Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hero In Camera - Chapter 2

Aisha scribbled notes on her legal pad concerning the contract proposal for Black Falcon’s endorsement of a security system when there was a knock on her office door.

“Come in!”

The door opened, and Patty poked her head around the corner. “FBI red alert.”

“Why the hell is Eddie calling her?” Aisha frowned. She handled matters between their clients and the Canyon Pointe FBI office because Sarah had some weird obsession Harri was trying to get Eddie back. Hah! Like that was going to happen when Harri had an ex-superhero warming her bed.

Arthur Drallhickey’s head appeared beside Patty’s. “Because there was a mass breakout at Mauvaises Prison before dawn this morning, including Miss Purrception.”

“What?” Aisha tried to wrap her head around their IT manager’s words. She couldn’t breathe. She and her husband Rey had gone to bat for the supervillain when she claimed she wanted to reform. Hell, they owed her after she helped them take down Professor Paranoia in Japan last year.

And pissed didn’t even describe what Harri would be once she heard—

A screech of rage came from the direction of Harri’s office. Patty and Arthur jumped into Aisha’s office and closed the door.

“Has this reached any of the news outlets yet?” Aisha said.

Both Patty and Arthur shook their head.

“How did you—”

Aisha’s office door opened again. Susan Kennedy, their third partner, and Miguel Esperanza, their maintenance man, slipped inside. Susan closed the door and locked it behind them.

“Please tell us Mother Defiant pissed her off,” Susan begged. “Or Tim did something stupid.”

Aisha shook her head. Besides, if Harri had a fight with her current boyfriend, they’d be on the fifth floor having loud, noisy makeup sex. Aisha had managed to snag a few boxes of the earplugs their client Nix endorsed for herself and Rey. She prayed little Mitch’s powers didn’t develop before she had to explain what Aunt Harri and Uncle Tim were doing.

Miguel stared at the ceiling. “Madre de Dios.”

Aisha sucked in a deep breath, eyed Patty and Arthur, and tried again. “How’d you two find out about the prison break?”

“When Eddie called and asked for Harri instead of you, I knew something was wrong,” Patty said.

“Patty told me, so I took a quick peek in the FBI computers—” Arthur started.

Susan jammed her index fingers in her ears and started yelling, “La-la-la-la-la-la-la!”

“Cut it out!” Aisha snapped. “Your fingers aren’t any cleaner than anyone else’s at this firm. Or do I need to bring up your little gift to Harper?” Both Susan and Aisha had contributed money for a fresh start to Doctor Liquidation’s former minion. The girl had a rough life before the supervillain rescued from the streets.

Susan withdrew her fingers from her ears. “Harper may have been a minion, but she was never formally charged with any crime.”

“But she did confess to the burglary at the San Francisco Federal Reserve.” Aisha waved her hand. “How is that any different than what Arthur does?”

Susan held up her hands in surrender. “All right. Fine. You’re right.” She turned to Arthur. “I apologize.”

“Thank you.” Arthur inclined his head to her before he turned back to Aisha. “This gets worse. Black Death and Hard Knock escaped with them.”

Aisha sat back in her chair. Her pencil shattered in her grip. This was why she had to give up ballpoint pens for every day work. Superstrength and anger resulted in two of her suits getting ruined by ink going everywhere.

“Any leads?” she asked coolly.

Arthur shook his head. “That’s why Eddie is calling Harri.” He and Patty exchanged nervous glances. Cade Wilson hadn’t been straight with Patty about his super status as Black Death. When he broke up with her, she hadn’t told him she was pregnant. By the time Cade learned about his daughter Grace, Patty and Arthur were living together. Cade hadn’t taken the news his ex was dating a former supervillain well, which was ironic considering he was Corvus’s top wetworks agent.

“Patty! Aisha! Where the hell is everybody?”

From their winces, everyone in her office could hear Harri without the need of superhearing.

Aisha sighed. “Let’s get this over with.”

Susan was closest to the closed office door. She opened it and yelled, “In here, Harri!”

The stomping got closer until Harri appeared in the doorway. Her gaze traveled from person to person, leaving Arthur quaking in his shoes, until it rested on Aisha.

“What the hell is going on in here?” she snapped.

“Our staff is hiding from you because they know how you get when you’ve been speaking with your ex-husband,” Aisha bit back.

Harri closed her eyes and inhaled deeply before she released the air. “I’m not angry at Eddie. Miss Purrception escaped from Mauvaises Prison.” A few heartbeats passed before she said, “Isn’t somebody going to tell me I-told-you-so?”

“I told you so.” Tim appeared in the doorway behind Harri. “What part of ‘Please don’t represent my former—’” His face turned red as he struggled to find a semi-polite term for the supervillain with whom he used to have sex.

