Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on ye Olde blog. And I’m sure one, maybe two, of you have wondered what in the wide world of sports has kept me away. Well, honestly, a lot. But, mostly the launch of LARRIKINbooks, my small, independent publishing company.

LARRIKINbooks officially launched near the end of January. Our first release, Deviltry by S. E. Lehenbauer, is a novella-length mashup of wild western heroes and space opera tropes. It’s available at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Or, if you’re the type that loves a good deal then you can pick up a free copy at Story Cartel. All I ask in return is an honest review. Hit me up on twitter or send an email to Larrikinbooks at Gmail with your review addy and I’ll set you up with a digital copy of Bad Medicine, the second book of The Wanderlust Adventures, once it’s released.

While you’re at it, why not jump over to the LARRIKINbooks website and sign up for the monthly newsletter. Each issue will feature a book review, writing prompts for the Word Monkeys among you, and updates on coming releases. If you’re into science fiction, steampunk, weird westerns, and fantasy then you’re gonna love where LARRIKINbooks will take you.

Thanks for reading.

blackwhiteGage Malloy crosses the floor of The Foundry Bar to the open front door. The few people milling about on the streets outside pay him little attention. It’s still warm for December and they’ve got other places to be. There’s moisture in the air and clouds rolling in from the west promising an evening storm, and those people passing by, they can sense it coming; so best hurry before getting caught up in something unhealthy.

Standing there in the doorway Gage squints up at the afternoon sky. He can feel it too. An ominous tingle below the skin. But he’s not concerned. The bar is his, free and clear, always a haven from the raging storms.

“Hey, you think you could get me another drink?”

Gage glances back into the bar. It’s cool and dim inside. Not much to look at. The furniture has seen better days, but it’ll do until Gage can salvage better. The crowd’s light this afternoon and scattered around the place; A couple paired off back in the corner booth, quiet and keeping to themselves; A knot of teenagers throwing darts and being loud like teenagers tend to be; the barflies sit at the bar, empty stools between them, keeping what ails them personal and private.

“Today maybe?”

Then there’s Steve, The Foundry’s one true show-boat. Twenty-four years old and already half a step from the grave. If the alcohol don’t kill him one of his Tip’s will. Steve’s a Crown, and a dirty, two-timing one at that. Around Chalk Street word gets around a Crown is skimming or double dipping it’s not long before his whole outfit is wiped. (more…)

Forsyte sat in the driver’s seat of Hughes’ limousine gazing out at the rain-soaked streets of Rooks Port. He leaned back and listened to the rhythmic ping-ping of raindrops as they fell against the roof of the car, watched the water roll down the windshield like tears. He smiled.

Nearly an hour ago Hughes had ordered him to return to the manor with the limo. But Forsyte, whose name wasn’t really Alex Duffey, had prior orders that countermanded those issued by Hughes. So he’d waited until the limo had traveled three blocks and then he had made his move.

“Pull over, please,” Forsyte said. “I think I’m going to be ill.”

Forsyte had feigned sickliness for the past two years just for this moment. Troy, Hughes’ personal driver for the past five years, didn’t even hesitate. He directed the limousine to the curb and brought it to a stop. Huddled over, one arm across his stomach, Forsyte struggled with the door.

“I’ll get the door for you,” Troy said as he opened his own door and climbed from the driver’s seat.

Forsyte watched as Troy moved around the car. Then, the door opened and Forsyte stumbled out. Troy caught him under one arm and steadied him. Surreptitiously, Forsyte glanced around to be certain no one was out; the streets were deserted. He quickly took hold of Troy’s arm and pulled him roughly forward. Taken by surprise, Troy staggered, completely thrown off balance. Then Forsyte twisted Troy’s arm and spun him against the limo, the sudden impact forcing the air from his lungs. As Troy struggled to catch his breath, Forsyte pinned his arm behind him and slapped a cuff around his wrist. Then, in an instant, he had the other arm and cuffed that wrist as well.

