G.I. Joe: Resurgence Novella Excerpt

(concept art)

An Excerpt from Chapter 3. If you like what you read, you can purchase a copy of the ebook at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/G-I-JOE-Resurgence-Novella-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00NMQH27S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410986243&sr=8-1&keywords=gi+joe+resurgence

“Thanks for the tech expo but gadgets aren’t really my thing. Give me some knives, handguns, and a hook and chain, and I’ll be fine,” stated Shipwreck as he placed his own reliance in his ability to hold his own in a fight, “Old salty sea dogs like myself rely on our wits and instincts.”

Grand Slam and Stalker glanced at one another knowing full well that Shipwreck had not been encouraged by the gadgets and weapons Grand Slam was able to create; Shipwreck cared more about honing his own physical skills. It was only a matter of time before Shipwreck inquired about a training room.

“So you do have a dojo to train in? Gym? Or something?” asked Shipwreck as he glanced over to a set of punching bags, treadmills, free weights, and sparring mats near the end of the facility.

“Obviously not as big as the two previous Pits but it does its job. We have weights, cardio machines, weapons, punching bags, and a sparring mat,” stated Stalker as he led Grand Slam and Shipwreck to the training room located in the northern section of the building.

Off in the distance, Shipwreck could hear the sounds of a woman hitting punching bags. In the distance, he could see a woman dressed in a black martial art outfit with died purple hair that radiated light like the sun. In her hands, she held two tonfas by which she struck different sized strike bags. As the men came closer to where she was practicing, the woman stopped her strikes and walked confidently over to Stalker.

“This is our newest member of the Joes, Gwen Patrenko, from Bucharest, Romania. She goes by the code name Queen of Hearts. She is our fourth member,” announced Stalker.

Shipwreck snickered at her code name, “Much of a card player are ya or were you a queen of some province in Eastern Europe? Where’s the King of Hearts?”

“There is no king,” responded the Queen of Hearts in a cold Romanian accent, “But if you must know my card game of choice, it’s Blackjack.”

“World champ a few times too,” announced Stalker.

“So no Scarlett, Cover Girl, or Bombstrike?” asked Shipwreck as he began to size up the Queen of Hearts’ potential as a new Joe, “Couldn’t convince them to join ya?” Shipwreck scoffed at the Queen of Hearts as he thought about all of the G.I. Joe leadership they needed but was quite absent given it was just Stalker, Grand Slam, and himself.

Stalker shrugged off Shipwreck’s biting comments, “The Queen of Hearts was highly recommended by Bombstrike and Scarlett.”

“So she’s a copycat of them or something?” Shipwreck asked satirically.

“I copy no one,” she answered sharply as she placed her tonfas back into her holsters on her hips and reached for a towel to dry the sweat from her brow.

“Got that cold Eastern European personality, too,” chided Shipwreck.

“We figured the two of you would get along well,” joked Stalker as he patted Shipwreck on the back.

“Those were some fancy moves back there,” said Shipwreck as he crossed his arms in defiance, “Any combat experience or did Stalker drag you away from some second rate rec center martial art class?”

“I have plenty of combat experience to handle someone like you,” she replied coolly, “Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Eastern European states civil wars, just to name a few. Unlike you, my military experience is relative and not found in the pages of some history book.”

“Sharp words, doll,” stated Shipwreck defensively, “Listen, I’ve been fighting wars before you were in diapers. I could take you in five minutes.”

“You look like a drowned dog who doesn’t know when to lay down and die,” replied the Queen of Hearts, “You’re out of shape, too.”

“I like her,” smiled Shipwreck as he admired her abrasive personality, “She’ll get along great here.”

The Queen of Hearts walked passed Shipwreck and glared at him with disgust. “Let’s see if this old sea dog has some fight left in him,” challenged the Queen of Hearts.
Shipwreck smirked at the challenge and felt adrenaline surge through his veins. The Queen of Hearts tossed Shipwreck the old familiar kusarigama. Shipwreck reached out with his left hand and caught the hilt of the attached sickle while snatching the end of the chain with his right hand.

“Not quite my hook and chain but it will do,” spoke Shipwreck as he stood in a kusarigamajutsu attack stance with the sickle raised in his left hand, chain wrapped around his back, and the ball in his right hand, “Snake Eyes taught me a bit with the kusarigama. I won’t go easy on you.”

