“Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 5

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Moreen clenched shut her eyes as the Illusionist made a flash bomb.

It was a handy trick, and one Moreen had told her beforehand to use the instant they entered the house if things turned hostile. Yuna’s powers were an ability to manipulate light. Most often, she bent it to create her illusions, but she could also remove it to create pitch darkness like she had earlier. Or she could do the opposite and create a quick, blinding burst of it. Moreen’s eyelids couldn’t completely block the brightness, and when she opened them, a red afterimage swam across her vision.

Men were scattered around a cozy-looking living room, covering their eyes and swearing. Moreen’s team moved in. They tackled the blinded Kurodas, knocking away weapons and wrenching arms back into handcuffs. Moreen stayed near the wall, gun out but trained on the floor as she surveyed the chaotic room. Where was Yasunaga? She scanned the wrestling bodies, aware Yuna was doing the same thing.

A figure came in through the sliding glass door on the opposite side of the room. Moreen took one look at his stylized headphones and green costume and raised her gun.

The supervillain, Howl, attacked faster. Continue reading “Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 5

Resolute Resolutions

Happy New Year

Another year, another round of new year’s resolutions. Those of you who read my post on this topic last year may remember that one of my resolutions was to publish the third book in the White Knight and Black Valentine Series, Almost Invincible, in the second half of 2016. Thanks to starting a new job that turned out to be much more stressful and time-consuming than I anticipated, that didn’t happen, and I apologize. (But I did achieve my other resolution, which was to start running Fight Crime! (A Love Story) weekly on this site. So I’m not a complete failure.)

I haven’t forgotten Almost Invincible, and I made some good progress on it over Christmas vacation. My new resolution is to publish it in the second half of this year. As a bonus, I’ll be putting out a prequel short story in the White Knight and Black Valentine Series by the end of February.

I also want to write a side story in the same universe as Ghost Machine (I’m thinking of something starring Captain Melek, because she’s awesome.), but I’m prioritizing Almost Invincible for now. I have a dozen ideas for new stories, and my hope for 2017 is that I’ll be able to carve out the time to write them all.

Happy (Belated) New Year, everybody!

“Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 4

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Val was having a surprisingly good time. Nobody ever associated hospitals with fun, but for a telepath like her, they could be particularly unpleasant. (Try blocking out the thoughts and sensations of the patient in the next room having a colonoscopy sometime. Not fun.) She had the exatrin in her system to thank for a peaceful headspace, but the main reason for her good mood was Dave.

He’d gotten her popcorn. Just a small bag of white cheddar popcorn from the vending machine outside, but it gave the room a movie theater atmosphere as they watched the soap opera. He kept up a running commentary for her, explaining backstory from previous episodes and translating dialogue she didn’t understand. (Spanish was close enough to Italian that she could get the gist of it most of the time, but she’d never studied the language.) The show was ridiculous but strangely enthralling—or maybe that was the company. She doubted it would be as much fun watching by herself. In any case, the credits rolled far too soon.

“You didn’t tell me it ended on a cliffhanger,” Val accused. “What happens next? Do they prove Maricruz is innocent?”

“Eventually. I think she spends the next three or four episodes in prison, though. Concha ends up in there, too.”

“What? No. Concha was my favorite.”

He gave her a strange look. “She just tried to poison her own husband.”

Val laughed. “I know. She’s so ambitious. I love her.” She turned down the volume as the TV went to commercial. “So who’s your favorite character? Don’t tell me it’s whatshisname the billionaire superhero love interest.” Continue reading “Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 4

This Book is Full of Ghosts

Ghost Machine CoverGhost Machine is available on Amazon now–and already a bestseller in the young adult steampunk category. Woot! Check it out here. Not sure if it’s a book you’d like? Here’s some of the stuff you’ll find inside:

  • A creepy Victorian asylum full of ghosts
  • Airship battles
  • Mad science
  • A logical heroine and Byronic hero
  • Giant killer iron automatons

Still not sure? Then read the excerpt below:

Chapter 1

The door shut behind me with a deep thud followed by a clink as the nurse locked it from the other side. A jingle of keys, a rustle of skirts, and then the nurse’s footsteps trailed off down the hallway, leaving me alone in silence.

