Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Last Minute!

Or at least the last 32 hours.

This is it. The Writing Dangerously Indiegogo closes tomorrow at Midnight Pacific Time.

$282 official donations have come in and I appreciate every one.

If you read my books, or even if you like the excerpts, please kick in. The book is getting written, just perhaps not in a single month, because I will be working.

Every dollar helps. But every $20 helps more. 8)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

[Religion] On Believing in Gods

[Mirrored from LiveJournal]

I've been asked several times lately "Why don't you believe in God?"

My answer is always the same. "It would be like believing in the postman." (Hattip to Terry Prachett)

They don't get it. They never get it. All they hear is that I'm not a Christian, so of COURSE I don't believe in God.

For me, the gods are real. All the gods from Ahura-Mazda to Zeus. They aren't physical realities. They aren't people. They are useful metaphors and ways of thinking about the world, much like archetypes, TV tropes or even tarot cards.

I read tarot. I ALWAYS preface my reading with "The cards know nothing. What they are is a reframing device to allow you to organize the knowledge you already have." This is why my cards never lie. Because they only tell you what you already know. But much as est wraps up your bad personality traits and hands them back with confidence and a shiny bow on top (does anyone still do est? Or did that die in 1983?), the cards clarify things.

Gods do the same thing for me.

They're someone to talk to when I can't explain to my human friends and family. They're a way of focusing my will when my own focus seems distracted. (and since magic is just applied will, this focus is vital) I work more closely with some gods than with others. I don't get along with some deities at all.

Those who know me, know I have a running quarrel with Loki. This has lessened considerably since Hermes laid claim to me, saying, "This writer, this traveler, this one who engages in commerce, she is MINE." Trickster gods are never dull, if never quite cozy and comfortable. Coyote is not my patron, but I catch him keeping an eye on me now and then.

The Egyptian gods have not called me to worship their pantheon. Ma'at in particular has no use at all for me.

Oddly, the Celts aren't all that interested in me either. The Green Man loves me madly, and in spring, when he laughs from every tree and bush, he makes me feel young and desirable. The rest, not so much.

The Norse pantheon and I are well acquainted, but they have let me know I am not theirs. Frigga offers the occasional aid, as does Freya. Odin is more rare. Loki just messes with me. And Thor is not my bestest buddy.

The Greeks, well, no one was more surprised than I when Hera took me up. And Hermes was another shock. I had always thought of myself as possibly Athena's girl, but she is uninterested in me.

I do not appropriate gods from outside my culture. No Kali or Shiva, no Amaterasu or Tlaloc.

YHWH does not like me. He doesn't like any of us who walk away from worshiping him. People get offended when I say he tried killing my daughters, making them mentally ill so they would commit suicide, when I walked away. I was told numerous times, from numerous sources (including dreams) that they would get better and live if I came back. People say God doesn't work that way. I raise one eyebrow and say "Tell it to the mothers of Egypt." (This is why I find Passover a problematic holiday. It boils down to "Please, God, don't kill us. We'll feed you sheep's blood. Go kill the goyim kids next door.") I would say, in a way, having confronted this deity and stood up to him, he is more real for me than he is for those who simply sing and pray on Sundays.

Jesus loves me, but I can't live with him. He's that one ex. That ex you still love, and still bump into occasionally. You have a couple hugs and a laugh or two, and then you remember why you broke up. (and I find, oddly, a lot of Christians don't get the "Jesus as boyfriend" metaphor. I tend to ask "What rock have you been under for 30 years?") He's sweet, and he says he loves me, but he wants me to change everything to show how much I love him. I can't do that.

Believing in gods is silly, for me.
It's like believing in screwdrivers or dentures.

And yeah, I can talk all I want about how they're just metaphors and useful ones. But at the end of the day?
I talk about them like they're people. Then again, I talk about everyone, real and metaphorical and fictional, the same way. Anita Blake has the same reality to me as Kali, and they're both as real as my neighbors down the street.

Edit to add a footnote: the last est seminar was in 1984.

Two days

Penultimate chance! 

I have $282 official dollars raised (and a $50 contribution off line) And it looks like it might be DJ Admire, because as I was reminded today, Urban Fantasy needs more Urban Folks. So bring on the Hispanic cop partner and give the Bluesmen a bigger role.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Snippet from the Work in Progress

This is from Terror of the Frozen North, the sequel to Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurists

Zimmer came over to the stove smiling and rubbing his hands together before extending them to the fire. “It's all set. We have three sleds and we'll try my arctic transport devices as well. Charles, you will take one sled, sharing with food and tents, because we need the rest for cargo.”

