Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coming Soon: Flash Fiction Fridays

While doing the Writing.com October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge this month, I've come to the realization that I absolutely love doing flash fiction, short stories, and novellas. In that regard, I have always been afraid of releasing any kind of work to the public for fear of my own editing skills and/or piracy. But with the digital age upon us, and my own editing skills up to basic par, I have decided to start doing some weekly fiction.

Each week, starting in December, I will post Flash Fiction Fridays, a blog segment that will spotlight a piece of flash fiction I wrote from scratch that week. I'll usually start the piece in the beginning of the week, use my weekly writing meetings with my good friend Jelani to polish and edit it, and put the piece out both on this blog and on other social networking on Fridays. The pieces will also be available on my website, and when I have written out enough of them, I'll probably combine them into a paperback and/or digital volume.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Free Time

When I'm not spending time with family, working on my writing projects, or sleeping (which is overrated by the way), these are a couple of the 'free-time' things I've been up to lately...

Currently, I'm reading House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. I'm a little more than halfway through the book, and I have to say this is probably the creepiest book I have ever read. I'll admit that aside from the Han Solo trilogy - which is my all-time favorite book series, I consider Stephen King's Dark Tower series to be my second favorite.

Until I started reading House of Leaves.

This book's premise is a bit too confusing to sum up outside of a full-blown book review (which I will definitely be doing once I'm done reading it), so I'll just leave you with this Goodreads link, and you can check out a description and reviews of the book yourself - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/337907.House_of_Leaves. To say the least, I absolutely love this book. It does lean heavily at times into some heavy sexual content, but other than that, the book does a tremendous job of pulling you into its multiple layers.

When I'm not reading, I am usually gaming. I grew up with video games (my dad introduced me to the Atari 2600 and the Commodore 64 when I was growing up), and it is by far my favorite past time now. The only problem is that I can be very ADD with video games, playing them halfway through and then moving on to others, sometimes playing three or four at a time, but never really fully appreciating any particular one because the plots, controls, characters and other aspects get lost in the confusion.

I've been consciously making an effort as of late to focus on one or two games and stick with them until they are beat or mastered. The only exception is Half Life 2: Deathmatch, which I play everyday on my lunch break. The two games I'm currently playing right now are Guild Wars 2 (which I'm always constantly jumping into anyway, even though my computer has to push itself to the max just to run it at all in lowest graphic settings), and....

Dead Island. Dead Island is a game I picked up about a year ago and promptly returned a few days later. I just couldn't get into the game for some reason, but I found it at a bargain price a couple of weeks ago and decided to give it another try. I sure am glad I did. Once you have the mechanics of the game down, it's a fun and satisfying zombie slashing adventure. It also has a lot of collection elements to it, and a decent loot system, which makes it an all-around favorite for me.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NaNo Prep - Side Character Story #2 - Ridley Grant

Today's Writing.com October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge is to write up a background story for another one of the side characters in my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel, The LZR Project. In this short snippet, I go into a bit of detail about my character, Ridley Grant, a policewoman who went undercover within one of Lysallis' worst gangs and got her own brother killed in the process. While she deals with the guilt of that atrocity, she is approached to join the Lazerblades in their quest to put Mr. Big behind bars once and for all...

Ridley Grant
“Get on the ground!” Ridley shouted. As she pointed the gun at the young man, she stepped carefully over the branches and loose forest foliage, careful not to lose her footing or slip on the moist leaves.

The man slowly lowered to the ground and fell flat on his stomach, interlocking his hands over the top of his head.
Ridley pulled a pair of handcuffs from her waist and carefully locked the man’s wrists together. She let out a sigh of relief and then stepped back from the man, taking a seat on a nearby stump to catch her breath before she would have to make the walk back to the clearing where her cruiser was parked.

“You don’t know what you’re about to bring down on your head.”

Ridley kept the gun aimed on the young man, chewing on the pride that came with the fact that she had just chased down one of Merana’s toughest gang members. “If you think you’re going to scare me, you’re wrong.”

The young man peered out from under his mop of dark brown hair, his green eyes a bit translucent in the foggy haze moving lazily through the forest. “You’re dead.”

Ridley caught her breath, her side in pain from the chase, and took out the pack of cigarettes she kept in the front pocket of her police uniform. Staring at the Lucky brand logo on the package, she traced the way the L met up with the U, evoking memories of roller coaster rides when she was a child, while the four-leaf clover after the word 'Lucky' reminded her of how lucky she was to be alive.