“Feline fling?” Aisha offered.

“Boink buddy?” Patty suggested.

“Supervillain with benefits?” Susan chimed in.

“Party puta,” Miguel declared with a disgusted tone. “The furry skeleton in the closet.” Harri crossed her arms and glared at Tim.

He looked at Arthur. “Don’t you have an insult to fling?”

Arthur lifted his chin, which was nearly as pointy as his nose. “I may be a former supervillain myself, but I am not stupid enough to get in the middle of an argument between you and Harri.”

“Arthur’s right.” Aisha leaned her elbows on her desk. “This bickering isn’t helping the situation. Did Eddie give you anymore information than she escaped with Trubble, Black Death, and Hard Knock?”

Harri shot her a nasty look. “Were you eavesdropping on my phone call?”

“I didn’t have to,” Aisha said calmly. “Arthur and Tim have search programs running for any information regarding known Corvus operatives is an effort to trace the remaining members. Arthur was already exiting his office to let us know about the escape when Patty transferred Eddie’s call to you. It didn’t take a genius to put two and two together.”

“Oh.” All the ire faded from Harri’s expression to be replaced by guilt. “God, I was so stupid to believe she really wanted to rebuild her relationship with her mother and daughters.”

“You’re not the only one she fooled,” Aisha growled. “I thought she’d changed when she helped Ray, Steve, and me in Japan. I never would have agreed to represent her otherwise.”

“I think you two might be jumping to conclusions.” Susan stared thoughtfully at one of the prints on Aisha’s walls.

“What makes you say that?” Harri demanded.

“Two reasons.” Susan turned to face them. “First, turning herself in was the only way to get close to Trubble. She still blames him for losing custody of her daughters, but she’s not stupid enough to kill him on the prison grounds if what she’s really after is revenge.

“Second, what if Black Death threatened her or Hard Knock? From her dossier in the National Superhero Bureau database, she and Knock are pretty tight. Every time she’s escaped, she’s taken him with her. They part ways after the escape. She’s only ever double-crossed people who’ve either screwed her over or planned to. Whatever their real relationship, she does care about what happens to Knock.”

“So, it’s a question of which game she’s really playing.” Miguel scratched his beard.

“Miss Purrfection still broke her word to us,” Aisha growled. “And I want her head on a platter.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

New Releaase - Murder Most Fowl!

Murder Most Fowl is officially out in the wilds!

I had a lot of fun writing this story, and I really hope you enjoy it. Plus, it's only 99-cents!

So what's it about? A murder inquiry takes an odd twist over the possession of a prize rooster. Yep, a rooster

Amazon, all countries
Barnes & Noble
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Kobo
Smashwords

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Hero In Camera - Chapter 1

I'm finally getting caught up with writing and editing, so it's time to start posting sample chapters again. Just remember these are not edited yet.

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Harri Winters smiled across her office desk at Mother Defiant, who sat on one of Harri’s visitor chairs. The superhero’s white coif, veil and wimple were at odds with her skintight black unitard and shiny black boots. Everything happened exactly as Winters and Franklin’s newest partner Susan Kennedy had predicted a little over a year ago.

“I don’t understand why I can’t simply talk to Susan,” Mother Defiant said haughtily.

“Because I’m the senior partner.” Harri kept the smile plastered on her face though she really wanted to leap over her desk and smack the attitude from the superhero’s pretty face. “I do the intake interviews, but the entire partnership has a vote on whether to accept a new client.”

“But I’m not a new client!” Mother Defiant protested.

“You are to this firm.” Harri shrugged. “And frankly, we’ll be taking a very serious look at you. Especially after you dumped Susan for Dewey and Cheatham.”

Mother Defiant’s cheeks flushed bright pink. At least, she had the grace to be embarrassed. When she could finally meet Harri’s eyes again, she said, “I should have known they were only using me. The reason I want to speak with Susan is I owe her a very big apology.”

At the knock on Harri’s office door, she yelled, “Come in.”

Tim Canyon sauntered in with Mother Defiant’s cell phone in his hand. “I’ve cleaned off the spyware and added extra protection. No one will be tracking you anymore.”

“Tracking me?” Mother Defiant looked appalled.

“Was it the source of Susan’s infection last year?” Harri asked.

“Definitely.” Tim held out the phone to Mother Defiant. “You’re clean now, but you might want to inform any superheroes you’ve come in contact with over the last year. I’ll clean up their devices free of charge.”

“What?” Mother Defiant looked wildly at Harri and Tim, totally flabbergasted. “Who?”

“Corvus used you to get a bug into our office last year,” Harri said.

“I wasn’t a part of that crap!” Mother Defiant protested. “Not to mention they’re all in jail now.” Her eyes widened as she put two and two together. “Dewey and Cheatham were part of Corvus?”

