Friday, March 24, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for March 24, 2017


Here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Iron Fist, The Beauty and the Beast, Get Out, Life, bias and harrassment in speculative fiction, musical episodes of SFF TV shows, tributes to Bernie Wrightson as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding projects, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Tributes to Bernie Wrightson:

Comments on Iron Fist

Comments on The Beauty and the Beast

Comments on Get Out:

Comments on Life

Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Bay of Sins (The Water Road Trilogy, Book 3) by J.D. Byrne

Release date: March 22, 2017
Subgenre: Epic fantasy 

About The Bay of Sins

 

The war is over, but nothing is settled.

On the Neldathi side of the Water Road the clans are slowly pulling apart following a sudden murder. Hirrek is tasked with getting to the bottom of a mystery: was this killing the random act of a violent, unstable man? Or was it something more sinister, a hint of what the Neldathi thought they’d defeated during the war? The unity won in blood may be slipping away.

In the rebuilding city of Innisport, life is returning to something like normal. That’s largely due to Mida, given the task of rebuilding the city by Antrey Ranbren herself. After Mida hands power over to the Guild of Politicians, she finds herself on trial for her life, charged with treason and being a collaborator. Along the way she meets someone, a curious remnant of the war, who makes her rethink the way she sees those that destroyed her city.

In the meantime, Antrey returns from exile, escaping to the wilderness of Telebria. She gains new allies, including Rurek, and a new foe, the Sentinel Faerl. He’s best known among the other Sentinels as the man who let Antrey slip away once before, getting all his men killed in the process. Now he has a chance for redemption and revenge. But Antrey is willing to do anything to ensure that her legacy does not slip away.

The chase is on, as the saga of The Water Road barrels toward its explosive conclusion.


Excerpt:



Rurek seeks out an old business associate, but isn't very happy about it.
“Well, well, well,” he said, looking very satisfied with himself. “I believe the words were, ‘I’ll never come anywhere near this place again, you filthy criminal.’ Was that about right, Rurek?” While he spoke, he fiddled with the bracelet on his wrist.
Rurek cleared his throat. “Nice to see you too, Martoh. Believe me, when I said that I meant it. If circumstances were any different I wouldn’t be here.”
“Then I am truly touched that, in your hour of need, you found your way back here.” He signaled to someone, and a drink, some kind of deep-green alcohol, arrived within moments. “Have you had the ordem? It is a local specialty, requires a special kind of grain that grows wild around here. Very strong, but a wonderfully complex flavor, if you can handle it.” He took a long, slow sip and set the glass down on the table. “The girl is fine, by the way. I thought you might like to know.”
“I don’t care.” That was a lie. There wasn’t a night he didn’t think about the little girl and what her life was like in Wellston. He wasn’t about to let Martoh know that, however.
Martoh shrugged. “So be it. What, then, brings you so low that you would go back on your word and return to Modrozon Crossing, to this pub, and seek me out? I hope you did not gamble away all that money. It was so hard-earned.”
“After a fashion,” Rurek said, stifling a chuckle. “I got the money I needed to do what I needed to do. Problem is, now I’m not sure what to do with what I’ve got.”
“How cryptic. If you will not tell me what the problem is, I cannot help you.”
“Except I don’t really trust you.”
“You must trust me a little, Rurek, or you would have gone somewhere else. Did I cheat you? Did I tell you I would pay and then not pay, or pay less than we agreed?”
“No.” Rurek had to admit that.
“Did I lie to you about the nature of the work? And I mean lie, Rurek, really tell you something that was not true?”
“You didn’t tell me—”
Martoh raised a hand. “I told you what you needed to know to complete the task. Entirely accurate information. That you did not ask more questions, better questions, before taking my money is not my fault. You needed the money badly enough to keep you from asking those questions.”
“You’re being overly technical.”
“Overly technical is what put me in prison. Why should I not use it to my advantage now?”
Rurek knew Martoh had been in prison before the war and that he didn’t think he belonged there, but he didn’t know details. He didn’t want to know. “If that’s how you want to live your life.”
“It is.” Martoh sat back, looked out the window, and smiled. “Now that our reunion is out of the way, what is it that you think I might do for you?”

