“Parade of Fools” – Part 8

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Dazed, Dave tried to figure out which way was up. After a moment, he realized he was lying on his back, and after another moment, he remembered how he’d gotten there. He was wet, and the feeling of damp hair and water on his face made him want to vomit up breakfast. He swallowed, his breaths shallow, and shifted under the rubble. He wasn’t buried too deep. He could see sunlight above him, and the weight on his chest didn’t feel heavy.

Then he heard the screaming.

The crowd must have been screaming all along, but he only now noticed it. The sound spurred him to action. He pushed away the pieces of metal covering him and sat up. He was inside the float, the fake buildings having collapsed in on themselves. He scrambled to climb out and see what was going on. When he reached the top, it was to find a very different street from the one he’d left.

The crowd that had been squished together like sardines on the sidewalk had broken apart. They were fleeing frantically, ducking into stores or dashing down side streets. A few prone bodies lay amid the discarded bags and litter, people who hadn’t moved fast enough and must have gotten trampled. A person having a panic attacked crouched next to a lamppost, and a small child who’d gotten separated from his parents cried loudly. And there were a few people—there were always a few people—who stayed recklessly behind to watch the supervillain in the wetsuit standing in the middle of the street. Continue reading

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Almost Invincible Sneak Peak

We’re two weeks away from Almost Invincible‘s September 30th release date, so to celebrate, here’s an exclusive sneak peak at the first chapter. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Almost Invincible Banner

Chapter 1

Seven years ago…

 

My skull hit the pavement with a meaty crack, and my vision went blurry. As lightning pain shot through my head, it was all I could do to lie there wincing for several seconds. Eventually, I blinked and tried to refocus, my brain feeling like raw egg sloshing around inside my skull. But White Knight, said a voice in my head that sounded like a particularly annoying reporter who’d once interviewed me. You have super-strength. Surely, it couldn’t hurt that much. Yeah, I had super-strength, but that didn’t stop my nerve endings from sending pain signals to my brain, and right now, they were firing at a 110 percent.

I pushed myself up dizzily and found the pavement smashed into pieces where I’d fallen. Okay, maybe it was a good thing I had superpowers. Otherwise, my head would have burst like a piñata on impact. Noise assaulted my ears: shrieking police sirens and the steady whump-whump-whump of helicopters overhead. I hoped they belonged to the government and not a news channel recording this horror show. Union Square came into focus as my vision cleared, eerily deserted for mid afternoon except for the corpses of those who hadn’t escaped in time. They were scattered across the grass and walkways, blood pooling on the plaza. The closest to me was a leg. It had belonged to a woman wearing sandals and was ripped off from the knee down, toenails painted light pink and fair skin splattered with more blood. The coppery stench saturated the muggy summer air.

The Capitol Building stood proudly in the distance to my right, the turbid waters of the Capitol Reflecting Pool to my left, and twenty feet in front of me loomed the monster that had done this. Ten feet tall and composed of pale light that formed the shape of a man, he was difficult to see in the bright sunshine. That was problem number one. Problem number two was that nothing we’d done seemed to hurt him. Whatever he was, he’d shown up out of nowhere and hadn’t even made the traditional supervillain speech before destroying everything in his path. He moved fast for something so big, and he was currently advancing on a slender figure in a bright orange and blue uniform.

Julio. Continue reading

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Turn Back the Pages: Runaways

Turn Back the Pages is a biweekly feature where I spotlight a comic that is not fresh and new. It may have come out a few months ago or even a few years ago. Maybe it was hyped and popular, or maybe it was an underappreciated gem. Whatever the case, it’ll be a great comic that’s well worth a read.

Runaways Cover

With a TV series in the works and Marvel relaunching a new monthly comic written by Rainbow Rowell, now seems like a good time to talk about Runaways.

The comic’s premise is simple and fantastic: six kids learn their parents are in a supervillain cabal after spying them murder a girl in an occult sacrifice. The kids then make the very reasonable decision to run away from home.

