Moonrise CH30 – Last Words

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“Globe made sure Jensen stays put in jail,” Joaquin declared.

Andy blinked. “It seems that way. That secures his position, paves the way to the Mayor’s chair and plays as enough reason to start a witch-hunt for supers. I can delete them but who knows how many times they’ve been tossed around the Internet until now. How many people saw them? Let me try something else.”

Andy closed the videos keeping in mind that he should retrace the IP to the source gifting them to the SuperHub. He entered Jensen’s details again and pulled out his work schedule. Then he booted the City’s archive and snuck his way to the traffic cameras around Jensen’s work.

“It would take hours to hack into every CCTV in the city, but these around Jensen’s work and those around Madison Park should be enough to give us an idea as to what Jensen does in his spare time.”

“I ain’t even mad bruh. Can you hack into anything?”

Andy didn’t even hear him. “Without these videos, there is nothing on Jensen. Not even a cough. So let’s see where he goes when it’s really him.”

It took an hour for them to scout the time frame between five and six when Jensen left work. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday it was always the same. He got in his car, and Andy made the trouble to follow him to his home. The pattern never changed. But on Friday things were different. They found Jensen coming to work at the business park, and after 6 they saw him leave. Andy correlated a single Friday to previous ones from months back, and it matched. Jensen took a different route on Fridays.

Miles Jensen took a cab instead of his own car and left in a different direction.

“Where are you going, Mr. Jensen?” Andy’s fingers danced on the keyboard, and his eyes scanned each block of the video displayed on his screen.

“There!” he said and pointed at the traffic lights below which Jensen’s cab took a turn. He followed the cameras and traced the man to his final destination. When the cab dropped off Jensen, it was in a dangerous part of town, near the docks.

“Isn’t that somewhere near Harbor Island? I recognized the bridge when the cab drove over it.”

Joaquin nodded. “Yeah, but what would he want with that place at that hour. It locks down early. Ain’t nobody has any business there that late. It’s dangerous as fuck.” Andy listened to Joaquin and bit his lower lip. He feared they would miss Jensen if the cameras were fucked and he knew they would be lucky if there were any cameras at all. It took him a while, but after a good thirty minutes, Andy had access to the only CCTV on the artificial island. After a tedious waiting, a corner shot finally showed them Jensen hurrying down the curb, looking around and then disappearing off screen.

“What was that about?” Joaquin asked leaning towards the screen, brows furrowed.

“I don’t know. Is he worried someone is following him?”

“In those parts dawg, he better not have “friends” unless he’s a big fish like I said.”
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Moonrise CH29 – Forced Awake

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[1073 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, Sunday Photo Fiction, Sunday Scribblings 2, Write Anything Wednesday, #SoCS]

Andy puffed on a cigarette. It was burning between his thin fingers, ash gathering at the tip threatening to tip over. He crushed it inside the ashtray.

“Well, what do you know?”

Joaquin looked up. The screen displayed six videos, and when Andy played the first, Joaquin quickly found Jensen among the crowd of people and saw how he slipped away into a dark alley pulling at his clothes and falling to his knees, his hands buried in his hair. Then there was a flash of something bright distorting the camera and when it regained focus a large spot on the ground and on the walls of the opposing buildings were covered in glistening pristine ice. The camera flipped sideways and after a few shaky seconds and curses from its owner it switched off.

“That was Jensen alright. Seemingly unable to contain and control his power. Let’s see video number two.”

The second video was much worse. Its quality was bad as it was filmed from under a table as far as Joaquin could see. The audio crackled and the picture was blurry when the phone moved in someone’s sweaty hands, but it was clear that the target of the video was Jensen. He was wearing the same outfit, pacing back and forth in a coffee shop, fuming at the end of the line. He exchanged a few loud and harsh words with an oafish man in front of him and then after a display on machismo, that man pushed him, he put his hands on the man’s chest and pushed back. The man fell to the ground, kicking and screaming, and Jensen ran away driving apart the growing crowd. Joaquin could see the white fumes swirling from the victim’s body and when he ripped his shirt open the thin crust of ice covering his chest.

“Whoa!” Joaquin sat back. “He froze that dude for no reason! Play the next one.”

But Andy wasn’t moving. He continued to stare at the screen. Slowly, he declared, “Something isn’t right.”

“Yeah, no shit. Jensen is guilty that’s for sure, homie.” Joaquin felt his fingers tighten into a fist. He remembered how he wanted to beat Jensen into a bloody pulp, serving justice the harsh way.

“No, something isn’t right with the videos. Look – they were all uploaded two days before the attack in Madison Park. It seems… too easy.”