Amazon

 

About the Water Road Trilogy

 

 

About J.D. Byrne:

JD Byrne was born and raised around Charleston, West Virginia, before spending seven years in Morgantown getting degrees in history and law from West Virginia University. He's practiced law for more than 15 years, writing briefs where he has to stick to real facts and real law. In his fiction, he gets to make up the facts, take or leave the law, and let his imagination run wild. He lives outside Charleston with his wife and one-eyed dog.
He has a blog series called Water Road Wednesday where he talks about the book, provides excerpts, and more. You can read more about The Water Road Trilogy here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dead World (In Love and War, Book 5) by Cora Buhlert

Release date: February 26, 2017
Subgenre:  Space opera, science fiction romance

About Dead World

 

Once, Anjali Patel and Mikhail Grikov were soldiers on opposing sides of an intergalactic war. They met, fell in love and decided to go on the run together.

Now Anjali and Mikhail are trying to eke out a living on the independent worlds of the galactic rim, while attempting to stay under the radar of those pursuing them.

When they are hired to retrieve a weapons prototype from an abandoned planet, it seems like a routine job. But it quickly turns out that the planet is not as empty as they had thought. And soon, Anjali and Mikhail find themselves caught in a deadly chase across a radioactive wasteland.

This is a novella of 27500 words or approx. 95 print pages in the "In Love and War" series, but may be read as a standalone. 

Excerpt:



Outside, the paved ground was covered in a layer of whiteish dust. It looked a little like snow and so utterly undisturbed that Anjali felt almost bad about stepping onto the ground to upset it with the bulky boots of her bulky suit.
But they had places to go and things to do, and so, after a deep breath of filtered air, Anjali stepped off the ramp and onto the surface of Shashenok.
They crossed the square, cautious at first, keeping an eye on the dosimeter readings displayed inside their helmets and always scanning their surroundings for potential dangers. For though intellectually they both knew that the town and the whole planet were deserted and the only real threat the radiation all around, instincts and habits honed by years of war died hard. Besides, something about this place made Anjali actively uneasy and it wasn’t just the radiation or the decay.
From afar, the square had seemed smooth and even, which was part of the reason why Mikhail had chosen it as a landing place. But close-up, Anjali realised that it was not smooth at all. Some paving stones had sunken, others were cracked. In some places, grass and even small tress had broken through, as nature had its way.
The buildings lining the sides of the square stood still and silent. From inside the ship, they’d seemed like identical grey boxes. Up close, they still looked like boxes, but they were far from identical. Some had rows of columns like the Hall of the Imperial Senate on Gloriosa. A few had fronts of stained glass, now missing the occasional pane. Other buildings were decorated with murals, long faded but still recognisable. The style was different than the murals found on Rajipuri, more angular and tending towards the abstract at times, and the subjects seemed to be drawn from daily life — images of workers, soldiers, politicians — rather than from myth and legend like on Rajipuri. Nonetheless, the images were attractive and quite against her will, Anjali found herself wondering what the city had looked like before it was abandoned.
Several of the buildings — Anjali suspected they had been shops once upon a time - were topped by neon signs now long gone dark. The letters were large and blocky. Superficially, they looked like Standard script, but upon closer examination, Anjali found that she could not make out a single word, because some letters looked wrong, like interlopers from a different language.
“What’s up with those signs?” she asked via the suit com, her voice sounding almost sacrilegiously loud to her own ears, “I can’t read any of them.”
“I can,” Mikhail replied softly. Those were, Anjali realised, the first words he’d spoken since they’d left the ship. “It’s called Cyrillic, an ancient script from Old Earth. The language of Jagellowsk used the same script. Those were the letters I learned to read and write.”
Instinctively, Anjali reached for his hand.
Mikhail had once told her that he’d only learned to speak what the Republicans insisted on calling Standard in the camp for orphans where he grew up, because the guards would beat him for speaking in his own language, the language of lost Jagellowsk.
“So these people of this world spoke the same language as your people?”
Mikhail shook his head. “Not exactly the same. There are subtle differences. But both languages are close enough that I can understand the words and they both use the same script.”

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About the In Love and War series:



About Cora Buhlert:

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. 
Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. She is the author of the Silencer series of pulp style thrillers, the Shattered Empire space opera series, the In Love and War science fiction romance series, the Helen Shepherd Mysteries and plenty of standalone stories in multiple genres. When Cora is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher.