Run Away Gif

It’s definitely a high-concept premise, but what made the series so great was it’s relatable, complex characters. The six original Runaways are:

  • Alex Wilder: geeky gamer and teen genius, he’s the leader of the Runaways and the son of two mafia bosses.
  • Nico Minoru: goth girl and the daughter of two evil sorcerers. She comes to wield a magic staff that allows her to cast any spell, but only once.
  • Gertrude Yorkes: sarcastic, cynical daughter of sinister time travelers. Rocks purple hair and gets a pet raptor.
  • Karolina Dean: free-spirited vegetarian and lesbian who learns she’s an alien composed of rainbow light. Daughter of two other rainbow light aliens who are evil invaders.
  • Chase Stein: rule-breaking jock whose bad grades disappoint his mad scientist parents. Steals the Fistigons, a high-tech gauntlet, from his dad.
  • Molly Hayes: adorable preteen with super-strength and invulnerability, daughter of evil mutants. She wears cute hats and totally punched Wolverine through a wall once.

Continue reading

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“Parade of Fools” – Part 7

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Mr. Glenn Sherman had a pretty nice car. It was an SUV with genuine leather seats, high tech climate control, and a spacious interior that was spotless. But the most important feature was the tinted windows. Val sat in the middle seat next to Blueblood, Joey and two of Blueblood’s men crammed into the back. The SUV stopped at the guard booth outside DSA headquarters, and Val focused on the thoughts of both Sherman and the guard, making sure neither of them noticed there were passengers in the car.

She couldn’t fool the security camera perched over the booth, hence the need for tinted windows. She and the others waited in silence as the guard said good morning and scanned Sherman’s ID card. The proper information came up on the computer, and Val didn’t have to work hard to pull the mental wool over guard’s eyes. Mr. Sherman was a well-known bigwig here. The guard didn’t give him much scrutiny.

The guard handed the ID card back, and the orange and white striped bar in front of the car rose, letting Sherman drive into the parking lot.

Too easy. Continue reading

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Almost Invincible Cover Reveal

It’s finally here! I’ve been anxiously awaiting the moment when I could show this to you guys, and that moment has arrived at last. I’ve been considering the cover for Almost Invincible for a while now and debating different ideas to go with. I think this book is even more fast-paced and brutal than Hero Status and Villainous, so I wanted a cover that had a thriller feel while still keeping that superhero vibe.

I think the final cover really nails it, and I’m super happy with the result. What do you guys think?

Almost Invincible Cover

A theme park turns into a death-trap of sadistic supervillains…

White Knight is the most popular superhero in the country—which is bad news for David Del Toro, formerly White Knight, who retired from heroics years ago and just wants some peace and quiet. When the White Knight ride at a superhero-inspired theme park has a grand reopening, Dave is more than happy to pass off his complimentary tickets to his daughter and her friends and spend the day at home. But then the park gets taken hostage by supervillains.

The man known as Bloodbath spent the last decade in a maximum-security prison and blames White Knight for putting him there. He’s given an ultimatum: the hero comes to face him, or he’ll kill every tourist in the park. Dave barely managed to beat Bloodbath while in his prime and doesn’t like his chances now that he’s old and busted. But unless he does something, every innocent person in the park is going to die…including his daughter.

Almost Invincible hits the Amazon Kindle store on September 30th. Follow this blog or my account on Twitter to get notified as soon as it goes on pre-order.

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (9/7/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

Author Jenn Gott wrote a list of recommended superhero novels that inspired her while she was writing The Private Life of Jane Maxwell. The titles are definitely worth checking out—as is her debut superhero novel.

The Halloween-themed anthology Witch or Treat has a short story by Joynell Schultz, The Supernatural Life of a Superhero Wife, which ties in to the world of her upcoming novel, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives. You can grab another of her short stories, The Stellar Life of a Superhero Wife, for free by signing up for the author’s mailing list on Instafreebie.

Intuitive Writing Guide recently posted an article titled Genre 101: Superhero, summarizing superhero fiction as a genre. Do you agree with the classification and list of common tropes?