Troy was still gasping for air as Forsyte yanked the chain between the cuffs with one hand and pulled backwards. His other hand firmly on the back of Troy’s head, Forsyte forced him over at the waist. Then, with a quick shove, sent him sprawling, face-first, into the passenger area of the limo. Forsyte climbed in behind him and pulled the door shut.

“Don’t worry. I’m not here for you,” Forsyte told Troy as he helped him to sit upright. “I just need a bit of information.”

Troy pulled away and moved across the seat to prop against the other door. He was still too disoriented to do any more than that. But, just in case Forsyte was reading the situation wrong, he drew a .45 from under his jacket, slid the safety off as he held it up for Troy’s benefit, then laid it across his lap. Troy’s eyes went wide; his body tensed as he pushed himself back harder against the door.

“What’s with the—“ 

“A precaution,” Forsyte cut in. “I just need you to answer one question for me.”

Troy relaxed a little, but his eyes remained fixed on the .45. “What do you want to know?”

“The truth,” Forsyte said, and then lashed out with a quick punch to Troy’s temple. Troy collapsed, unconscious.

Forsyte slid the gun back into its holster under his jacket. He reached over and pulled Troy down onto his back and then, leaning over Troy’s body, he placed his hands on either side of Troy’s head. He closed his eyes and concentrated.

Telepathy was sometimes a side effect of a cognitive ability, but in Forsyte’s case it was a very minor side effect; one that he’d kept hidden from his employer. With some effort and mental strain, his mind’s eye gazed into the dulled thoughts of the chauffeur. And there, in the psychic maelstrom of Troy’s mind, he found the information he needed: the location of the rendezvous point.

Forsyte released his hold on Troy’s head and moved to the other end of the seat. He dragged a sleeve across his wet brow, wiping the beads of sweat away. Then he pulled a cell phone from a pocket and dialed a number from memory. The line rang once, clicked, went silent for one brief second, and then beeped.

Quickly, but succinctly, he spoke into the phone. “Agent Bryce. Field designation: Forsyte. Operation Nineteen-A slash Zero Seven. Converge at Erin and Adams. ETA: forty minutes.”

He ended the call and slid the phone back into a pocket. Then, after attending to a few other small details, Forsyte had driven the limo to the rendezvous point where Hughes would be expecting Troy to be waiting.

Now he sat quietly in the limo and thought, finally. For the past two years he’d pretended to be someone he wasn’t; little more than a glorified bloodhound on Hughes’ payroll. As an undercover operative for HAVEN – the Homeland Agency for Vigilance and Engagement – Forsyte had infiltrated Hughes’ network, all in hopes of securing a book that was rumored to be a powerful artifact. And now it seemed that he was only minutes away from completing his assignment.

A knock against the tinted driver’s window brought Forsyte out of his reverie. He glanced over at the digital clock set in the dash of the limousine. Prompt, as always, he thought. Exactly thirty minutes ago Hughes’ concise message had come over the commlink.

Another knock, this one more urgent.

Forsyte checked to be certain of the contents of his jacket pocket, then took a deep breath to strengthen his resolve.

“Well, I suppose it’s time to formally tender my resignation,” he mumbled as he pulled gloves onto his hands. He flipped up the hood of his jacket, opened the door and stepped out to face Hughes.

Thin clouds moved across the full moon, dimming the scattered light that found its way down between the densely packed buildings to the streets below. Deepening shadows crowded the edges of the narrow roadway. Silence hung heavy over this part of the city; no clamorous car horns, no people milling to and fro in the darkness. The only sound was the quiet tread of tires as the limousine made its way through the back streets of Rooks Port.

Thomas Hughes regarded the young man sitting at his side. Alex Duffey, or Forsyte, as he preferred to be called, wasn’t particularly impressive. He was short and slender, seemingly frail in his gray suit. His face was gaunt and unnaturally pale, and his eyes vague.

“You’re sure this is it?” Hughes asked.

Forsyte leaned against the tinted glass and gazed out into the night. Hughes watched as he raised his face to the sky and closed his eyes. Both sat silently until, finally, Forsyte opened his eyes.

“Just a little further,” he said, and then turned away from the window to look down at his feet.