 

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Monday, March 20, 2017

2184: Beneath the Steel City, Book 1 by Ben Lovejoy

Release date: March 16, 2017
Subgenre: Dystopian fiction

About 2184: Beneath the Steel City:

 

In London 2184, the government monitors every move its citizens make, logs every action, notes every visit, supervises every communication, penalises the slightest transgression with all the warmth and sympathy of a hungry piranha.

Computer tech David Lafferty has grown tired of living beneath the crushing weight of a billion petty rules, and decided it was time to create his own rules in an underground life beneath the steel city. Aided by Saira, a Self-propelled Artificially Intelligent Robot Assistant, and a small circuit board stolen from the government, all is going well until an unknown adversary appears to have learned his every secret…

Excerpt:

 

Robots are dumb. Actually, that’s unfair, Saira isn’t dumb at all – as Self-propelled Artificially Intelligent Robot Assistants go, she’s pretty smart. But they are very literal when it comes to behaving the way they’ve been programmed to behave. Which is problematic when they’ve been programmed to obey the law and you would very much like one not to.

I’d planned for her to remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that I was here without invitation. I’d had the door codes, the keycard pass loaded onto my pocket terminal, the fingerprints. Not my own fingerprints, obviously, but latex moulds good enough to persuade the entry system that they were real, and that was almost the same thing.

At each of the three security doors through which we’d passed, I’d sauntered up to them with the air of a man very much going about his lawful business, his robot companion at his side, and then breezed through them without so much as the flicker of an amber light. All I needed Saira to do was plug herself into the access port of the safe door – the final barrier between me and my prize – and transmit the 256-character authorisation code.

The code would be accepted. My possession of the previous generation of this chip guaranteed that. What I hadn’t counted on was the automatic verbal warning system triggered by Saira plugging herself into the communications port.

“Attention!” it had said, in that imperious way government systems always spoke to citizens and their electronic companions. “Only duly authorised robots are permitted to interface with this system. Please verify the credentials of the person under whose authority you are operating before proceeding by requesting sight of their government employee access pass, grade Alpha Four or above. Removal of any property from the safe without lawful authority would be theft.”

Saira paused, and a countdown timer next to the access port began doing what countdown timers do. I wasn’t exactly sure what would happen when the timer reached zero, but I was fairly certain I wasn’t going to like it. Right now, it was reading one minute and thirty seconds.

“It’s ok,” I said, in what I very much hoped was a reassuring tone. “I wouldn’t have been able to get us into the facility without the correct pass. You may proceed.” One minute twenty-five seconds.

It was a logical-sounding argument, I thought. Saira had seen me use a keycard pass to unlock one of the security doors. That should, I felt, be sufficient. I was wrong. 

“I am required to perform sight verification of the pass,” she replied. This was problematic because, while my keycard coding was correct  in every detail, and the on-screen visual resemblance good enough to fool a fellow human, my failure to anticipate the possibility of Saira being required to inspect the pass had left it without the embedded microdot coding that would verify my specific access rights.

I dislike unexpected problems. I especially dislike unexpected problems arising at inconvenient times – and that countdown timer suggested to me that we were now one minute and twenty-one seconds away from a time which would qualify as such.


Amazon

Free from March 20 to March 24!


About Ben Lovejoy:

Ben Lovejoy is a tech writer turned novelist. His first published novel was 11/9, a page-turning technothriller about terrorists planning an attack bigger than 9/11. This was followed by The Billion Dollar Heist, a team of loveable rogues with a crazy plan to steal a billion dollars in cash.

Ben has also written a rom-com, Dated, which he denies is based on real events, and a non-fiction travel guide, The Gentle Art of Travel.

His latest work is 2184, a 13,500-word short introducing the Beneath the Steel City series of SF novellas.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for March 17, 2017



Here is a special St. Patrick's Day edition of our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Logan, Kong: Skull Island, the Terra Ignota series, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer at twenty as well as the usual mix of awards news, writing advice, interviews, reviews, awards news, con reports, crowdfunding projects, science articles and free online fiction. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Discussion of Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota series: 

Comments on Kong: Skull Island

Comments on Logan:

Buffy, the Vampire Slayer at Twenty:

Awards:

Writing, publishing and promotion:

Interviews:

Reviews:

Crowdfunding:

Con reports:

Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends:

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Enemy Within (Ambassador, Book 6) by Patty Jansen

Release date: March 14, 2017
Subgenre: Space opera, space exploration

About The Enemy Within

 

Two men went on a surfing trip in a remote area. Only one came back, accused of murdering the other.