Ravenclaw Book Geek wrote a review of Vicious by V.E. Schwab, which isn’t a new release but one of those acclaimed superhero novels that I can’t believe I haven’t read yet.

Blots of Ink & Words has an interview with April Daniels, author of Dreadnought and Sovereign. There’s also a giveaway that you have two more days to enter to win copies of the books.

Big congratulations to Martin Von Cannon, who has been posting superhero short stories to his website for two years as of yesterday. Here’s to another two years and beyond!

Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!

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“Parade of Fools” – Part 6

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

Dave’s cheeks were starting to hurt from smiling so much. The parade float continued its slow progress down the street with him on top, a chilly wind whipping past him. The high school marching band was on their fourth cycle of the same three songs they’d been playing all morning, and their steps were starting to drag. Dave should be grateful; at least he didn’t have to walk the whole way. But he just wanted to climb down from this damn thing and sit alone somewhere quiet.

The noise was the worst. The screams and cheers of the crowd packed onto the sidewalks merged into one never-ending roar. He wouldn’t be able to escape it even if he covered his hands with his ears. He waved steadily, keeping his smile in place and hoping everyone was far enough away not to notice that it was actually a grimace. The countless faces stared up at him, shouting his name. They held up hand-made signs proclaiming, “White Knight = Invincible” or “We ♥ You!” in marker and glitter, shaking them in a bid for his attention. They jumped up and down and waved their hands wildly, stomping and shouting until the movement all blurred together into one writhing mass.

Dave gripped the railing with his free hand as his waving slowed. Vertigo hit him, making him sway. The air had felt so chill before, but now he was roasting. He would have tugged at his collar if he had a hand to spare. He kept waving, but the movement had turned jerky, and he struggled to keep his head held high and the smile tight across his face. The street was swimming out of focus, and he wanted to squeeze shut his eyes. Continue reading

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New Superhero Fiction Releases for August

Hey, superhero fiction fans! August was a great month for the genre, and I’ve rounded up a ton of awesome new releases (though inevitably, I’m sure I’ve missed some). As usual, I haven’t read all these books personally, so be sure to read the samples and reviews before buying.

Transference

by Kate Jonuska

Transference cover

Professionally ruined, morally bankrupt and reflexively snarky, psychiatrist Derek Verbenk is a f*ck-up by even his own measure. Ethical transgressions have sentenced the once ambitious doctor to a career handing out prescriptions to rich housewives from his home office in Cherry Creek — until a new patient with a newfound power turns Verbenk’s life upside down and his soul inside out. Romping through Denver, breaking through barriers of privacy, social isolation and even politics, Transference is an odd-couple quest toward redemption full of wicked humor and radical honesty.

Amazon

Masked (Superheros Undercover Book 1)

by J.D. Wright

Masked Cover

Vada’s To-Do List:

– Turn 18 (check!)

– Register super name

– Order supersuit

– Attend superhero indoctrination

– Graduate high school

– Start kicking criminal tail

Vada Lawson can’t wait to be a superhero. Born into a family with special powers, she’s been training to fight criminals and villains her whole life. But her indoctrination into the underground super community is derailed when normals start breaking out in superpowers themselves.

Not trained to control their new abilities, the normals are frightened and vulnerable. Then their mutilated corpses begin turning up all over town. What the heck?

Somehow, with the help—and hindrance—of an annoying newly-minted super named Orion, Vada has to stop the chaos before it destroys her and everything she holds dear…and ruins her superhero debut.

Amazon

The Fiasco In News

by Stephan Morse

The Fiasco in News Cover

When you’ve seen as many catastrophes as I have, “disaster” becomes a relative term. But when disaster hits, feel free to do what I do—hang your head while waiting for the tight-wearing crowd to arrive. That only works if your super power is the same one I have though. I’m an immortal walking magnet for superpowered problems.

This new guy, Ted—a fake part-time villain who’s in it for the ratings and excitement—wants me to be a field correspondent for his news blog, and his offer sounds good. If I can’t beat ’em, expose ’em. The problem is he has no idea what my daily life is like.