“Did you hear me?”

Ridley took the pack of cigarettes and tossed it at the young man, hitting him the cheek. “Today is the day I quit smoking.”

“What? Today’s the day –“

“Yeah, I know. Die. Today’s the day I die. Apparently you don’t know me too well.”

“Ridley Grant. Thirty-two. Cop on the force for nine years now. Your brother was killed by one of my crew a few months ago.”

“Yeah. I started smoking a few months ago. I promised myself I would stop after a few weeks. Better late than never, I guess.”

“I don’t care about your smoking habits. I’m telling you, you better let me go.”

“I’m not holding you down.”

The young man shifted his legs, and Ridley positioned the gun toward one of his knees. “Go ahead. Get up. You’ll be missing a kneecap when I’m through with you.”

“You think this is a joke?!”

“You young ones are so arrogant, you know that? You’re the one who’s finished. You were the head of the Rolenda gang, and I just cut you off. Your associates will scatter. Your name – Rolenda – whatever that means, will fade. You’re done. And did I mention I quit smoking today? I’m pretty proud of that fact. Can you just let me enjoy this one accomplishment?”

The man turned his head so he was facing away from Ridley, mumbling incoherent words to himself.
Ridley heard the shuffling of leaves and quickly aimed the gun toward the line of trees to her left. A group of officers came out of the fog and surrounded Ridley and the young man on the ground.

Captain Scott, his face always carrying his trademark thick gray beard, approached Ridley, grabbing her arm to help her to her feet. “You look a little winded, Grant.”

The group of officers lifted the young man off the ground and escorted him through the trees toward the clearing.

“I’m just tired.”

Captain Scott smiled. “Tired, huh?”

Ridley nodded. “Yeah, tired. I quit smoking today.”

Captain Scott slapped her on the back. “Well, congratulations, Grant. I’m happy to hear that. You’re going to need your health for the next assignment I have for you.”

“Oh yeah? What’s that sir?”

“A transfer. And a promotion. Both, actually.”


“I put in a request for you to become the head of a special project the government is putting together.”

“As long as I don’t have to work with an office full of women, I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”

“You’ll be working with the Lazerblades.”

Ridley said nothing, simply stared down at the pack of cigarettes laying on the ground, wondering if she should pick them up. The amount of credits a pack of cigarettes cost nowadays made it a waste to just leave them there in the foliage like that...

“Take a day or two off. Get some rest. You’re going to need it.”

She looked into her captain’s eyes. “Why me?”

“You’re the best.”

“Really, sir, why did you pick me?”

Captain Scott gently placed his hand on her shoulder. His massive emerald class ring stuck out on his old-man-hands like a zit on a model’s airbrushed face. “The Lazerblades have managed to get themselves in more trouble in the last few years than all of my officers combined. But they’ve also gotten results – locking away many of Lysallis’s criminals. The Enera Government wants the big fish put away though...for good.”

“Mr. Big?”

He nodded. “The Lazerblades have agreed to join forces with the government to create a special task force. In other words, they are being given the government’s resources to stop Mr. Big. We’re calling it – well, David Corbin is calling it – the LZR Project. I want you put in charge of their task force. See to their needs, and be the liaison between the government and the Lazerblades. I want this project to be as streamlined and efficient as possible. You’ll receive a promotion – both in title and pay – and we’ll get you set up in housing in Lysallis.”

Ridley smiled. “I’m honored that you thought of me for this, sir.”

“Just do me proud, will you? It’s not an assignment I regard lightly.”

“Yes, sir.”

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NaNo Prep - Contest Round #3 - Point Blank

Yesterday's Writing.com October NaNo Prep Challenge was a contest entry requiring a backstory of  the antagonist of my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel, The LZR Project. Mr. Big is the antagonist, and I had to do a story that made the reader empathize with his motivations for being a villain.

Here's the entry I wrote for the contest. It's called Point Blank. Enjoy!

Point Blank
Janet Doyle straightened out her navy blue skirt, tilted her head to get her blonde hair to fall behind her shoulders, and tapped the microphone to make sure the system was up and running. Clearing her throat, she looked up at the two police officers and the man they held restrained between them: Mr. Big.

Janet extended her arm and the microphone toward Mr. Big. His eyes, filled with calm, looked down at the mic and then up at Janet. When he didn’t say anything for almost a full minute, Janet pulled the microphone back toward her and sighed.