The Queen of Hearts smiled defiantly, “I don’t expect you to. I only hope you defend the honor of Snake Eye’s tutelage. If you get winded before we finish, just surrender before you break a hip.”

The Queen of Hearts prepared to fight Shipwreck with her two tonfas as she moved into an attack position. Stalker and Grand Slam glanced at each other as their expressions livened with the anticipation of the coming fight. Between the Queen of Hearts’ impressive fighting skills and sassy personality paired against Shipwreck’s abrasiveness and own combat experience, the two of them knew it would be entertaining.

Like his brash personality, Shipwreck chose to attack first by spinning the ball of the kusarigama. He flipped forward and swung the ball towards the Queen of Hearts in multiple offensive strikes. The Queen of Hearts rolled to her left side missing Shipwreck’s strikes and thrust her tonfas towards his ankles scooping him off his feet. Shipwreck flew upwards but managed to keep his ground and retaliated with two thrust kicks towards the Queen of Hearts. She blocked and countered the kicks with two tonfa jabs to Shipwreck’s wrists. Trying to ignore the pain, Shipwreck took the opportunity to wrap her wrists with the chain and tried to drag her to the ground. With some quick Aikido moves, the Queen of Hearts slide under Shipwreck while pulling him off his feet and flipping him onto his back. She was able to pull herself free and then prepared a strike toward Shipwreck’s neck. Both fighters stopped sparring and walked to opposite ends of the dojo; the other Joes could sense Shipwreck’s pride had been hurt and humbled.

“She…got…lucky,” panted Shipwreck in brash defiance as he bent over to breath more steadily, “My…concentration…slipped.”

Stalker and Grand Slam chuckled to themselves as the Queen of Hearts adopted another offensive pose with the tonfas, taunting Shipwreck to spar once more.

“Best two out of three?” challenged the Queen of Hearts.

“Sounds fine to me,” breathed Shipwreck as he quickly moved to a neutral stance with the kusarigama.

Immediately, the Queen of Hearts raced forward, spun into a cartwheel, and struck at Shipwreck’s left knee and right ankle. Shipwreck countered the move with two thrust kicks while swiping at her with the sickle of the kusarigama.
Thwack-thwack! Shipwreck stumbled backwards as the Queen of Hearts landed two hard jabs to his left side with the gyakute grip technique of the tonfas.

I can’t give in now, winced Shipwreck as he mustered up the strength to block and parry the Queen of Hearts’ unrelenting attacks. Shipwreck encircled the chain around his body to build momentum and then thrust it towards the Queen of Hearts’ right ankle, scooping her off balance. She countered with a strike to Shipwreck’s shoulder that he blocked. Seeing his winning opportunity, Shipwreck thrust the ball around the Queen of Heart’s wrists, tossed her forward, and then pinned her to the mat.

“That makes us even,” grinned Shipwreck as he released her and two of them walked back to their apposing sides of the sparring mat.

The Queen of Hearts said nothing in reply as she calmly assumed a neutral stance and prepared to take on Shipwreck once more. Shipwreck grinned and looped the chain around himself and charged towards her. The Queen of Hearts leapt over Shipwreck, flipped backwards, and struck his shoulder blades with her tonfas. Shipwreck staggered a few times but quickly launched the sickle behind him to snag the Queen of Hearts. She smiled in anticipation of his attack, deflecting the chain, and wrapped it around Shipwreck’s legs, tripping him up. Next, she struck him in the sides and cartwheeled in front of him. Shipwreck felt himself stagger but swung the ball towards the Queen of Hearts with all his might. Turning sideways, the Queen of Hearts slipped pass the darting ball and chain striking Shipwreck in the ankle.
Immediately, he dropped to a kneeling position while the Queen of Hearts prepared a final blow to his neck. Anticipating that she would try another final strike, Shipwreck ducked as the Queen of Hearts swung her tonfas at his head, looped the chain around her wrists, and flipped her over his head. Shipwreck smirked in satisfaction, but his cockiness lowered his ability to anticipate the Queen of Hearts round-house kick to the stomach.

As her foot slammed into his gut, Shipwreck felt his breath leave him as he dropped to the floor and began to gasp for air. The Queen of Hearts had won the third round leaving her the champion of their sparring match.

I was beaten by a rookie, thought Shipwreck between gasps as the soreness in his muscles began to subside the longer he rested on the floor.

“Pride a little hurt, Shipwreck?” teased Stalker.