No one really does—but they’ll learn.

Amazon

First Job (Minimum Wage Sidekick Book 1)

by Lucas Flint

First Job Cover

In a world where superheroes are a business, sixteen-year-old Alex Fry gets the dream job of teenagers everywhere when he is hired by the famous superhero Rubberman as his sidekick. As Rubberman’s sidekick, Alex hopes to not only learn how to use his powers, but also save up enough money to buy his first car before he heads off to college.

But Alex gets more than he bargains for when a powerful supervillain with mysterious connections to Rubberman’s past appears in his city with a dangerous agenda. Now Alex must master his powers in time to help Rubberman defeat this supervillain before he succeeds in his vile plans.

Yet when Alex learns about the darker side of the superhero industry, he finds himself unsure whether to keep working for Rubberman or to stand against him for the greater good. If Alex makes the wrong choice, it will change his life—and the fate of his hometown—forever.

Amazon

Modified: Volume 1

by Kat Stiles

Modified Cover

Kate has enough problems – a boss that’s a little too friendly, a sex life that’s non-existent, and a cat with zero tolerance for late meals. The last thing she needs is to be kidnapped, even if it is by a hot Brit.

Afterwards, she’s mysteriously returned and has no memory of what happened. She learns, with the help of an eccentric sexy woman, that she’s been modified – given a power unique to her talents. Sounds cool, right? It would be if she knew how to use it without killing everyone around her…

Modified is a funny, sexy, geeky romp about the trouble of acquiring an unexpected and inherently evil super power. With offbeat characters, profanity, and a healthy dose of salacious thoughts, it’s an entertaining short read, volume one of a serial type series.

Pick up your copy today and get Modified!

Reader Discretion is Advised: If you are offended by strong language or sexual situations, for the love of God don’t buy this book.

Amazon

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“Parade of Fools” – Part 5

Fight Crime! BannerFirst time reading? Start at the beginning here.

“So when are you going to tell me the plan?” Val asked.

She was sitting with her feet propped up on a table in a penthouse apartment in Washington DC. A large TV showed news coverage of the parade—not that they needed it; they were sitting a few blocks away from the actual event. Still, it had been nice to see the interview with White Knight. Blueblood had glared murderously at the screen throughout the whole two minutes of it, making Val work hard to hide her smile. Dave looked good. It was all an act for the public, of course, but at least he’d recovered enough to fake it. That was a big difference from the last time she’d seen him, when his trauma had been raw.

She savored seeing him on TV, knowing it was the closest she’d get to him for a long time. She almost wished Blueblood would send her to attack him today. Not that she wanted to attack him, but it would be an excuse to get close it him. A small thrill shot through her at the thought, but it wasn’t meant to be. She was stuck with Blueblood today.

“I’ve told you the plan,” Blueblood answered, delicately cleaning a pistol.

“You’ve told me what we’re doing, not why.” Continue reading

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Last Week in Superhero Fiction (8/24/17)

Superhero Fiction News Graphic

There’s only a few weeks left to enter the Goodreads giveaway for J.D. Wright’s upper YA superhero novel, Masked.

Speaking of Goodreads giveaways, here’s another for The Phobia of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell that’s still open to enter.

Stitch’s Media Mix has posted an incredibly thought-provoking and in-depth review of the bestselling Miles Morales: Spider-Man novel by Jason Reynolds.

You can now grab a free copy of Agent: Empowered by Dale Ivan Smith on Instafreebie.

Wonder Woman: Warbound by Leigh Bardugo comes out on August 29th. You can read a review at A Cupcake and a Latte and check out the author’s tour schedule to see if she’s coming to a bookstore near you.

Dave Higgins has posted a review of Friend or Foe: A Menopausal Superhero Short Story Collection by Samantha Bryant.

Lexie Dunne announced the fourth book in her Superhero Anonymous series, titled #HeroFail. You can read the full announcement and book blurb in her August newsletter.

 

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