Forsyte had come to Hughes two years ago looking for a job. He was a Metanorm, a child of the flux, born with abilities beyond those of a normal man. Forsyte’s particular gift was some sort of psychic cognition; a knack for just knowing things. Hughes had hired him on the spot, and then proceeded to take advantage of his special ability to seek the whereabouts of Hughes’ own personal “Holy Grail”, The Codex Penumbrae; a book rumored to contain the ancient arts of the shadows. Of course there had been false leads and erroneous information, but those had merely served as a process of elimination.

And tonight? Hughes wondered, as he turned to stare out the window.

The limousine had passed through University Square and now moved carefully down a litter-strewn alley somewhere in the vicinity of Winston Street.

“How much further?” Hughes asked his driver.

“We’re here,” came the reply. “The Aulberge Hotel.” (more…)

For those of you not following along with the Freaks and Weeping Children Kickstarter campaign I’d like to introduce one of the contributing authors appearing in the anthology.

Jamie Wyman

What was the first work you sold? How did it happen?

First work I sold was a short story for the anthology When the Hero Comes 2. I’d submitted my debut novel to Gabrielle Harbowy at Dragon Moon Press. Even though we ultimately didn’t publish that together, she contacted me a few months later with an invitation to be part of the anthology. I wrote “The Clever One” and sent it off. A month later, I had an acceptance in my inbox. (Consequently, I think I signed that contract the same week I signed the contract with Entangled Publishing for my debut novel Wild Card.)

What’s the hardest thing about being a writer?

It changes from day to day. Some days it’s staying focused. Other days it’s getting past the cycle of “this sucks! No, it’s the best thing in the world!” Most often, though, I think the hardest part is remembering that nothing happens overnight. I’m an impatient Aries and I may not always know what I want, but I know I want it *now*! Patience is not my virtue, but being a writer requires a zen-like calm sometimes. That’s hard for me.

Tell us about your favorite book.

Oh geeze…

Honestly, it’s a toss-up between two:

Fool by Christopher Moore and Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer-Bradley.

Fool is a re-telling of Shakespeare’s King Lear as told from the jester’s point of view. It’s not a departure from Moore’s other works, but rather seeing his trademark wit and color in Elizabethan garb. The characters are alive and the laughs don’t stop. It highlights Moore’s gift for using humor to tell a very deep, emotional story. One of his best.

Mists of Avalon is the Arthurian legend retold to focus on the women rather than the King and his Companions. I read this book every year and every time I come away with a new appreciation for something I hadn’t noticed on an earlier read. It’s timeless. It’s heartbreaking. It’s beautifully told.

Who has been the biggest influence on your writing?

Wow, again with trying to pick just one…Probably Christopher Moore, honestly. Again, I absolutely love the way he can write dick jokes and have you wetting yourself with laughter all while telling the story of the Crucifixion (Lamb). His use of humor, vulgarity and satire are masterful. Also, having met him, I have to say he’s just an awesome guy.

Any ideas for your Freaks and Weeping Children story? If so, can you give us a blurb?

So far, the piece is still hot, molten idea-slag waiting to coalesce into story.

Beyond those five things, where can people find you on the internet?

Website & Blog: www.jamiewyman.com

Twitter: @BeegirlBlue

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jamie-Wyman/245049885569291

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7234286.Jamie_Wyman

Decided what to do with the snippet of story I posted earlier. Over on Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds site he’s running a unique kind of Flash Fiction Challenge. Post 200 words this week. Next five weeks someone else will (hopefully) add 200 words to your work. When the five weeks are through five authors have collaborated on a 1k flash story.

So, I give you my 200 words (whittle down from the original 393.) I can’t wait to see what direction this story takes. I’ll leave it untitled because, well, 200 words.

 

“Casey’s Jersey City crew got careless,” Says Bossman. “Zombies flooded three sites. Two  held them back but we blew the third. Horde made it up four flights and we couldn’t risk it. All told, probably lost fifty people.”
 