Joaquin shrugged. “I don’t know man, I see what is before me, and that’s Jensen goin’ crazy on some dude’s ass. Ain’t that enough evidence to predict him capable of blasting those kids earlier?”

Andy played the other videos. They showed a progression in Jensen’s violent behavior and growth in his power. He wasn’t just freezing small areas; he was turning himself into ice, a single touch away from making everything freeze. One video even showed reflections in glass – clouds obscured the sun, and Jensen staggered past a blue-framed window, the cityscape pristine in the background. In others, he displayed violent fits and body alteration, limbs gaining misshapen extensions constructed from ice and “firing” ice spikes, the impact lodged them in solid concrete. It was inhuman. Joaquin was speechless, both impressed and terrified.
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War of the Worlds: Retaliation Audiobook and Kickstarter

A month and a week to go until January 3rd, 2017. The worldwide release of War of the Worlds: Retaliation is almost upon us. I can’t tell you all how excited I am. This is the sequel we’ve been waiting 119 years for. Our audiobook narrator, Mark Isham, sent me the prologue, so I listened to it, then immediately uploaded it to Soundcloud.

Let the world know that John and I are trying to raise $300.00 for the hardcover. We started a kickstarter campaign, and due to the accelerated timeline, there are only 16 days left in the timeline. Please share the following URL with your social medias and bloggersphere: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1012144245/war-of-the-worlds-retaliation-hardcover/

The project page is where it has always been: https://article94.wordpress.com/war-of-the-worlds-retaliation/


The Shock of Survival, by Nicole Field

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In the wake of the final battle against The Oppressor, Benedict, Ophelia and Dylan face their magical community in triumph. But that triumph rapidly loses its shine as they realise the war is not so easily left behind. Returning to, and relearning, the lives they had before proves to be more difficult than even they had anticipated.

I enjoyed The Shock of Survival. When I saw it on NetGalley, I noticed that it was from LT3, and have read a few works from this publisher in the past. Everything I’ve read thus far from LT3 have been solid stories.

The premise of the book is simple enough: Three heroes try to return to their lives after defeating The Oppressor. I’ve often wondered this about stories I’ve enjoyed. The aftermath of their heroic deeds has to change them. I mean, after you defeat the villain, aliens or evil robot with murderous AI, what do you do?

The Shock of Survival has an almost Harry Potter vibe to it with those that can wield magic, and those that cannot. After doing the great deed, our heroes have to quell yet another, albeit not earth-shattering, crisis.

The story reveals many aspects of the fight against The Oppressor, but doesn’t dwell on The Oppressor, or why so many wizards died trying to defeat him. I think if the author had revealed any more information, I might have been disappointed. We get a few glimpses of character development told in flashbacks. The relationships between the trio before and after the battle with The Oppressor are well done.

Definitely an interesting read, and I would recommend this to those that like the Harry Potter universe. Four stars!

nicole-field

Nicole writes across the spectrum of sexuality and gender identity. She lives in Melbourne with one of her partners, two cats, a whole lot of books and a bottomless cup of tea. Also likes tea, crochet and Gilmore Girls.

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Moonrise CH28 – Phantom Moon

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[1058 words – Prompts: Inspiration Monday, #3WW, The Writing Reader, Write Anything Wednesday, #SoCS, Sunday Photo Fiction]

Joaquin jogged through the stalled traffic, the overcast evening getting cold. He appreciated the comfortable numbness. Light shone brilliantly from behind the clouds. The phantom moon pulled at his inner tide. He allowed the celestial influence guide him toward Andy’s apartment in Chinatown. No one called it that anymore – now it was the International District. Joaquin had expected Andy to be living in a house with a white picket fence, but instead he and Massey found the hacker in a small apartment above an Asian Travel agency, and Moe’s Exotic Herbs.

As Joaquin walked by, an Asian man lackadaisical sweeping the floor inside Moe’s Exotic Herbs eyed him. His motions became more deliberate, the grip on the broom tightening. He feigned concentration at his task, but Joaquin caught the pull of the lip, saw the wrinkles piling on the ancient cheeks, saw the barely showing but present snarl. A thought slowly crept into his mind that the man wasn’t judging him by appearance, but by the fact that he was one of them, one of the super powered people they were showing on the TV all day. The media painted them as killers, so why would some ordinary man see it otherwise? Joaquin felt like he was suddenly transparent to the man, his freak DNA imprinted on his skin. He rushed past the glint of the window. Behind him, the man flipped the “Closed” sign and turned off the lights.