Sounds simple, right?
Not quite, because the alleged murder happened on another planet, the accused is a member of the secretive Pretoria Cartel of super-rich business tycoons--with illegal off-Earth ventures--and the only person who can remotely be called a witness is an alien, the elder Abri from the Pengali Thousand Islands tribe.
Diplomat Cory Wilson is asked to accompany Abri to the Nations of Earth court, but when he and his team arrive there, their contacts have been moved to different cases, their rooms are bugged and their movements restricted. No one is answering their questions, but it is when a lawyer is murdered and Cory's team captures a mysterious stalker that things get interesting.
Just as well they are prepared in the usual way: alert and highly armed.

 

Excerpt:



Then there was a commotion in the hall, accompanied by Pengali voices, followed by thunks and thumps and clangs and then Eirani said, “But I’m sure Muri does not like you leaving all these things here.”
What things?
I rose from the couch and met Eirani at the door, coming in with the food trolley full of cups. “Tea will be ready very soon. Don’t go too far away.”
“Just seeing what’s going on.”
The front door was open and something was being delivered to the hall.
“Oh, Muri, these people will be the death of me.” She shook her head and continued into the room.
The Pengali had indeed returned. Ynggi and Kita were carrying in a giant eel-hide covered drum. Idda sat on Ynggi’s shoulder waving her tail in his face. The front door was still open and through it I spotted the building’s concierge with a trolley carrying the hollowed-out tree branches of an instrument called an irrka which was the vital component of a betanka orchestra. The concierge’s face carried a bemused expression, like he wanted to say, Having a wild party in here?
I’d been to a betanka party a few times, because if you lived in Barresh, you could simply not get away without going at least once, but those were the sanitised tourist versions of it. They were orchestrated, staged shows where one paid to see the orchestra and they each had arranged parts of drumming, playing pipes or singing, and none of the songs contained any rude words or gestures.
There were also the keihu-influenced city versions, where Pengali played in seedy, airless cellar bars and keihu men gambled and got extremely drunk and would embarrass themselves trying to sing or dance to the music.
Betanka proper was a community performance, where the leader played the five-beat rhythm on the irrka, tuned drum, and people improvised their parts.
This irrka drum was a huge thing, made up of a central barrel constructed from a huge hollowed-out tree trunk covered on one side with eel-hide leather. There were holes in the bottom half of the drum, for slotting in hollow branches of different diameters so that the whole thing looked like a giant spider. The betanka leader would sit near the top of the barrel perched on two platforms on the side of the drum for his feet, hitting the branches with a set of drumsticks with a rubbery resin head. The different pipes produced different notes.
The instrument came apart for transport, because Pengali measured their possessions by how easy it was to transport an item in a boat.
“They’re not wanting to take that thing, are they?” Sheydu asked next to me.
“I think they are.”
Sheydu hadn’t spoken quietly, and now Abri turned to Sheydu, and, as a Thousand Island Pengali, she understood and spoke Coldi. “How else can we solve disagreements? We sing. We play betanka.”
Veyada’s eyes met mine. I could see he was thinking the same as I was: And we thought we had it all sorted out?
Sheydu scoffed. “You can’t expect us to take this much luggage. Besides, these people we’re visiting don’t sing their disagreements. You’re asked to give a testimony and answer questions by a bench of formal people. It has to do with their laws, not yours.”
Abri was not as easily put off by Sheydu’s curt tone as most other people. “It does have to do with our laws. Hairy face killed tribespeople. We are going to put in an official protest about that. We will do that properly by putting it in a betanka.”
Put like that, it made perfect sense. The Earth lawyers had been waiting for a formal claim in writing, but while the Pengali had understood very well what they wanted, they responded in their manner. These people never disappointed with their last-moment surprises.
Ynggi and Kita proceeded to stack the irrka tubes next to the pile of luggage in the hall.
“There,” Abri said when the door shut and the building’s concierge had left with his trolley. “Now we have luggage.”
They did, indeed.
But still no clothes.