“So, you’re not going to talk, huh?”

Mr. Big straightened up. His white t-shirt stretching over his massive form was stained with blood splotches and mud. His nose had stopped bleeding, but his right eye was beginning to blacken. He smiled though, a smile that told Janet not to get too close. “I’ll give you an interview, Ms. Doyle. But only if you ask the right questions.”

“What are the right questions?” Janet asked.

He smiled, refusing to answer the question of questions.

Janet huffed. “Why did you kill that woman in the bank?”

Still no answer. Just that smile.

“What possessed you to rob the bank, leave the money, and kill someone? You could have done that on the street, or even in the woman’s home.”

Mr. Big nodded. “Now you’re doing your job as a reporter. You’re digging.”

“Answer my question.”

“Why do you think certain people deserve to die, and certain people deserve to live?”

Janet pondered the question for a moment, trying her hardest to figure out a way to outsmart the criminal before her.

Mr. Big grinned, this time differently, more modestly, as if he had all the answers but wasn’t prone to give them up easily. “You’re trying too hard. You’re trying to outsmart me, when you should be trying to investigate me. Do what you do best, and not what your human instinct – your heroic nature – is trying to get you to do.”

“Who do you think you are? Playing with people’s lives, as if they are –“

“Chess pieces.”

“Yes. Chess pieces.”

“Don’t mistake my seemingly crude action – killing a woman in broad daylight – as confirmation that I think of life as a game. Hardly. This life is nothing more than each of us doing what we can with what we have. It is survival. Survival is not a game to those trying to survive.”

Janet took a deep breath, calming herself before asking the next question. “David Corbin and the rest of the  Lazerblades just succeeded in putting you behind bars for good. I mean, what do you have to say about that? How does that fit into your speech about doing what we can with what we have? You failed in that respect. You’re handcuffed, there are at least two dozen officers here to make sure you don’t get away, and you’re going to be locked up in prison for the rest of your natural life. It’s over, Mr. Big. Over.”

“Your statement about things being over for me assume that you have the power to see the future. You don’t, I can assure you of that.  A reporter with real clairvoyance would be unstoppable, and I have already proven in the past that you are stoppable.

“My capture simply proves my point. David Corbin put up a fight with everything he knows of me, everything he knows of this environment – this office complex, everything he knows about fighting. He fought. He won. He did the best with what he had.”

Janet scoffed. “You killed a woman in cold blood. If David hadn’t stopped you, someone would have. One of these officers would have shot you in the back when you weren’t looking. Eventually, everything would have caught up with you.”

“Your interview is all over the place, Ms. Doyle. Do you want to talk about me or the woman I killed?”

“Her name was Whitney Setterfield. But I guess that information is irrelevant to you, isn’t it?”

“Quite the contrary. Her name is everything to me.”

“You’re a monster, you know that?”

“Your opinion is unbiased as always, Ms. Doyle.”

“The Lazerblades – all of them – said they saw you shove the barrel of your gun into her chest and pull the trigger without hesitation.”

“Why hesitate when I aimed to do just what I did? If you know what you should do, why hesitate in doing it? See, that’s why we have such a corrupt and backwards society. The public thinks it is safe behind these walls of policemen and policewomen. Did you ever think about these officers as walls though? Walls that we, as a society, build around ourselves? When these walls get high enough, when they surround us, when we wake in the middle of the night to find ourselves in darkness, in a room of walls and no doors and no windows, what will we do then? These walls fire back when we bang against them, they crumble down on our heads when we try to collapse them. We are simply building the very army that will destroy us in the end. If we moved now to make sure these walls weren’t built to begin with, we would forever be free. But everyone hesitates or justifies their action or inaction.”

“The police are here to protect us.”

“We can do that ourselves just fine. If I gave you a gun, if I taught you how to load it, how to hold it, how to fire it, how to clean it, you would be fully capable of using it to defend yourself from people like me.”

“You’re saying Whitney Setterfield died because she didn’t know how to operate a gun?”

“I’m saying Whitney Setterfield died because she didn’t care to defend herself.”

“What’s the real reason you shot her? What’s the real reason – the deep-rooted motivation – you killed her tonight?”

“My purpose since the beginning has been to wake people up.”

“Wake people up? Whitney isn’t awake. She’s dead.”

“But your hero...David...he’s awake. I saw it in his eyes when we fought.”