“Apparently, I'm supercargo,” Nigel grumbled, taking his turn at the stove. “You get a nice passenger sled and I get to ride atop a disassembled contraption.”

Zimmer shrugged. “You can always ride the mechanized cargo transport with me. However, given there is still a small chance of explosion, I thought you'd prefer the safer method.” He looked at Edward. “Your lordship will be testing a personalized arctic transport. It's based on existing snow fliers and diesel powered, so it should be capable of speeds up to thirty-five miles an hour, about twice as fast as the sleds.” He looked around. “I propose a hot meal before we head into the wastes.”

Charlie had no quarrel with the idea but the food put before him was as strange as any he'd faced in Egypt or Turkey. The salted herring with onion gravy was nothing like the golden fried cod in London. Fresh rye bread with real butter and peasoup rounded the meal out and puffy pancake balls finished out the meal. Edward ate heartily, clearly dreading another adventure spent on bully beef and machanochie.

They were finishing the last of the pancakes when the head of the crew came to report they had off-loaded everything and loaded the dogsleds. The mushers were waiting.

“Splendid,” Zimmer said. “You and the men help yourself to lunch. We'll be back in a week or so.”

“We're not taking them with us?” Charlie asked.

“We shouldn't need them. The machinery is entirely designed to be assembled and operated by two to three man crews. This will be a full field test. The mushers will handle the transport, but the testing is all on us.”

Zimmer took them out to where three dogsleds with their teams of ten dogs waited in harness. An odd looking machine, looking a bit like a motorcycle on skiis with a large five-bladed propeller behind it, stood with bulging saddlebags draped over the comfortable looking seat. Beside it, a blocky thing on treads, with skiis instead of the front wheels, looked ready to rumble its way across the ice all the way to Canada.

“The cargo transport, and the personal transport. You'll be testing the gear in the saddlebags as well, your lordship. It should carry two soldiers, their weapons and gear much quicker than most forms of ice transport we have now. I based it on Alexander Graham Bell's airboat design. Had old Napoleon used a few hundred of these, the Bolsheviks would all be speaking French.”

Charlie give a thin smile at the joke. He watched, shifting from foot to foot, as Edward straddled the personal transport. He looked at the dogsled waiting for him, packed with gear and a Charlie-sized gap in the middle. The tarp meant to go over it tempted him. He could bundle in, safe and warm, while Zimmer drove the heated truck and Edward froze on the personal transport.

“Load the sled,” he said. “I'll ride with Edward. It's a two-man transport, after all. Let's test it properly.”

Keep the words flowing! Support Writing Dangerously!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gimme Five! Five days, that is

We've gotten some momentum and tripled the donations in the last 3 days. Thanks to all who have donated and boosted signal.

Keep Angel eating steadily as she writes!
Ensure adequate caffeine!

And all for the price of an ebook: $5.
Or a paperback: $20
Or you can join the adventure for $75.
(Don't worry, we won't have you do anything that would embarrass your least not without your consent!)


And just to whet your appetite, some steampunk medical fetish. This is from "Induced Paroxysms" in the Adventuresses collection.

I circled her once more, letting the tension in the room build. I stopped between her legs and addressed the audience again.

“It is my theory that nervous hysteria is caused by a lack of stimulation to the female genitalia. Therefore, we shall proceed to induce paroxysms of pleasure in our subject until she sweats. After that, she shall have a brief rest while I take questions. Then, we shall have a second round of induction and see whether she is greatly improved after that.”

"Quackery,” shouted a male voice from the back row. I looked up and saw a man in a top hat and elaborate, multi-lensed monocle start down the stairs. “Everyone knows that such stimulation is actually quite dangerous for women of quality. Lesser women can endure much of it with no ill effects, but the flower of British womanhood should not be subjected to such outrage in the name of medicine.”

I simply laughed as he reached the floor. “And what would a man know of the illnesses of women? Has he endured the monthly curse? Has he been subject to the whims of the moon and of his own body? Has he borne children in pain and blood? You know nothing, sir. I doubt you know which hole produces healthy infants and which produces only waste. I am quite sure your mother's midwife did not, for she seems to have discarded the baby and kept the other product.”

The audience laughed at that. He tore off his hat.