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About the Ambassador series:  


 

Ambassador Book 1: Seeing Red, is available for 99 cents until April 26!

 

About Patty Jansen: 

Patty lives in Sydney, Australia, and writes both Science Fiction and Fantasy. She has published over 15 novels and has sold short stories to genre magazines such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact.

Patty was trained as a agricultural scientist, and if you look behind her stories, you will find bits of science sprinkled throughout.

 

Website | Mailing List | Twitter

 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Piranha Solution (Ace of Space, Book 1) by John Triptych

Release date: March 15, 2017
Subgenre: Hard science fiction, space colonisation

About The Piranha Solution:

 


In the near future, a new space race has begun. Private industry is now pushing the limits of human exploration and colonization. NASA has changed its mandate into a regulatory agency that oversees all US-based corporations and individuals involved in interplanetary expansion.

Stilicho Jones always has his hands full while working as a personal troubleshooter for eccentric trillionaire Errol Flux and his numerous cutting edge space projects. When a mysterious and potentially deadly situation threatens the colonies on Mars, Stilicho must team up with a feisty NASA special agent in a race against time to avert a looming catastrophe that could end any hope of a permanent settlement on the Red Planet.

Check out The Piranha Solution. If you were ever inspired by the NASA Space Program, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, Robert Zubrin's The Case for Mars, or Andy Weir’s The Martian, then have a look at this newest, edge of your seat technothriller! 


Excerpt:


Errol walked out of the bathroom, a small hand towel draped over his shoulder. “Stil, how was San Diego?”
“Everything went well,” Stilicho said. “Campos has been neutralized, and his copies of the reactor magnet design have been switched for a fake one. He’s already authorized the finance department to take the money back from his account. All’s well that ends well.”
Errol sat down with a sigh on a high-backed chair behind his desk. “Good job. We’ve got another problem though.”
Stilicho crossed his arms. “I figured as much. Campos was small fry, and I could have just emailed you the report. But you wanted to see me in person, why is that?”
Errol’s answer was a single word. “Mars.”
Stilicho gave him a quizzical look. “Okay, what about it?”
“I’ll put it to you plain and simple,” Errol said. “We’ve lost contact with the entire construction team in the Chryse Planitia region.”
Stilicho’s eyes narrowed. “The new colony site you were building?”
Errol nodded slowly. “Yeah.”
Stilicho was feeling sleepy. He was now starting to regret having those bourbon shots on the transcontinental flight. His mind wasn’t working at peak capacity and his response came a little late. “You mean … those rumors about viruses being sent from that area on Mars is … true?”
“We did get malware from the outpost uplink at the building site, and my technicians shut down the node a few hours ago,” Errol said. “But I think the problem’s bigger than that.”
Stilicho pursed his lips. “So it’s not just a prank from the outpost crew then?”
“Simms is a pretty good team leader, no way would he allow any of his men to do that juvenile nonsense,” Errol said. “Before the virus stream happened, we'd already lost contact with the outpost for a whole week. We then sent in a search and rescue team as soon as the outpost failed to check in at the last scheduled update.”
Stilicho was intrigued now. A sudden spurt of adrenaline put his mind back in focus. “So what did the rescue team find?”
“That’s the problem,” Errol said. “The rescue team failed to check in as well.”
Stilicho’s eyes opened wide. This never happened before. Everyone was always accounted for in Mars. “What?”
“Yeah,” Errol said. “No response for over a week. Then came the virus stream, which uploaded onto the satellites, which then sent the packets to Earth’s internet. We’re still assessing if there was any lasting damage, but so far the relay network is still operating at near peak capacity. There was something strange about the virus too.”
“What do you mean?”
“Normally when we deal with viruses, it’s usually a denial of service attack, which disrupts the network by overloading it with remote requests from software bots,” Errol said. “But this one seems to be a worm of some sort. It only made a few selective attacks before shutting itself down.”
“What kind of attacks?”
“It went after specific entries in the database of numerous public archives and private servers,” Errol said. “My IT team is working with system administrators from other corporations and the Library of Congress, for it seems a number of government records were tampered with. We haven’t narrowed down the exact entries that have been corrupted or altered, but we will, in time.”
Stilicho smirked. “Well, IT isn’t exactly my specialty. I’m more into dirty tricks like blackmail and counter corporate espionage. I suppose you want me to lean on someone in the government or with another company to track down the hacker then?”
Errol shook his head. “No, I need you to go to Mars.”