“You killed Whitney because David needed a wake-up call?”

“This city needs a hero. It already has a villain – me. I didn’t choose to be this city’s villain, but that is what I have become, and that is okay with me. I will be called a villain if it means what I do has impact on this society. My goal is change. If I can’t directly change things, I will move David Corbin to change them. And when those changes are made...when the wheels have been placed where I want them, when they have been started, they will move Lysallis into a future of structure, a future of peace and prosperity.”

Janet lowered the mic and shook her head. “You belong where you’re going.”

“Because this city doesn’t deserve me.”

Friday, October 18, 2013

VRKA Pages Up

Earlier this month I mentioned the new change coming to my website - VRKA: Virtual Real-Time Knowledge Assistant. VRKA is pretty much an online collective of profiles, articles, and other pieces of info giving a deeper look into the characters, places, and items from my Black Earth and Expired Reality series.

I've been working the past few nights on putting up an introduction page to VRKA, and creating the cover page for the 'mainframe' when VRKA actually goes 'online' in November.

VRKA Introduction Page - http://www.davidnalderman.blogspot.com/2013/10/vrka.html
VRKA Mainframe - http://www.davidnalderman.com/#!vrka-mainframe/cg1s

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

NaNo Prep - Side Character Story - Vector

Today's Writing.com October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge is to write up a background story for one of the side characters in my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel, The LZR Project. In this short snippet, I go into a bit of detail about my character, Vector, who was originally introduced in my Black Earth series as a time-traveling heroine.

The rain fell like drops from a sprinkler system, drops she used to run through as a child on hot summer days. She could smell the sunshine in those memories, hear her siblings laughing as they ran through the grass. Her heart warmed with the thought and brought a rare smile to her face. But all too soon the memory faded, and she was faced with the reality of the cold wind and temperamental weather.

Vector didn’t bother pulling her soaked cloak closer to her flesh, as it had lost its ability to keep her warm with the storm’s precipitation. Instead, she braved the cold as she sat at the very top of the Eiffel Tower and marveled at the beauty of Paris. Lights scattered around the city shone like jewels, sparkling beneath the sheet of rain. She took a deep breath of humid air and forced herself to soak in the memory of this moment. Ever since she was a little girl, she had wanted nothing more than to visit Paris. And now, here she was, at the top of the Eiffel Tower, taking a break from time traveling. Taking a break from her blessed curse.

She opened her eyes and examined her hands, watching rain water carry the blood from her wounds. Each stream traveled down her fingers, to the tips, and then careened off of her and into the great expanse below. It had a cleansing affect, not only on her physically beat up form, but on her mind as well. Her ability to time travel was doing things to her mind – warping it, bending it, sabotaging it. She did her best to fight back, forcing herself to remember her younger years, forcing herself to remember who she was beneath the waterlogged cloak, beneath the bloody rags, beneath her scarred flesh.

That was why she had come to Paris – to remind herself of who she was. It had been one of her childhood dreams to come here. Now that she was here though, all she wanted to do was leap back into the timestream and do what she could for David Corbin. She had so much to warn him about, so many of Mr. Big’s tricks to alert him to, so many obstacles to hold his hand through. But even though there was so much she could do, it didn’t mean she would do it all. She wanted to help David stop Mr. Big. That was it. She didn’t want to dip her hands into history or the future too much. She had a gift (more a curse, sometimes) and she wanted to use it to save humanity. To save humanity, she would have to help David stop Mr. Big. Once that was done, she could die peacefully. Without regret. Without second thoughts. Without screwing up all of eternity with her meddling.
Vector felt tears welling up in her eyes, but she fought them away, telling herself it was just rainwater on her face. Now was not a time to be weak. Even though the timestream was tearing her body apart, she had to keep bandaging herself and keep moving forward. David needed her. Humanity needed her.
She felt for the ring on the middle finger of her left hand. The skin had long since melted and formed around the piece of radioactive jewelry, deforming her hand so badly that she hated to look at that particular finger. Instead of examining her shortcomings, she closed her eyes and thought of her next destination: Lysallis – that city of sin and grace.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

NaNo Prep - Contest Round #2 - Lady Lysallis

Yesterday's Writing.com October NaNo Prep Challenge was another contest entry requiring a description of one of the settings found in my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel using all five senses. My entry is a description of the city of Lysallis - as a sultry female during the night, and an infected, dying victim during the day.