Shipwreck felt like swinging a punch at Stalker for his jeering response but was too busy nursing his injuries. He knew he could still hold his own in a fight, but the sparring match had revealed areas of refinery needed in his combat technique.

“Shut up!” he said as the Queen of Hearts walked over to him and offered Shipwreck her hand to pull him up.

“Not much for chivalry are you,” taunted the Queen of Hearts, “At least lose honorably.”

Shipwreck grabbed her hand and was hoisted back onto his feet as he muttered to himself.

Grand Slam and Stalker tried not to laugh in front of Shipwreck as his pride was damaged by the loss, but every time he would turn his back to them the two of them would snicker quietly.

“I can hear ya,” called Shipwreck as he limped a bit while walking behind the Queen of Hearts as the two of them headed towards Stalker and Grand Slam.

“So now that everyone has been properly introduced,” teased Stalker, “Let’s discuss our rescue mission in detail.”

Brophy, Barry Irwin. G.I. Joe: Resurgence: Book One of the Nest Trilogy. Seattle: Amazon Kindle Worlds, 2014. Amazon ebook.


Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 33: Author Michelle Borquez Thornton

Creative Christian Moments

“Reviews of up and coming Christians in the arts community.”

Blog Article 33: Author Michelle Borquez Thornton

Around the United States of America and the world, God has been raising up warrior women to tackle the confusion of culture often indoctrinated in today’s generation. Where mantles of leadership were once mistakingly stigmatized to only male leaders, God has been shaking Christian culture with a tidal wave of women leaders sold out to the cause of the Gospel. The arguments against such female leaders by tradition holding legalistically blind challengers are quickly silenced by the devastating wake of numerous spiritual fruit, justifying the move of the Holy Spirit through these women of God. One such woman I have watched dismantle the strongholds stigmatized over women is author and speaker Michelle Borquez Thornton.

Borquez Thornton does not shy away from tough topics like divorce, abortion, lust, pride, anger, shame, and many other emotional insecurities. Rather she tackles them tenaciously through oral and written presentations demonstrating passion, punctuality, and politeness. “How do we run free if we are bound up by the chains of our past, our pain, our unforgiveness, our jealousy, fear, anger, and resentment? How do we run when there are chains of guilt, despair, regret, and shame, wrapped around our ankles? Jesus wants us to run free into His arms and yet how can we even totally grasp the boundless love, the miraculous victorious freedom He longs for us to have when we are emotionally not able to walk.” (Borquez Michelle, 2014, para. 1)

Borquez Thornton is most well known for her DVD series Live Again: Wholeness After Divorce (2013), and literary works God Crazy Freedom (2013), Forever God Crazy (2013), Live Laugh Love Again (2013), and Overcoming the Seven Deadly Emotions (2013). She has also coauthored a plethora of books with other titanic women of faith such as JoAnn Alleman, Sharon Ball Dale, Paige Henderson, Michelle Moore, Julie Terwilliger, Marcee Schneider, Kim Vastine. Other accomplishments from Borquez Thornton are she is a co-owner of Bella Style, a fashion wholesaler to nationwide spas and salons, and the founder of Shine, a publication series marketed towards women that highlights fashion, travel, and health towards women.

Most women know Borquez Thornton from a women’s conference series called God Crazy. As the executive director of God Crazy Ministries, Borquez Thornton and her eclectic team of warrior women share personal stories of overcoming impossible odds and how this impacted their walks with God. God Crazy is an immersive experience featuring intimate times of personal and corporate prayer and worship, too. The atmosphere created in this event is fostered by the Holy Spirit’s ability to ignite passion, perseverance, and endurance to women in need. Below is a feature video from their website summarizing what one can experience in attending a conference.

But most importantly, God Crazy creates an environment for God to dismantle the chains of emotional pain and wounds while allowing the occurrence of healing and restoration. In Borquez Thornton’s (2014) own words of overcoming her personal emotional battles, she describes the freedom she found in Christ and hopes to share with others. “No longer do I sit and wonder why God loves me, adores me, cares for me, no longer do I allow the accuser of the brethern to put me back where I once was for I am free from the things that bind and I am running into the arms of Jesus will full force knowing He is always there, always waiting for me to come to Him with all that I am, flaws and all” (para. 2).

You can support Borquez Thornton through prayer, purchasing one of her books of DVD series, and hosting a God Crazy Conference at your local church or ministry. Borquez Thornton and the many women pioneering in the trenches of a toxic cultural attitude towards women will continue to weave a legacy of lasting change as a demonstration of the restoring power Christ has for all of us.