“Demme, woman, do you mean to say that you, with your feeble brain, have more knowledge than I?”

The crowd roared.

“Indeed I do, at least in this one area. Should we test our relative enlightenment in the field of appearing a jackass in public, I doubt I should prove the better.”

That got an even bigger laugh, He winked at me and we went for the big finish. “This poor unfortunate, lying immobilized on the table behind us, can clearly endure any of these coarse uses you put her to, and more than likely has on many occasions. But the ladies of quality, such as are assembled in the rows and watching, could not and furthermore would not, tolerate such violation of their modesty.”

As if we'd coached her, one woman on the second row stood up and yelled, “Oh please, madame doctor, violate me next!”

The rest caught on. “No, me!” “Me after that!” filtered around until all the women were on their feet begging to be in Casey's position. I held up my hand for quiet.

“If our oh-so-learned colleague will take his outraged morals back to his seat and there use them for a cushion until such time as our demonstration is done, we shall proceed. After the demonstration, provided it works as it should, there will be a subscription sheet for treatments and for my newsletter.”

Alex clamped his hat back on his head and stomped up to the back row, fuming and muttering under his breath. He'd played it perfectly. Now, I hoped he had the sense to slip out before the end and change his costume before some of the ladies decided to re-enact a Rite of the Maneads on him after the show.

“As I was saying before our omniscient colleague chose to enlighten us poor feeblebrained women about the true natures of our bodies, we shall induce in the subject a series of ecstatic paroxysms created by stimulation to her vulva, vaginal cavity and clitoris, aided in part by the pressure on her nipples.” I dropped all semblance of the neutral physician. “Who is ready to watch her writhe?” I shouted, and snapped my goggles over my eyes with a maniacal laugh, all mad scientist now.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Inkstained Succubus anthology calls

We have 4 open anthologies.
All anthologies pay royalties, an equal share of 40% split among authors.
Wordcount is 5,000-10,000 words, unless otherwise specified
Guidelines available at

 Taking Flight Deadline: June 15th, 2014

Whether angels, demonics, birdfolk, elves, or the Tuatha de Dannan, we have always been fascinated by wings. For this anthology, we ask for your greatest erotic fiction with wings. Let us touch the soft feathers or spidersilk and be wrapped in them, strange sensations against flesh. All pairings welcome, all genres considered. 

Pairing: Any (M/M, F/F, M/F, Trans* inclusive) erotic
Happy ending required. ​
Expected Release: September 1st, 2014


Candle in the Dark Deadline: September 15, 2014

 Deck the halls, and pull out the holly and the ivy. The longest, darkest night of the year should be brighter because of the warmth of romance and the heat of passion. Winter holidays abound in this anthology, with a wide welcome to any traditional (or inventive) winter holiday. Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Saturnalia, or Solstice, if your boys celebrate it, we want their story. 

Pairing: M/M erotic
Happy ending required. ​
Expected Release: December 1st, 2014

 Somewhere Out There Deadline: December 15th, 2014

Beyond our understanding lies a great, wide galaxy full of adventure, romance, and very, very hot beings. This anthology is fully science-fiction, both far and near future, with or without dystopia. Introduce us to your finest worldbuilding and storytelling, and show us your view of the future...and who will be with whom in it. 

Pairing: Any (M/M, M/F, F/F, Trans* and Poly inclusive) erotic
Happy ending not required, though Happy For Now encouraged. ​
Expected Release: March 1st, 2015

 Note: This is a line, not just an anthology. With a good response, we'll be launching a SF/F line. Therefore, submissions for this call should be 3k-15k for the anthology, but 15k-100k will be considered for simultaneous release.


 [Untitled Genderqueer Anthology] Deadline: March 15th, 2015

The spectrum would be a dark place with only black and white, and gender is no exception. We want your finest genderqueer/fluid characters doing what they do best. Whether science-fiction, fantasy, steampunk, or paranormal, these stories should be plot focused and starring a character not on the normal gender spectrum. However, we emphasize that this is not an anthology for genderqueer issues. 

Pairing: Genderqueer, Any erotic level
Happy For Now required. ​
Expected Release: June 1st, 2015

NOTE: Also seeking an inventive, inclusive name for this anthology.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Eight Days from the End. Nowhere near the Goal

Eight Days Left! Only 8 and we are far from the goal. 
Do you read me? This is simply buying the next novel ahead of time. Could be steampunk Civil War zombies, could be WWII furries, could be DJ Admire. YOU get to help decide. $5 for an ebook. A ebook with a shout out to YOU! Tell me that's not a good deal.