Here's the entry I wrote for the contest. It's called Lady Lysallis. Enjoy!

Lady Lysallis
At night, Lysallis puts on a show, revealing the sultry female vixen she really is. Her neckline sparkles with cloisters of neon color, buzzing in the night with a tune that all her denizens know by heart. Stockings of taillights and streetlamps cover her slender legs. Her hair, a beehive of skyscrapers, reaches to the starry sky in hopes to flaunt her beauty to all of Anaisha. Her scent is arresting, a mix of sex and blood. Her eyes – the very life of Lysallis – look upon her tenants with ferocity and playfulness. In the comfort of darkness, Lysallis desires intimacy with her murderers, her lovers, and her protectors, touching them tenderly with hands made of sin and glamour.

But  during the day, when light pierces her spirit, Lysallis abandons her audience and, crippled and torn, rests her eyes, shutting them to the noise of herself. While her alley veins carry the toxic blood of her playthings, killing her from the inside, her denizens speak crassly to her in a cryptic curse – tattooing  colorful discourse across her brick and cement skin. In the end, Lysallis is betrayed by those she shelters, her spirit injected with litter and filth, her flesh marred with man’s uncontrollable ego.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tiki-Toki and Timelines

A while back I published an interactive timeline that I created using Tiki-Toki, an absolutely brilliant online timeline creator. My struggle in the beginning was to figure out what to post on the timeline without spoiling the books in my series for those who haven't read them yet. I wanted to give the fans something unique to dive into, but not make it so in depth with plot information that I ruin things for new readers. So, I slapped together a basic chronology of events I felt could fill a small timeline and left things alone.

Lately, with me taking a harder look at the facets of my writing business, I've realized I've been throwing away a really great resource that can be used to draw new readers into my series as well as satisfy the sense of discovery most of my fans have. The timeline that Tiki-Toki allows you to create enables you to import images, write small stories according to what you want in the timeline entries, and even link to outside content - such as purchase links for my books, or character profiles on my own website. You can even put in audio and video files, neither of which I've had the time to mess with though.

Seeing how this has been a neglected resource for me, I've spent the last couple of days updating the timeline with some new images and background, and tweaking some of the settings here and there. And over the next couple of weeks, I will be writing out new entries and polishing up the ones that are already in there. I'm even going to be connecting the timeline to VRKA - once VRKA is live and functional on my website.

I still have a ton of additions and updates to do to the timeline, but for now you can browse what I have and explore the world of my Black Earth and Expired Reality series.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NaNo Prep - Plot Background Story - Order From Chaos

Today's Writing.com October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge is to write up a background story for my NaNo novel's plot. For The LZR Project, my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel, the Lazerblades join with the Enera government to stop the criminal mastermind, Mr. Big. In this short piece of writing, I go into the events that led to the Enera government agreeing to join forces with the Lazerblades to stop Mr. Big and put him behind bars once and for all.

Order From Chaos -
The twinkling skyline of Lysallis filled David's vision, dazzling him with its beauty. Against the black backdrop of the night sky, beautiful emeralds and sapphires and rubies sparkled, giving off an innocent visage to the rats and scorpions scurrying beneath their surface.

Moments later, his view of the skyline swung upward as he missed the edge of the roof, tumbled down the brick wall, and landed in a dumpster. David fumbled with the garbage bags, accidentally ripping one open and pushing his hand into a pile of refuse. He cringed, pulled his hand out, shook it off, and found the edge of the dumpster. He pulled himself out, his muscles aching with the effort, and attempted to get his bearings. Mr. Big had been heading south when David attempted to leap the gap between the roofs...and failed.

He pushed his earpiece in with his left hand while he wiped the garbage off his right onto his pants. “I lost him.”

“We still have him – “

“Copy that, you still have him? Where is he?”


“Guys, where is Mr. Big?”

David rushed through the alley and came out on the street. Shops – most of them closed, with their neon welcome signs dormant – lined the road on both sides. Street lamps refused to give their glow. The scent of sewage seeped up from the pothole near his feet. David always marveled at how downtown Lysallis could at one time be a vibrant chest of glittering gems and also a murky toilet full of filth.

“He’s still heading south, toward city hall.”

David ran down the dark city street, afraid to imagine what Mr. Big was planning on doing near city hall.

Thunder boomed. Alarms rang out.

David pressed in on his earpiece. “What happened?!”

“City hall. Emergency units are en route.”