Michelle Borquez Thornton’s Pages
Official Website: http://www.godcrazy.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GodCrazyWithMichelleBorquez
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Shinemichelle or http://twitter.com/godcrazy
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/shinemichelleborquez or https://www.youtube.com/user/GodCrazyMinistries
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/michelleborquez

Borquez Thornton, Michelle. “Why God Crazy?” http://www.godcrazy.org/About-God-Crazy (accessed October 8, 2014)
God Crazy Freedom Experience, YouTube, 1:02, posted by GodCrazyMinistries, August 5, 2013, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjcFV7cZXvw&list=UULfm5xfiB19UdBmZk3p-NGw (accessed October 14, 2014)
LinkedIn. “Michelle Borquez Thornton.” http://www.linkedin.com/in/michelleborquez (accessed October 8, 2014)
Shine with Michelle Borquez Thornton. Profile Portrait. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/ShineWithMichelleBorquez/photos/pb.218953014785144.-2207520000.1413318262./218981081449004/?type=3&theater (accessed October 14, 2014)

G.I. Joe: Resurgence, Book One of the Nest Trilogy (Amazon Kindle World’s Novella)

Publisher: Kindle Worlds (September 15, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon URL: http://www.amazon.com/G-I-JOE-Resurgence-Novella-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00NMQH27S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410986243&sr=8-1&keywords=gi+joe+resurgence

Book Summation:
The bond between soldiers on the battlefield is inseparable. Fighting fire fights against a common enemy forges soldiers into relationships emulating family. Fifteen years ago, that family known as G.I. Joe was dissolved as the forces of Cobra and The Coil were decimated around the world. While many Joes have moved on with their lives, others are trapped in the cages of mental illness, addiction, and regret. One such Joe segregated by his own failures of the past is Shipwreck. As a washed up crab boat captain battling post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism, Shipwreck will be thrust into circumstances calling him to face his inner demons.

When a U.S. Special Forces team is captured while trying to infiltrate a hidden network of terrorist cells around the world known as The Nest, Shipwreck will be forced to revisit memories of his past as he seeks personal redemption and purpose. Shipwreck will be joined by fellow veterans Stalker and Grand Slam as they adapt their tactics to an enemy mimicking the Cobra Manifesto. This mission appears simple but costly stakes are involved due to the covert identifies of two of the special forces soldiers: the President’s son and Shipwreck’s unknown son he has never met. Without the financial resources of the past nor the support of specific global governments, will the Joes be able to pull off this rescue mission in time?

Join veteran G.I. Joes, Stalker, Shipwreck, Grand Slam, and new comer the Queen of Hearts, as they reinstate the G.I. Joe program to combat a new generation of enemies. G.I. Joe Resurgence is the first story in The Nest Trilogy series.

Creative Christian Moments – Blog Article 32: Christian Rock Band DaysEye

Creative Christian Moments

“Reviews of up and coming Christians the arts community.”

Blog Article 32: Christian Rock Band DaysEye

When I reflect on Christian rock band DaysEye, the Holy Spirit draws me to the same passage spoken about John the Baptist in the Gospels, foretold by the prophet Isaiah. This passage reads: “A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up and every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.’ ” (Isaiah 40:3-5). Like the great desert fathers in Christian history, DaysEye joins their ranks as proverbial Christ like wells of living water in the desert producing culture of our post-Christian America.

Often rock music culture along with many other subcultures is overlooked by the religious. In their insatiable appetite for religious zeal, these leaders have forgotten the method by which this generation’s of teenagers can relate to the best: the music. If you have read my blog long enough, you know I am passionate about music because regardless of what culture one is apart of, music is such a universal language that humanity shares. So I rhetorically ask the naysayers if such a medium is so vastly understood by humanity, why are we not using this medium to share the Gospel message? As the times and tastes of culture change, the Gospel message endures in its originality while its presentation adapts as needed. DaysEye and the countless rock bands tolling the trenches of broken culture understand this importance and have gladly chosen the better choice: to enter into this local mission field to share and demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ.

