears from his eyes. Claude felt something crawl up his leg. He brushed it off and screamed again. His heart raced, as his face contorted in a paroxysm of terror. He was desperate to escape the confined prison but the trap door was far too heavy for him to push open. He felt the darkness become tangible, closing in on him… suffocating him. Claude screamed.


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

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Friday, March 4, 2016

Artemus - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

An island in the Mediterranean, 450 Years Ago:

The glistening fangs protruding from the child’s mouth contorted his facial muscles. His nose breathed in the pungent odor of sweat wafting through the air and he smelled fear. “Who am I? It is a fair question and, as it is the last you will ever ask, I shall grant you an answer.” He ran his small forefinger along the jugular vein pulsating on the neck of the human cowering before him, and tapped it lightly.

“You asked who I am, not what I am. I see you are perceptive enough to know a vampire when you see one. Odd, that it is my apparent age, and not my existence, which you question. As you can see, I am a ten-year-old boy.” He paused. His melancholy voice trailed off.  “I have been ten for a very, very long time.” On reflection, he added, “More than four-and-a-half centuries. My tribe inhabited an island in the Mediterranean. We were isolated from civilization on the mainland. Most found the rugged terrain hostile, save the ancient Greeks and Romans who had trod our soil more than a millennium earlier. It was from the vestigial remains of their culture that I received my name, Artemus.”


The boy vampire stared into the mortal’s frightened face. The pitiful creature believes it can buy time by keeping me talking, he thought. Foolish breather. There is no escape; only death. But the longer fear courses through the breather’s veins, the more rapidly the blood will as well, and the more savory its flavor shall be. With that in mind, he resumed his tale.

The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!



Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pandora - An Excerpt from Flashbacks

Chicago, 1923:

Pandora returned home. Poppy was asleep in her bed. The blanket rose and fell with her breathing. Pandora smiled. She approached her younger sister’s bed and bent to kiss her cheek. Her eyes alighted on Poppy’s neck. The girl’s carotid artery seemed to throb, beckoning Pandora. She bit her lip. Just a little nip, she thought. A nightcap. Poppy won’t miss it. I only need a bit; I know when to stop. She opened her mouth. Her fangs popped out, dripping saliva on Poppy’s exposed neck.

“Pandora?” The touch of the vampire’s icy cold saliva had awakened Poppy.

Her sister’s voice thrust Pandora back to reality. She felt ashamed, yet immensely grateful for the interruption.

Poppy yawned. “You were right about Carmine. I never want to see him again.”

“You won’t have to. I won’t let him hurt you.” She touched her fangs. “I would never let you be hurt, Poppy.” Pandora brushed her sister’s face. “Go back to sleep, dear.”


The Vampires & Werewolves You Only Think You Know!




  Fangs & Fur, Book One: Flashbacks

Available in Paperback and Kindle editions.