David stopped running and took a moment to catch his breath.

“I merely did what you couldn’t do, David.”

He pressed in on his earpiece. “Mr. Big.”

“You know as well as I do that politics are the bane of this fine city. Get rid of the politics – or at least stall them a bit – and maybe those of us who want change can have time to turn things around.”

“Don’t do this. Please, don’t do this.”

“Your pleas do not fall on deaf or uncaring ears, David. I sympathize with you and your efforts to bring peace to Lysallis. But while you believe peace is the most important jewel in the crown that is Lysallis, I believe order is what will save the day. Order from chaos.”

“I’ll catch you, Big. I’ll catch you. I’ll put you away forever.”

“Maybe. Maybe not. Before that happens though, I will bring change to Lysallis. I will bring order. City hall was only the start. Every great plan has to have a start, right? Go there. See the beginning, the root, of change. Once you’ve taken that into account, that change has begun, keep your eyes peeled for order to sprout out of the chaos I have created. It is only inevitable.”

“I’ll stop you.”

“Please don’t. You would only be stopping what you so desperately want yourself. Because see, out of order, comes peace. You think you can go from chaos to peace. But really, you must have order in the middle of those, to bring an established foundation for peace, right?”

“Where are you?”

“Give up trying to find me. Focus your energy on cleaning up the chaos. Help restore order. Help bring the peace you so desperately seek.”

Sunday, October 6, 2013

NaNo Prep - Contest Round #1 - Burning Time

Yesterday's Writing.com October NaNo Prep Challenge was actually a contest entry requiring a back story of my NaNoWriMo novel's protagonist, which in this case is David Corbin from my Expired Reality series. He is the central character in my NaNo novel, The LZR Project, and the backstory I picked to write about him involves the clocktower that collapsed on an orphan girl years before the books take place.

Here's the scene that I wrote and entered in the contest. It's called Burning Time. Enjoy!

Burning Time
Amidst the smells of burning wood and ancient dust in the shaft of the burning clock tower, David thought – however brief the thought was – that he also sniffed jasmine. It was a silly thing for one to smell jasmine while escaping a crumbling twenty-story clock tower, but it was a scent he knew from his past, because it was a scent his mother used to walk in when he was younger.

The brief scent of jasmine did nothing to stall his feet though, which raced down the zig-zag flights, creaking and splintered, down toward the main lobby of the tower, Veronica and Carrie taking the lead in front of him.

Dark hands made of thick smoke grasped at him, like the bony appendages of the dead attempting to pull him into the Depths. He refused to slow down, stop, or give up, knowing that there were only a few more stories to get down and then they would be free of this towering prison.

“We’re not going to...cough...make...make it!” Carrie shouted.

Veronica grabbed her friend’s arm and forced Carrie to move faster down the steps, careful not to step wrong on the weakening wood. “We’ll make it.”

David had his doubts, but he kept them to himself. Above them in the top of the tower, only minutes earlier, he had saved Veronica’s life. Tabitha Rose had attempted to kill Veronica and Carrie in an act of revenge against David. He wasn’t about to let his own rescue attempts be in vain, and would die three times over to give his friends a chance to live another day, even if it meant crumpling to his doom under this burning debris.

The smoke moved faster, as if it was being blown by demon’s breath down the shaft. David felt the heat tickle his neck, and rip the sweat from his body, but he refused to slow down. When they reached the bottom step, he gave Veronica and Carrie a shove out the door, as if a few feet of distance would matter in his rescue attempt.

As soon as David escaped into the dirt lot, he sucked in a gasp of fresh night air and kept running. When they were finally far enough away to be considered relatively safe from imminent death, David dropped to his knees and took a trilogy of deep breathes, exhaling each slowly, willing himself not to pass out. His lungs burned like the rotting wood of the clock tower, and his muscles were beginning to scream at him for what he had just put them through.

Veronica took hold of his shoulder. “You saved us, David. I owe you my life. You know that, right?”

He said nothing.

By the time he realized there had been an explosion, he was already on his back in the dirt, particles of sand and dust filling in the cracks of his eyes, nose, and mouth. When he opened his eyes, the dizziness kicked in. He heard Veronica’s muffled tone ask if Carrie and David were okay. When his vision cleared, he realized Veronica had bleeding scratches across her face, and Carrie’s hair was jumbled atop her head, splinters of wood littering her brown strands.