All of these are viable projects, I just need time.

A sample of the two already begun:

“What brings you to my door this late, Henry?” Frank asked, his voice steady. Arthur could smell his fear. The same fear rolled off Henry in waves.

“You really are blind,” Henry whispered. “I'd heard, but... I'm sorry, Frank. It's the war. You know it is. Roosevelt is going to ask for more funding in a couple weeks. Then comes conscription. Your boys, they won't be conscripted. They'll just be commandeered. I saw the preliminary draft of the orders last week.”

“What do we do?” Arthur asked.

Henry looked up at me. “He talks. Oh, Frank, that's bad. Most constructs aren't taught to talk. They're treated like animals with human traits. But he can talk, so that makes him half a person, under the law.” Henry shook his head. Arthur didn't know if he liked him or not.

“They're coming, Frank. You and your boys are pretty well known throughout the South. Everyone knows about Leo the Lion-dancer, and Arthur the Teddy-bear Boy. If you're lucky, the War department will use them for recruiting material and they'll never see the front. A lot of movie stars are doing that, making war movies.”

“More are signing up, the radio says. Leslie Howard and David Niven have gone into the RAF, I heard. I hear bad news waiting, Henry. Quit beating around the bush and tell me.”

“All constructs are now property of the US government, to be utilized in the war effort. That's all the orders say, but I've heard men talking, Frank. Think about the dogs and pigeons we used. Remember what they did to Joseph.”

Frank nodded solemnly. “I remember. I've been expecting this night. Thank you for coming ahead of the news.”

“I know some other folks with construct relatives, and they're hiding them. You can't hide the boys, Frank. They're too well known.”

“We'll go about the work, like always,” Arthur said. “We'll travel with the show. Gordon will dance. I'll be myself. Mama can still sing. If the army wants us, they can come get us. But they have to wait until the performance is over.”

Frank chuckled. “My boy knows his own mind, Henry."


Captain Morgan is my reality filter, and today I needed all the filtering I could get. It was an ordinary October Wednesday in Memphis, pollen count through the roof, just off the full moon and eighty degrees with humidity that made clothes and pollen stick to everything.

I'd known the day would be bad when my phone went off at seven. Only the Memphis P.D. rings in on the Andy Griffith theme. 

“Admire here,” I snarled. It was too damn early to be polite and my late night liaison with the Captain had left my eyeballs trying to eat my brain with tiny sharp teeth.

“Miss Admire, Captain Williams here. I need to see you. I have something my guys can't handle. Not even the Preternatural and Magic Squadron can figure it.”

If the Bitch Patrol, a crack squad of eight female cops who were also top-rated sorceresses, witches and talismongers, couldn't handle something, I sure as hell didn't want it. I'm just a No-Talent PI, without enough magic to train, but just enough to drive me straight into the Nightside and the bottle.

I thought about the last few jobs I'd done. I thought about the fact that the cops did pay. I thought about my rent.

So, despite my pounding head, I pulled myself out of the Murphy bed in my office and headed down to 201 Poplar.

Two hours later, I was sitting back at my desk, staring at one of the ugliest serial killer cases I'd ever seen. Bad enough when they're killing prostitutes or drunks. Some people even consider that a public service.  But this one...

Five children, each on the night before the full moon. Every one asleep in their own house, in their own little bed. Three girls and two boys, found dead by their parents, blood soaking the beds and carpets, all flesh missing from hip to knee.

I just stared. Five kids, killed and not a sound heard by parents and no trace of the missing flesh. Two girls, three boys. Two black, two white, one Hispanic. No pattern, not even a common neighborhood. The deaths were scattered from Bartlett to Raleigh to Orange Mound. I didn't look at the names or pictures. That was more than I really wanted to know about the kids.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Art Collecting in a Dystopia

One of the first things any repressive regime does is crack down on the creative.
Scholars and artists will either serve the regime, or die. Every authoritarian state does this: China, Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany.

The idea even finds its way into fiction. Princess Leia deuterocanonically (Splinter of the Mind's Eye) joined the Rebellion because she had trouble finding entertainment. Her boredom with popular culture opened her eyes to how the Empire repressed the creative, and then, by extension, everyone.

In the dark future of the Eight Thrones universe, we catch some glimpses of popular culture in the Confederated States, arguably the most repressive regime in North America.