Bossman looks at me, gin blossoms reddening. The skin around his eyes draws tight, his hands, resting on the desk between us, clench, unclench. “Go find Casey. You ask him how he nearly lost three buildings. Then, once he answers, you make certain it doesn’t happen again.”
 
“Yes, sir,” I say.
 
Boss nods, quick, but the tears never leave his eyes. I turn and make for the stairs. How do I make fifty deaths count for something? These weren’t soldiers or made-men. These were men, women, and children, each under the protection of the Poverelli family. Fifty dead. And I gotta go make it fifty-one.
 
Name’s Blaylock, but everybody calls me Block. The name suits me. I’m muscle for the Family. It’s my job to make sure none of these mooks foul up and let the dead run riot over our rooftop paradise.
 
Here, it ain’t the zombies on the streets you gotta worry about. It’s the guy beside ya still breathing.

25 Favorite Books

Posted: October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
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So, Joe Hill listed his top 50 books. I made an attempt to do the same. My list grew slowly and I managed to count 40. So, in the interest of brevity I give you my list of 25.

These books are listed in no particular order as I could never choose one over another as an absolute. My tastes change daily, likewise my favorites.

The Stand – Stephen King
The Talisman – Stephen King & Peter Straub
Lost Souls – Poppy Z. Brite
The Great and Secret Show – Clive Barker
Weaveworld – Clive Barker
1984 – George Orwell
Ishmael – Daniel Quinn
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
Swan Song – Robert R. McCammon
Geek Love – Katherine Dunn
Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
Ancient Images – Ramsey Campbell
Fortress in the Eye of Time – C.J. Cherryh
Titan – John Varley
Gun, With Occasional Music – Jonathan Lethem
Neuromancer – William Gibson
Strangewood – Christopher Golden
Summer of Night – Dan Simmons
Jitterbug Perfume – Tom Robbins
List of Seven – Mark Frost
Fahrenheit 451 –  Ray Bradbury
Shadows Fall – Simon R. Green
Wild Cards – (edited by) George R.R. Martin
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Naked Lunch – William S. Burroughs

 

Chapter 4 – Gage visits Cullen

Gage feels the heat of their stares on the back of his neck. His nerves are rattled, his muscles tense; he doesn’t need this. Turning, Gage throws up his hands, shows them empty.

“This doesn’t concern you people,” he shouts. “I’m on this man’s step because it’s between him and me. I didn’t come here to kill anybody so don’t make me change my mind.”

In the surrounding apartments curtains twitch and fall shut, blinds roll closed. Gage nods his head and turns back to Cullen’s door.

“Open this fucking door,” he says and bangs at it with closed fists. “I just want to talk. You know I can get inside on my own but if I have to slip through a shroud it’s going to hurt me.”

Gage steps back from the door. He knows Cullen; certain Cullen’s watching through the peep. “Cullen,” he says quietly. “What kind of mood will you expect to find then?

The lock clicks and the door opens a couple of inches.

First Post

Posted: April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Here’s the first post on my new website.

So, what will I be doing here? Well, I hope to use this blog site to document the work of a few writing projects that are in the developmental stages. Currently I’m working on a sci-fi/crime noir novel titled Ghoster and a novella for the Worldbuilder site dedicated to work based on the excellent novel Empire State by Adam Christopher. I haven’t decided on a title for the novella just yet; I’m using “Here There Be Dragons” as the Work-in-Progress title.

Look for some Flash Fiction pieces here soon, plus assorted vignettes that have no home.

The life of a Ghoster is tough. Slipping in and out of the Veil, from this world to The Other, tends to weigh on a man’s soul. And when you lose someone, someone special, in The Other they don’t really go away. Their Tether clings to you like cobwebs in an old house.

Gage Malloy retired from ghosting years ago. Once the best Sword a crew could ever want, Gage is now nothing more than a worn-down bartender. But he’s okay with that; working the counter won’t get anyone killed.

But when an old friend turned enemy walks into his bar, an enemy he thought dead, he realizes you can’t escape your past. Now Gage must step back into his role as Sword and slip through the Veil one more time to stop a plot that may very well destroy both worlds.