David looked out at the clock tower and watched as the whole crippled citadel toppled to the ground in a massive cloud of dust and smoke.

“Tabitha was up there,” Carrie said in a low tone.

David waited for the dust and smoke to reach them before putting his shirt up over his mouth. He closed his eyes and waited for it to pass them. When things cleared, he stood up and began walking toward the pile of rubble, afraid that he might find Tabitha’s dead body buried beneath the debris.

“She had it rigged the whole time, didn’t she?” Carrie asked as she and Veronica came up behind him.

Veronica nodded. “She had to have. We didn’t put a bomb in there. “

David approached the spread of wreckage and began stepping over broken beams, fire embers still peering out of their wooden surfaces. Various iron pieces protruded from the debris, no doubt pieces of the clock itself asking for help to be put back together again. David could offer none. He was on a mission to find Tabitha’s body, dead or alive, so he could put his mind at peace.

He stepped over a particularly rotten piece of beam and almost twisted his ankle retreating from stepping on a small hand he found coming out from under a large scorched gear. David bent down and grabbed a piece of the gear that wasn’t sharp, and quickly stumbled backwards once the metal burned his palms.

Veronica and Carrie rushed over and helped him carefully remove the large piece of metal with a few pieces of unburned timber. When the gear was to the side and out of the way, David buried his scorched hands in his shirt in an attempt to extinguish the pain, and looked down where the clock gear had once sat.

The little girl’s face had been burned beyond recognition. In fact, her little hand was the only limb that wasn’t blackened by the burning hot gear.

Carrie turned away and began dry heaving off to the side. David turned to Veronica, who simply stood, arms crossed, staring at the burned corpse as if it was a tabletop puzzle missing a few pieces. “The ring on her good hand?” Veronica asked.

David quickly glanced down to the little girl’s hand and noticed the bright yellow ring on her middle finger. “What about it?”

“She was a homeless. Maybe a runaway, but more than likely an orphan. Some of the homeless around here wear those yellow rings. They say the rings remind them that they are worth gold, and it helps get them through the tough days.”

David turned and walked away from the destruction, no destination in mind. He knew he had to get away, had to put as much distance between himself and the sorrow that had already begun to wrack his spirit. Sirens rang out through the city. He had saved two lives, only to lose one who was worth more than all of them combined.

Friday, October 4, 2013


* Virtual * Real-Time * Knowledge * Assistant *
Those of you who have visited my website in the past know of The Compendium, a virtual database I put together that features profiles on the characters, artifacts, technology, and other elements of my Expired Reality and Black Earth series. I am currently redesigning The Compendium - which will soon be referenced as VRKA - to reflect a new 'computer database system' that will be introduced at length in Dark Horizons, the upcoming third novel in my Expired Reality series. Much like The Compendium, VRKA will be a website addition which will contain character profiles, artifact summaries, world history, and other various chunks of knowledge from both series, and will make this information available on the website on a regular basis beginning this January.

All current Compendium entries will be polished (some rewritten) and rolled out again once VRKA has been released, along with a semi-brief introduction as to what (or who) VRKA is. For now, I'll give you a hint - remember that computer virus that Howard Grey infected SilverTech Industries with in the Black Earth series...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October NaNo Prep - Story Premise

Today is the first day of the Writing.com October NaNoWriMo Prep Challenge, and the activity of the day is to write out the premise for the novel we will be working on in November. I'm not going to post each activity that I do every day, but I will be posting some of what I am sketching out to give all of you a great idea as to what The LZR Project - my NaNoWriMo 2013 'novel' - is all about.

The LZR Project is a 24 episode short story series within my Expired Reality universe centering around the alliance created by the Lazerblades and the Enera Government for the purpose of capturing the criminal mastermind known as Mr. Big. Each episode will serve as a great stand-alone story, but will also connect to previous and future episodes. Episodes will alternate POVs, meaning one episode may be told from David Corbin’s point of view, while another episode may be told from Veronica Amorou’s point of view. This will allow for great character depth.

The main story arc that The LZR Project will be covering is the Lazerblade’s attempt to capture Mr. Big and put him in prison for good. Many other story arcs will weave around this main arc, including friction between David Corbin and Sean Amorou on the use of violence and lethal weapons, the emergence of a brand new superhero who attempts to capture Mr. Big by themselves – potentially creating a mess for the Lazerblades, and the ongoing struggle that David Corbin endures while trying to save a city from the clutches of a madman without going mad himself.