Women and people of color are not allowed to perform. The news is broadcast only by white men and without makeup. Sports are entirely white. Singing groups are all male. Female roles in movies are cut to bare minimum, sometimes not existing at all. Inspirational romance, Christian fiction and such are the only acceptable books. Imagine an eternity of movies like Fireproof and Left Behind, (not to smear my friend Eric Wilson who wrote the Fireproof tie-in) and books like When the Soul Mends (a popular Amish romance).

"Stevens punched buttons on the radio, the two-way turned down to a low hiss of static. He flipped through a male soloist, a men’s choir, a traffic report for Memphis, a preacher inveighing against immodesty in women, the news, a men’s quartet, more news and another preacher reading from Ezekiel. The cop turned it off." --Glad Hands

But in The Building, where the Ligatos Group holds sway, anything goes. And Ligatos' body-slave, David, is an art collector, of certain types.

A bit of an egotist, he collects replicas of famous David sculptures

These stand in various places in his living room. The pothos, Devil's Ivy, has nearly eaten his Bernini replica (the first one)

But David is a man of tastes ( trope: Wicked Cultured)
In his bedroom, he not only has a bed large enough for four, but an X-frame.
And the art on the walls is appropriate. He favors Mapplethorpe and Tom of Finland.


(he also has the very famous fisting one, but I'm not putting that up here)

Of course, any one of these, including the Michelangelo, is enough to get David executed, as if his taste for men didn't already cement that.

New proteges, especially from more repressive countries such as Heartland or the CS tend to stare, gaping, the first time they enter his bedroom.

(this post brought to you because Finland is putting old Tom on stamps!)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Snippets Around the Cyberverse

Because "Chained to the Wheel" is coming out this Friday, have some samples of life in the Cyber'verse.

As always:
If you like the tastes, buy the books.
If you want to be part of the process, help out at Indiegogo.

Swimming Through the Net

Buy Link:

Pairing: m/m

Synopsis: Swift-Current is one of The Wheelman's Immortals, a mutilated hacker forced to run the Net in atonement for his crimes against the corporation. He doesn't mind his life, until he falls in love with another Immortal...

A series of alarm bubbles, large and unpleasant, rattled him from his drowsing. He drifted over to the mirror and ran one webbed hand through his long green hair. He liked it long for the private moments. When he swam in search of data, he shaved his head for better motion. He picked up a comb of bone, inlaid with pearls, and used it. A touch of kelp made his lips greener. A bit of squid ink darkened his eyes.

He checked his gills and tipped them with some kelp, too. His tail was fine, he decided as he flicked an errant snail off his fluke.

He was ready to go when Mark came in. The other runner walked to the edges of his program, then dived in, coming up as a merman himself. His tommy-gun became a trident similar to Swift-Current’s own, and his three-piece suit melded into a long silver body with rainbow-edged scales. The identity code read Deep-
Dives. Swift-Current smiled. In Mark’s program, he was listed as Senior Professor Shelby Randolf West.

“You look beautiful, like pearl and porphyry,” Deep-Dives sang at him. The newly-made merman, his short black hair in wild disarray, his gills flaring with exertion, swam to him. Their tails twined together and Deep-Dives embraced him. It had been weeks of objective time, much longer in the subjective world of the net. Mark, his own Deep-Dives, belonged to him here, and no one else.

“I missed you, my love,” Swift-Current sang back, feeling the compliment in every scale that had received Deep-Dives’ song.

Hard Reboot
 Buy Link

Pairing: M/f, some F/m

Synopsis: Sean's wife, Caitlin, was stolen from his bed and brainswashed. But the man who had her altered finds she is not what he wants, so he hires Sean to do a complete reboot of Caitlin's personality. But Caitlin has her own ideas about who and what she should be.

He got them onto the cracked concrete sidewalk and led her to the apartment, relief growing as he drew closer to relative safety. A block away, a skinny kid, maybe twenty, with a shaved head and Aryan tattoos left off rummaging in a trash bin and deliberately stepped into their way. He flicked open a rusty switchblade and eyed the bags. Sean stopped, barely ending short of the knife. The punk grinned, waving the blade in a lazy, hypnotic figure-eight.
Guten tag. You will be giving me your credchip, ja, und das fraulein’s necklace. Und ein bag mit die food.”

Sean shook his head, both at the request and the kid’s language rather than his threat. These kids never learned. This one wasn’t long for the streets. White-power types were ridiculously outnumbered.

