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
Ghost 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:
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
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:
Continue reading Gothic Castles, Snowy Mountains, and Deadly Iron Automatons
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 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
Moreen let the silence stretch. Silence made people nervous. It made them babble in an attempt to fill it, and that babbling often gave her the exact information she needed.
Mitchell Andrews, aka Lightblade, wasn’t bothered by the silence. He stared vacantly at his lap and looked as if he hadn’t even noticed she’d sat down. The stubble that had been on his face when she’d met him earlier that same day seemed longer and scruffier now, standing out starkly against his sallow skin.
The interrogation room was small and plain: a table in between them, two chairs to sit on, a locked door, and a two-way mirror. Moreen had been in dozens of rooms like this, and so had Lightblade, though he’d probably never been the one handcuffed to the table before.
“So,” she said. “Why’d you do it?”
It seemed to take him a great effort to focus his eyes on her. After a long moment, he asked, “Does it matter?”
“I’ll let you know after you tell me.”
His pause extended into a long, solid silence. When his eyes started to lose focus again, Moreen spoke.
“You know you have the right to a lawyer.”
He shook his head.
“Then why not talk?” she asked. “Help me understand.” Continue reading “Dave and Val Watch Soap Operas” – Part 1
It had rained here earlier, wherever “here” was. JB could smell it in the air when the car door opened. He unfolded his cane and stepped out, and sure enough, he stepped in a puddle. Water splashed onto the bottom of his expensive new pants and dampened his socks. He was probably going to make squelching sounds when he walked now.
“Here,” Eddy grunted, taking his arm. Others were getting out of the car, too, their splashing footsteps all around. Eddy guided him up a step onto a sidewalk, and they started walking.
“Do you, uh, know who we’re taking you to?” Eddy asked in a low voice.
“Blueblood,” JB answered. He’d known for days.
“And you know about him?”
JB shrugged. “He’s a supervillain. Can kill people by touching them. And he’s actually blue or something.”
“I’m talking about the important stuff.”
“The fact that he can kill me just by touching me isn’t important?” Continue reading “Two Eyeballs and a Gun” – Epilogue