The meat pie I’d eaten for lunch tried to make its way back up my throat. I swallowed firmly.

My new room was small and simple. The only pieces of furniture were a bed with white blankets and a battered wooden nightstand. There was a washing basin, bucket latrine, and… well, that was all. Night was approaching fast, but they hadn’t even left me a candle. The walls were gray and bare, and metal pipes ran across the ceiling. The window had cheerful yellow curtains at least, but the effect was ruined by the iron bars outside the glass.

Bars… locks… My knees shook, and the room swam dizzily before my eyes.

No. I pressed my hand against the door to steady myself. I refused to faint, no matter how ladylike and appropriate it might be in these circumstances. Continue reading This Book is Full of Ghosts

Gothic Castles, Snowy Mountains, and Deadly Iron Automatons

So 2016 is almost over, and I haven’t put out a single new book all year. (Thank you, incredibly stressful and busy new job.) Although I haven’t had much time to write, I do have a book I wrote before Hero Status that has been sitting alone and unread on my harddrive.

Say hello to Ghost Machine:

Ghost Machine Book Cover Continue reading Gothic Castles, Snowy Mountains, and Deadly Iron Automatons

“Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 3

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Moreen grudgingly admitted that Akio Yasunaga had a nice place. It was a modern, two-story, cube-shaped building with large windows and an open patio atop the flat roof. It was also floating on Lake Union.

A narrow dock led out across the water towards it and two other neighboring floating homes, and they had a breath-taking view of the night skyline on the other side of the lake. An agent had confirmed Yasunaga’s presence inside half an hour ago, and Moreen was just waiting for the harbor patrol to get into position before moving in. She waited in an unmarked police car with the Illusionist in the passenger seat. The SWAT team was in a van parked behind her, and the only sound was a frenzied tapping.

“Stop that.” Moreen glanced at Yuna’s fingers on the door handle. “You’re making me jittery.”

Yuna’s fingers went still. Ten seconds passed in almost complete silence.

“Yasunaga’s mine,” Yuna growled.

“Excuse me?” Moreen felt a headache coming on.

Yuna glared forward, though she wasn’t looking out the windshield. “When we get in there, I’m going to take Yasunaga down. He’s the one who bribed Mitch. He’s mine.”

“Yasunaga will be ‘taken down’ by whoever ends up in the best position to do it—whether that’s you, me, or another agent. You’re getting paid to do your job, not live out a personal revenge fantasy.” Continue reading “Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 3

“Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 2

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Dave realized he’d lost his mind the moment he considered buying her flowers.

He blamed it on sleep-deprivation. The time difference meant he’d woken up at four in the morning, and it had been a long day of non-stop meetings, murder investigations, and fights. Then it was straight to the hospital to make sure the Black Valentine didn’t try anything funny like stealing all the drugs in the building while the doctors treated her. Her bullet wound wasn’t serious. Dave had seen friends and colleagues with worse, but that didn’t mean surgery wouldn’t hurt like hell, especially since she couldn’t take any anesthesia. The way she’d clenched shut her eyes as they stitched her up gave Dave an idiotic urge to punch the doctors for hurting her.

Now, Val rested in bed, and Dave stood guard—or sat guard, rather. He sat near her bed, drinking a cup of coffee a nurse had brought him, and as he gazed around the bland, private room, the thought crossed his mind that it could use some flowers.

It was a stupid idea for so many reasons. First, he didn’t exactly carry his wallet around when he was in costume. Second, even if he did have money, he’d have to leave Val unguarded to go downstairs to the gift shop. Third, he was in costume, and the moment someone spotted White Knight holding a bouquet, the tabloids would explode with speculation. And why would he even consider buying a supervillain flowers? If this was Pretty Boy Jeffries, the idea would be ridiculous. Was he only feeling sorry for Val because she was a woman? He pictured Madam Guillotine lying in bed instead, and the urge disappeared. So it was just Val, then.

“There’s nothing on,” Val groaned. She held the remote to the small, cheap TV on the counter across from her bed and was flipping through the channels. Continue reading “Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 2