Schnell! Schnell, schwein.”

“You’re not actually inspiring me to go any faster, kiddo,” Sean said. He checked for backup, since this type usually ran in packs, but the punk was alone. Sean didn’t care if he was lost from the group, a loner, or just high and hungry. He decided to end the stand-off before it started.

Sean flicked out his own razors, and relished the way the kid startled. He ran a tongue-tip along the flat of one. “I’ll see your blade and raise you four. And I bet I’ve been using these a lot longer than you.” The kid stared. Sean made a slicing gesture and he backed away. “Go try your blade-master bandito routine on someone else, kiddo. I’ve had a really bad day and you are between me and a cup of coffee. I really don’t want to mess up my nice sidewalk with your yellow guts.” Sean flicked again, very quickly, this time
snagging the front of the punk’s shirt and shredding two long gashes in it, barely scratching the kid’s skin. “But it wouldn’t take me more than a couple seconds. So you really, really, really want to get out of my way. Schnell, ja?” he taunted.

Turning the Tables: Double Dealing
Buy Link

Pairing: F/m

Synosis: Zara's husband David, one of the twin heads of a premier biotech company, may not quite be what he seems. His violent history, long suppressed with a neural implant, is re-emerging in strange ways, and he—or his twin brother—may be Double Dealing with their identities. It will take cleverness, courage, and the services of a world class hacker to untangle the web of deception around the brothers Gemini.

Zara appreciated the food and the wine, even as the conversation remained at a minimum. She tried not to talk, out of respect for Niall. David was too far down to talk.

Subspace was not exactly hypnotism, but a focused form of awareness. Zara had made her own journeys through the various levels, from silent and utterly focused on her master's pleasure, to lightly down and functioning in public with no impairment. Right now, nothing existed in David's world except pleasing Ariel. Even she, his own wife, was a secondary concern.

She did lay one hand over David's and smiled. "It's excellent, love." He smiled in return and bowed his head a little, graciously accepting praise from his Mistress.

"Ariel, how far down is he?"

Ariel smiled, a grim one that Zara had never liked seeing. "As far as I need him to be for our safety. I had his head checked. He has found a way to remove it." His smile vanished. "And if it weren't for a lot of very early training and programming, we would both be in great trouble."

Zara nodded. "Indeed." She addressed herself to her food and listened as Ariel and Niall talked of all the small things that lovers found dear. She wished she could be alone with David, bring him up to a level where he could speak and do the same. But until he was re-chipped, he had to remain at the silent and servile level of subspace. David was easily as intelligent as she was and would turn any higher levels to his own ends.

She shivered and had another drink of wine. As Ariel had said, those ends would be her death and Ariel's and all of LedaCorp turned into a bloodbath to sate the demons in her husband's skull.

That could not happen.

Coming April 11:
Tall, Dark and Wriggly: Chained to the Wheel

Buy Link

Pairing: M/m

Synopsis: Niall made one too many forays into The Wheelman's databanks. Now, he is paying for his daring, as the Wheelman's private housepet. And the demands are growing ever more difficult. (This predates the previous two, taking place at the same time as Swimming)

The pleasure was in anticipation. Three days later, Erik Ezekiel reminded himself of this over and over. He had sent Swift­Current to his rendezvous. If his legs still worked, he would be pacing as he waited. The extraction team had been dispatched to the squalid apartment where Niall lived with his brother, Sean. Surveillance drones showed Sean had left the apartment about ten minutes before, and taken his motorcycle.

Net­runners had no sense of flair, Erik thought. They all lived in such fetid holes with no good furniture or plumbing. They might have millions squirreled away, but most of them ate nutribars or protein shakes, never bothering with real food. Bad habits. He would give Niall expensive tastes before his wolf was immobilized.

Yes, to accustom the boy to a life of luxury, and then when he rebelled against his captivity as they all did, take from him every physical pleasure—that was an exquisite cruelty, one worthy of Gemini's subtlety, but purely the Wheelman's in viciousness.

But there had to be a choice. There was always a choice. The Wheelman was not a rapist, no matter how often the Net­tabloids called him such. Every man who came to his bed came fully consenting. Of course, it didn't mean he had to offer particularly attractive alternatives to his apartments.