DaysEye is comprised of members Travis Schooler (lead vocals/lead guitar), Mychal Fabela (rhythm guitar/ back-up vocals), Nick Carr (bass), and Alex Dean Peacock (drums). In their own words, “Dayseye has a love for the high desert and serving Jesus in the desert community of Apple Valley, [California]. Dayseye has opened up for the Christian band groups such as Seventh Day Slumber, and Air 1 band Pioneer! It’s a real blessing that we ware able to take part in the music ministry of God is constantly opening doors to witness and speak the message of hope. Our goal is to take the Gospel into all the world for those who hear it might receive it with gladness and invite Christ into their hearts” (DaysEye, 2014a, para. 2). In the behind the scene video below for their music video of “I Am Down,” you can watch them speak for themselves about their passion to share Christ through music.

Currently to date, DaysEye has released five songs entitled “Severed Lies”, “Search Lights”, “Never Ending Story”, “Here I Am”, and “I Am Down” for digital purchase through iTunes and Amazon.com. Though they have yet to produce a full album, I know with time this task shall be accomplished with gloriously fruitful results.

“Severed Lies” is probably my favorite out of the five songs posted on their DaysEye’s media pages. Given my own process of coming to faith in Christ, my heart holds a special place for music describing the self-infliction one cages themselves in as it speaks to the reality in which the entirety of humanity is before God. Like the character in this song, I possessed ramped up anger towards circumstances and relational treatment I endured but was healed from these lies by the Gospel message.

I would classify “Search Lights” as an intercession song of endurance and perseverance. The lyrics speak to themes of igniting with fire and escaping from self. Ultimately, all of us fluctuate between periods of self-doubt in our abilities at different points in our lives, forcing us to depend on a higher constant than what our senses can identify. “Here I Am” reminded me of how one is brought to the brink of change. Unlike “Severed Lies,” “Here I Am” describes the state by which one’s heart is turned towards God and the pursuit of Him begins while we continue to endure the darkness that has perverted our lives. Like this Biblical character of Job, many of us are brought through seasons in which we endured hardship without understanding only to be richly blessed afterwards by our perseverance in the pursuit of God. “Never Ending Story” spoke of the lamenting process as the song felt more of a melancholy reminder of the process of death and life. DaysEye has a music video for this song too that follows the spouse of a missing soldier from war and her reaction to the news. But like many of their songs, “Never Ending Story” alludes also to the process by which one lays down their life in the pursuit of Christ, too.

“I Am Down” is a pumped, fast paced song discussing the point of rock bottom people reach before they decide to reach for Christ. The video was shot by Stenner Productions in the desert if you remember from the video post earlier in the blog. Much of the desert imagery alludes to the parched nature by which everyone in humanity endures life until they are illuminated by the Gospel message. This imagery mixed with the throttling rock music and searcher lyrics beautifully balance the pursuit for answers for that age old human condition question of what is my purpose in life? Overall, I enjoyed all of their songs as each one spoke to specific emotional experiences people endure throughout life while also hinting at that God is the answer in these tough situations.

DaysEye has a number of ways you can support their ministry through rock music. First and foremost, cover these men in the petitioning of prayers. Next, purchase their music and merchandise through their website. DaysEye also has a Go Fund Me project where regular donations are used to go directly to music ministry as they reach out to the youth. Check back there frequently for updates and stories about how the Gospel message has impacted the various venues they play. Finally, book them at your next ministry or church event as a musical venue. Currently, DaysEye is touring with Seventh Day Slumber, Ilia, and Nine Lashes in the Small Town American Tour, so check their website to keep up to date on their next stops.

DaysEye’s Pages
Official Website: http://dayseye.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dayseyeband
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Dayseyeband
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaKp06RtcCo
ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/dayseye
Pure Volume: http://www.purevolume.com/Dayseye
Go Fund Me: http://www.gofundme.com/dayseyeband

Behind the Scenes With DaysEye Music Video Shoot “I Am Down” Feb 2014, YouTube, 10:40, posted by Vic Mendoza, February 25, 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOSV5ojAakw (accessed September 25, 2014)
DaysEye. “In a DaysEye.” http://dayseye.com/about-dayseye (accessed September 22, 2014)
DaysEye. Profile Picture. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/dayseyeband/photos/pb.425780170786255.-2207520000.1412194494./768474083183527/?type=3&theater (accessed September 29, 2014)
I AM DOWN by DAYSEYE, YouTube, 3:13, posted by Stenner Productions, March 15, 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-ysjWEqCgk (accessed September 25, 2014)
Severed Lies by DaysEye, YouTube, 3:24, posted by Stenner Productions, November 10, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz2OrM275JA (accessed September 25, 2014)