Shannon Kendricks has won for Juneau, the beluga whale, one day of freedom from captivity at the Dickson Research Center in Alaska, and now it is time for Juneau to come home. But she hasn't returned. Worse, she isn't responding to Shannon's increasingly desperate calls. Shannon can communicate directly with Juneau thanks to her encounter with the alien child Essi three years ago. Even as Shannon waits for Juneau in the Underwater Complex at the Dickson, an explosion causes water to roar through the complex and sweeps Shannon out into the ocean. At the same time, her former alien friends, the child she knew as Essi and the mysterious Salesti have returned to Earth. Essi is carrying a virus that could destroy life on this planet. Two aliens chase her - one to take the virus at any cost -- to Essi or to humanity. The other to take the virus safely home to save his own species. Shannon will survive the explosion in startling fashion and soon meets up with her former friends and the new invaders. Has the destruction of the Dickson facility ruined Juneau's chances for freedom? Will Essi survive the race for the virus she carries? Will Shannon be required yet again to sacrifice her own health and possibly her life for the sake of her friends and her world? Just as happened three years ago, not everyone will survive Shannon's latest challenge.
Like my protagonist Shannon Kendricks, I am an attorney, I volunteered as a zoo keeper's aide for eight years and did have a very special beluga buddy, Mauyak. As to encounters with alien children, I am not saying. I was also a radio and print journalist and once was the 'Jill of all trades' for a small satellite paper in Wyoming. I did everything from taking to the photos to writing the articles and op-ed pieces to helping with layout and hauling the newspapers through blizzards once a week. As a result, I saw lambs being born and went on a cattle drive and ate my first (and last) Rocky Mountain Oyster. I have seen mountain gorillas in the wild in Rwanda and the orangutans in Borneo and even rocked an orphaned baby orangutan to sleep on my chest. I have volunteered with a chimpanzee sanctuary for former research subjects. So you can see where my heart lies. Currently I am happy at home with my black brindle mastiff and my black cat. All similarities between my cat and Narcissus are purely and probably coincidental.
You are reading the opening lines to my book, tentatively titled POWER MULTIPLIED, which is the sequel to the first book in this series, POWER OF THREE.
When I first created Shannon Kendricks, the protagonist of the series, she was much too much like me, which is to say, dull.
Consequently, I decided to give her some skills and traits I wish I had. For example, Shannon has a telepathic bond with a beluga whale. I mean, who wouldn't want that? Right? And another thing -- because of her encounter with aliens and her ability now to harbor other creatures' consciousness in her mind, Shannon enjoys [and, to be fair, suffers from] a greatly increased metabolism. Which means she can eat. Boy can she eat. And she never gains weight. I could volunteer for that duty.
What I hope to create in Shannon is a hero whom a reader can, even for a few short hours, inhabit and can really enjoy being.
Shannon is just beginning to learn the extent of her talents. What else might she find out about herself?
Shannon Kendricks was minding her own already frazzled business when a needle of fear pricked her spine. She paused mid-worry, all her attention immediately drawn to that sting of anxiety. Her vision dissolved into darkness. A dead certainty crystalized in her mind. The certainty that she would shortly find herself in the middle of an undefined but huge and devastating disaster. She faintly tasted the salty sea and she smelled a hint of repulsive, metallic blood. Fainter still, she heard the echo of frantic screams. But she could see nothing, only black emptiness.