Most hackers, faced with quadruple amputation, a gastro­insert feeding tube, and waste removal tubes hooked into life­support chairs were more than willing to enjoy good coffee, tea with real cream, real meat from real food animals, and hydroponically grown vegetables. They acquired a taste for the soft bed, the luxurious bathroom with hot water at every possible hour, the endless entertainment options. And if they were called on to occasionally pleasure an older gentleman in the Net, where he had full control of his body, most considered that an acceptable price for the good life.

The Timberwolf would be no different. Despite his surname, the Wheelman doubted there was enough of his legendary ancestral fight left in the line to cause a problem. No, his little Niall would roll right over like a puppy waiting to have its belly scratched.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Indiegogo Reminder

20 Days and Counting.

Watch me work without a net!
Be part of the Creative Process!
Buy an ebook! Or a paperback...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Cleverness of Me

I have a bad habit of rereading my own work.
Here is this morning's piece, from Power in the Blood.

(The Kid, Ambrose Doolittle, is the one in the red neckerchief on the cover. Jacob shot him in about 1890 in a card game, making him Undying.)

He rose and followed Jacob to the bathroom, only to flinch at the sight of two iron spikes and a heavy mallet. It would be hard penance, but he would endure it. Jacob only did it from love of him. He needed to be perfect to carry out the Hunt, and Jacob would make him perfect once more.

"Stand within the shower stall, son," Jacob said. "Strip to your small clothes."

The Kid stepped out of his gun belts first. Then he shed his boots, socks, and jeans. He took off his shirt and folded it neatly. He stood in the little shower cubicle, wearing only his briefs, and waited.

"Hands above your head, wrists crossed," Jacob ordered.

The Kid obeyed, taking a deep breath to brace himself. He shut his eyes, not needing to see this coming. He held his breath until he felt the touch of the iron spike on the thin skin of his wrists. Then he let it out with a whispered "yes." He always said yes to

Long ago, they had walked on the beach in Mexico, enjoying the blue waters of the Gulf. Jacob had picked up a nautilus shell, a dirty drab thing. "We are like this shell," he had said. "We are filthy. But pain, holy pain is like the tide." He swished the shell through the water, washing it clean. "When we let it flow through us and fill us, it will wash back out, taking our filth and debris with it." Jacob  turned the shell over to show him the lustrous mother-of-pearl interior, clean and gleaming. "When we say no to the pain, to God's chastisement, we trap our own sin within ourselves." He folded the shell into the Kid's hands. "Remember the shell when the tide of pain washes through you."

Jacob struck hard, driving the spike through skin and tendon, between the bones and into the wall behind him. The Kid bit down on his screams, holding them as long as he could and thinking of the nautilus shell that still rode in his saddlebag. The tension made the second blow, which fixed him more firmly to the wall, twice as painful as the first.

"Beloved Ambrose," Jacob said, bending in for a kiss, his long frame over a head taller than the Kid's. With his maker's tongue in his mouth, the Kid let go of the screams, giving them all to Jacob, letting him taste and swallow them.

After several long minutes, Jacob broke the kiss, the Kid found the pain had subsided to a bearable level, and he no longer needed to scream. He stood, sobbing with pain, feeling the blood run down the skin of his inner arms. He flexed his hands involuntarily and gasped at the agony.

Jacob kissed him again. "Yes, Beloved. Take the pain and grow from it. For just as the caterpillar must die to become a butterfly, so we must die to become what we are. My beautiful little caterpillar, let this be your glass cocoon." He flicked the Plexiglas door with one finger.

He dropped to one knee, and Ambrose retained enough presence of mind to cross his ankles for the second spike. That one scraped tibia and fibula as it slid through the space between them just above the ankles. Jacob had told him that spiking the actual feet made for longer recovery, since it broke so many bones. They'd all had it through the feet once, when Jacob and Ambrose and all his brothers had undergone a purifying crucifixion ritual in the Philippines back in 1965. It had taken him a week to regenerate enough to walk.

Again, he held his screams until Jacob kissed him. This time, his teacher feasted on the screams, glutting himself like a vampire would on blood.

"Blossom, my little butterfly," Jacob said, closing the shower stall and turning out all the lights before shutting the bathroom door.

The Kid hung in darkness, bleeding and in pain. The ache of the spikes grew to a raging, bitter pain that combined with the muscle aches until he was sobbing again. "Yes," he whispered through the sobs, and the pain lessened a little. He breathed slowly, letting the tide of pain roll through him. It would pass through him and over him, fill him and empty him, and he would be worthy again, clean and gleaming.