Joaquin found the stairs to the side of the building. He climbed them two at a time, and when he snuck inside the narrow corridor, he quickly found Andy’s black painted door. His banged his fist on it. When Andy didn’t answer, he hammered at it again feeling it shift slightly under the pressure of his impatience and frustration. “Yo man open up. It’s Joaquin.”

He heard the muffled sounds of feet rushing on wood, the throwing off something heavier, the drop of coins and the light swear. Then the door cranked open obstructed by the rusted chain.

“Slide that shit open homie and let me in.”

Andy slicked back his hair and craned his neck to look past Joaquin.

“Where’s Detective Massey?”

“Busy,” Joaquin squeezed through teeth. “I got the stuff instead. So. Move. Over.”

Andy yanked the chain free and stepped aside allowing Joaquin’s large frame access.

“The hell were you doin’ makin’ me wait and shit? I thought you was trippin’ or somethin’.” Joaquin looked around the apartment. It wasn’t difficult to figure out Andy had rushed to make it look more hospitable, cleaning papers and clothes, which were in a heap on the bed. Despite his effort, the small living room was like a disposal area, food, clothing, cables, cameras, CDs all in a mess that Andy probably called order.

Andy shook his head. “I don’t partake in drug usage. So, Golden Boy, let me see what you brought.”

Joaquin handed him the backpack. “Don’t call me that.”
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A few Questions for April Daniels

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I reviewed April Daniels upcoming #LGBT superhero novel on Tuesday, and I asked her to follow up with a little Q&A…

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I went to college. I wanted to make video games, but the part of gaming that I really was interested in was the story, and after looking at some game company websites for game writer job postings, it seemed like the easiest way to do that kind of work was to get published as an author a few times. At the time, getting a novel published seemed like it would be no sweat, just a matter of a year or two. This is not the case.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I really wouldn’t know. I write how I write, and try not to think too much about signature styles or anything. Style is something that happens naturally for most, and while you can develop it with intention, that’s an advanced level skill that I’m only now beginning to come to grips with.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I still play a lot of video games, but I’m getting old, so while I used to be able to play twitch-shooters, I’m now mostly into support classes on Overwatch and grognardy strategy games.

What does your family think of your writing?
Mom’s pretty stoked.

Describe your protagonist, Danny.
Plucky. She’s got miles and miles of pluck.

How long did it take you to write Dreadnought?
About six weeks to rough it out in late 2013. After that, there have been a total of several months work of intensive work, spaced out in fits and starts as I worked on other projects and battled various intrusions from real life and my day job.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing Dreadnought?
I don’t really learn things while writing books. Researching, sure, but once I start writing it’s because I know where I’m going.

Danny’s experiences touch on larger issues, such as the nature of choice, the ramifications of how society sees us, and the pursuit of revenge. What’s your take on some of these issues?
My answer to this will go on sale January 24th on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

What was your grand plan when you first set out to write this novel?
To write the book I wish I’d had when I was 15. There wasn’t anything at that time that showed trans people in a good light. Hell there wasn’t even anything that told stories from our perspectives.

What other fiction influences your work?
I’ve been reading sci-fi and fantasy my whole life. Superhero fiction is great because it’s basically both at once. It’s hard to pick out specific features I took from other work for that reason, though believe it or not, The Black Company by Glenn Cook is probably the strongest influence.
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Birthday wishes and free stuff

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Hey, everybody! Check out that art inked by Joel Cotejar, and colored by me. If you think it’s awesome, then Joel is a master. If you think it sucks, then it’s probably all on me. Let’s see… Today is the 18th of November…

When I woke this morning, Erika turned to me an said, “I never thought I’d find myself in bed with a man in his forties!” I replied, “I never thought I’d be in bed with a woman in her fifties.” (She’s 38.) She scowled and punched me in the kidney. But the nice young lady at McDonald’s did comp my breakfast to celebrate me surviving another orbit around Sol. I already tweeted about it, but my coworkers keep coming in my office and throwing confetti and streamers at me. I’ll never get the confetti out of my keyboard. I suppose it’s nice to be loved, right?

So, like I do on all my birthdays, Nala’s Story and Escape are free today. Since the big 4-0 is supposed to be a landmark event, I’m going to do one better. If you email me at markgardnerauthor@gmail.com and congratulate me on surviving another trip through the solar system, I’ll reply with a link to download any one of my published works in electronic format, including the soon-to-be-published War of the Worlds: Retaliation coauthored with John J Rust, and Days Until Home, coauthored with Greg Dragon and David Kristoph. I’ll even offer up my upcoming murder mystery, Score of Silence. You just have to tell me which of my works you want.