Amazon

 

About John Triptych:

John writes thrillers of differing genres, from hyper-realistic crime books to fantastic, post-apocalyptic sci-fi novels that make you want to turn one more page just before bedtime. A former fanfiction writer turned self-publishing novelist, John Triptych’s varied interests include: reading other people’s books, recreational diving, watching movies and TV, guns, internet, politics, computer and tabletop gaming, cooking, art, architecture, wines, spirits, beer, history and travel.

 

 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Simon Rising (After the Crash, book 1) by Brian D. Howard

Release date: March 9, 2017
Subgenre: Superheroes

About Simon Rising:

 

Five years ago, an alien ship crashed into the bay. Since then, vigilantes and criminals with extraordinary powers increasingly dominate headlines.

A man wakes up in the hospital with no memory. He's told he is Steve Ambrose, a serial bank robber who was shot while being arrested. Everything changes when he discovers he has telekinetic powers. Hunted by FBI Special Agent Rachel Moore, and with unknown enemies around every corner, can he change who he is, or is the dark criminal everyone accuses him of being too deeply a part of his nature to escape?

Excerpt:



“Steven Ambrose,” a woman’s voice echoed through a megaphone, “this is FBI Special Agent Rachel Moore, we have the building surrounded. You have nowhere to go. Surrender yourself before things get any worse.”
The men were closing again, now three or four floors below him. There were eight of them. At this level the stairs were not enclosed, but they did keep rising. He would be able to directly see them—and them him—all too soon. His elevator shaft was just dark framework at this point, not enclosed in walls at all.
He focused on a steel I-beam, and it ripped itself loose, smashing through one stairwell. Stair debris rained down on a pair of cops who dodged backwards only to tumble to the landing.
Further up the floors were not even completely floors yet. He jumped two levels up onto a steel girder. It did not take much concentration to hold himself there, but he was afraid of what would happen if he lost that concentration and fell. Shadows reached further down the shaft than he could see.
Once he singled out another I-beam he used it to rip out another stairwell. He leapt another two floors up, and then there were only a couple more left above him.
He could see the lit city skyline all around him. The glowing core of downtown was easy to find, and the city stretched out from there, intermittently jutting up into the darkness. Clouds covered perhaps most of the stars in the sky and obscured the half moon, darkening the girder framework around him.
The police reached his level, a pair of them each at two opposing stairways. All had guns drawn, pistols and shotguns. Rushed eyes found another girder only attached at one end. He pictured it bending from force at one end, blocking off a stairwell and forcing the cops back down. The girder ripped itself free of others, and lurched like a striking snake that bit the brick wall of the stairwell. A shower of bricks and cops tumbled down the stairs.
“Dammit!” He really didn't want to hurt them, if he could avoid it.
He turned to his two remaining pursuers. His breathing was fast, and he was powerless to slow it.
A vaguely familiar black woman in a suit stepped out onto a girder, megaphone in hand. The FBI woman handed the megaphone to a uniformed police officer still on the steps. She gestured the officer back and down, and he retreated.
“Do you remember me, Steven?” the FBI woman called out. “We met in the hospital when you woke up. I’m Agent Moore. Why don’t you call me Rachel?” She took a few tentative steps closer.
“I kinda remember you, I think,” Steven admitted. “Those first few days are kinda fuzzy.”
“That’s because you were shot, Steven. In the head. You should be under medical care, Steven, not balancing for your life up here.”
Steven scanned around him. Only the two were relatively nearby. Swarms more were just arriving at the ground. He was running out of time.


Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Apple iTunes 

 

About Brian D. Howard:

In my day job I'm a low-level manager in Corporate America. By night I make up stories I hope people like enough to buy. I’m driven by “what if” questions, and often those lead to story of book ideas. 

I’ve lived in a motorhome traveling the country, and oh, there are some stories I could tell. I was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and I’m happily living in Denver, CO now, with no intention of moving anywhere else. 

Writing has been a passion for most of my life. I've had to set it aside in the past, but so many circumstances have changed, and now I can focus on it more and more. Someday I'll make my living doing this.


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