“Tick, Tick, Boom!” – Part 1

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Valentina Belmonte was waiting for a police van. She stood in an alley between two warehouses, drinking a mango smoothie as she watched cars pass by. Some kind of office building stood across the cracked, pothole-filled street. She should have talked her way in there and waited in the air-conditioning. The shade from the warehouses brought the temperature down from ninety to maybe eighty-eight. Summer in Florida. How the heck did other supervillains work here?

If this were any other job, she’d be in costume, but her costume had long pants, knee-high boots, and no small amount of black leather. She’d have gotten heatstroke twenty minutes ago if she’d worn that thing. So today, the Black Valentine was breaking the law in her civvies: the shortest pair of denim shorts she could find and a sleeveless shirt that showed off her midriff. And as a bonus, she didn’t have to worry about anyone spotting a masked supervillain and calling the cops.

Not that there were many people around to notice her. Two men had come out of the warehouse for a smoke break about twenty minutes ago, but Val had telepathically convinced them to ignore her and hadn’t had any trouble since. She sucked on the straw of her smoothie, trying to get the last bit of mango goodness from the bottom of the cup. Sweat dripped down the nape of her neck despite her hair being pulled up in a ponytail, and her skin felt sticky and gross. Once this job was over, she was celebrating with a dip in a pool somewhere.

A wolf whistle cut through the ambient noise of the street, directed at a woman passing by on the sidewalk. “Hey, honey!” the younger of the two warehouse workers called. “You’re looking sexy today. Where are you going?” The woman sped up, her mix of anger, shame, and fear hitting Val’s telepathic senses like a wave. “You’re just gonna ignore me?” the man hollered at her retreating back. “Learn to take a compliment, bitch!” He went back to talking with the other man, who was chuckling. Continue reading “Tick, Tick, Boom!” – Part 1

Fight Crime! (A Love Story)

Fight Crime! coverDavid Del Toro just wants to make the world a better place. It would be nice if he could find a way to do that without punching people, but as the superhero White Knight, that’s kind of in the job description.

Valentina Belmonte has one small, simple goal: to be the greatest supervillain who ever lived. Unfortunately, meddlesome heroes and her own backstabbing allies aren’t exactly making that goal easy to achieve.

The two of them really shouldn’t fall for each other, but even with incredible superpowers, they just can’t fight true love. Yet if they want to survive long enough to be together, they’ll have to battle invisible assassins, their own personal failings, and a power-hungry, ruthless crime lord who can kill with a single touch.

Fight Crime! (A Love Story) is an online serial beginning Monday, June 27th, at kristenbrand.com.

2016 Plans

It’s not too late for new year’s resolutions, right? Right.

In 2015, I released Villainous, and wow, that book gave me a lot of trouble. In 2016, I’m planning to be more ambitious.

In the first half of the year, I’m going to start releasing Fight Crime! (A Love Story), a serialized prequel to The White Knight and Black Valentine series that will update twice a week on this website. You may have caught a sneak peak of this at the end of Villainous.

Then, in the second half of the year, I’ll come out with Almost Invincible, book three in the series, which will take us back to Dave’s POV.

So yeah! This is double my output compared to the past two years, and I’m definitely not posting my plan publicly to prevent me from going back on it at a later date. 😉 You’ll get two projects from me this year. No take-backs!

Villainous News & Interview

Villainous has broken into the top 100 in Amazon’s superhero category. (It’s hanging out at #56 at the time of this writing.) Thank you everybody for helping it get there!

And the super cool Amberly Smith has an interview with me up on her website here. We talk about Hero Status, comic books, and sharks with laser vision! Check it out if you like any of those things.

Villainous Cover Reveal

I’ve kept you guys waiting for this one for a while, but here it is. The final cover for Villainous:

Villainous Cover

I’m scheduled to send the book off to my editor at the end of this month and should hopefully have it finished and up on Amazon by the end of September. This is a little later than I’d hoped to have it out, so thank you all for your patience! I’ll be posting a preview chapter soon, and in the meantime, here’s a rough blurb of the plot:

 

Valentina Belmonte isn’t evil anymore—honest. She’s hung up her supervillain costume, retired to Florida with her family, and hasn’t committed a crime in years. (Well, not a felony. What’s a misdemeanor here and there if you don’t get caught?) Val’s practically a model citizen these days; this time, it’s her goody-two-shoes former superhero of a husband who’s in trouble with the law. He saved her life two months ago—and committed a spectacular amount of property damage and assault along the way. The feds won’t press charges…as long as Val does something for them in exchange.

Apparently, an old friend of hers is importing a deadly drug that gives people temporary psychic powers. The feds want to send in Val with a wire to get evidence to bring him down. Sounds simple enough, so of course it blows up in her face. Her best lead dies mysteriously in custody, and Val nearly follows him to the grave. The feds are clueless as usual, but Val’s not used to being out-played at her own game. She’s worried she’s lost her touch since retirement, but if she doesn’t get the feds the evidence they need, her husband will end up rotting in one of the most hellish prisons in the country…

News and Links

Hero Status has been out for about two months now, and it’s still hanging in there on Amazon’s bestseller list for superhero fiction! This completely blows my mind and smashes my expectations for this book (granted, my expectations were very, very low, but still).

Hero Status has also gotten some great reviews, one from the Open Book Society here, and another at My Train of Thoughts here.

I’ve got an article up on Superhero Nation here about using sensory details to enrich your story. It’s a great website for writers in general and writers of superhero fiction in particular, so check it out.

And finally, Hero Status was the fantasy pick last month at SciFi Fantasy Freak, which is a handy resource for new, free, and discounted spec fic ebooks.

And that’s it for now! Time for me to get back to work on Villainous.