“We don’t know anything for sure at this point,” Harri said as evenly as she could. While the Winters & Franklin staff suspected a link between the rival law firm and the out-of-control black ops group, the last thing Harri needed was a slander lawsuit against her fledgling business.

“If you need anything else, buzz me.” Tim winked at Harri before he sauntered out of her office, closing the door behind him.

“I still can’t believe your head of security is Tim Canyon.”

Harri smirked at the superhero’s comment. “He was acquitted during his murder trial, and the Ghost Owl exposing Corvus proved Seismic Shift killed Tim’s wife and son.”

Mother Defiant sagged in her chair. “Is that why I can’t talk to Susan directly? She thinks I set her up? That I was part of the Corvus conspiracy?”

Damn. Harri hated even thinking about those assholes. But she would be na├»ve to believe the FBI sweep captured all of Corvus’s allies. While she wanted to give Mother Defiant the benefit of the doubt, Harri couldn’t risk the lives of everyone she loved.

“As I said, the entire partnership will discuss whether or not to take you on as a client,” Harri said firmly. “My question is why do you want a firm outside of Hermanville.”

Mother Defiant took a deep breath. “I’ve been dating Blue Racer. Once Dewy and Cheatham charged me for every little thing, I barely have enough from my licensing contracts to live on, and I’m tired of ramen noodles every night for supper. Blue said he was super happy with what your firm did for him, and when I found out my old attorney worked here, I decided to change representation.”

Harri nodded. “All right. I’ll start calling your references this afternoon. Assuming everyone gets back to me right away, you should hear from me in two days.”

“Thank you for considering me as a client.” Mother Defiant’s smile was weak. She obviously figured this was a lost cause, but Harri still planned to follow through. Even if she did want to inflict a little payback for how Mother Defiant treated her firm’s newest partner.

They both rose from their chairs, and Harri escorted Mother Defiant to the front doors.

After the final good-bye with the superhero and she left, Harri walked back into the reception area, the original foyer of the Lechuza Building. She was still impressed how good their building manager Miguel Esperanza made the original Art Deco design look when his team renovated the place.

As she passed the reception desk, their assistant Patty Ames winced and put a call on hold. “Harri, your ex-husband in on line 1.”

Now, why the hell was Eddie calling her? The new Mrs. Lewis had thrown a major hissy fit about him talking to Harri. It didn’t matter that things were long over between them, or how much Eddie adored Sarah and their two kids. She was one insecure woman. Therefore, if Eddie was calling, it was business-related.

“Thanks, Patty.”

Harri strode into her office and sat down to compose herself before she picked up the receiver on her phone set and jabbed the button next to the blinking light. “Hey, Eddie! Does Sarah know you’re off the leash?”

So much for any composure.

“Not funny, Harri,” he snapped. “This is business.” Of course.

“And what can I do for Canyon Pointe’s FBI office today?” she teased as she leaned back in her chair.

“Have you spoken to Miss Purrception lately?” Eddie said.

“Not since last month,” Harri answered. “We’re still fighting the extraditions to France and Brazil. Why?”

“Are you sure?” Eddie sounded more tense than usually.

“Eddie, out of all our marital problems, I’ve never out-and-out lied to you,” Harri said. “Either spit out why you called, or hang up.”

“Miss Purrception escaped from Mauvaises Prison last night.”

“What!” Harri bolted upright.

“It gets better,” Eddie added. “Byron Trubble escaped with her.”

Harri’s heart lodged in her throat. Retired general Byron S. Trubble. Former head of the secret black ops organization known as Corvus.

And the one person who wanted Harri dead more than any other supervillain in the world.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

I'm Still Here!

I know I've been quiet lately. I wish I could say that after dealing with the fiasco of the launch of A Twist of Love, I was taking some time off. That is definitely NOT the case.

I haven't put out the paperbacks for any of my releases that were written this year. The Seasons of Magick Anthology doesn't count because it was finished and uploaded back in 2019. So I've been proofing a bunch of novels to get them out because there are people who prefer paper copies.

In the meantime, Genius Kid left his car with us while he went through basic and advanced army training. He was supposed to have leave between the advanced training and his next post to come home and pick up his car. COVID-19 blew part of that plan to smithereens. The army isn't letting anyone leave a base except for approved travel.

Now, approved travel includes being able to drive your personal vehicle from Base A to Base B, but what happens if you don't have your personal vehicle?

Darling Husband looked into a bunch of options. Most were going to cost the same. All but one required GK to leave the base, which left us with only one option.

Yep, driving the car down ourselves.

So during DH's driving stints, I proofread my formatted paperbacks. We stayed as safe as we could with masks, disposable gloves, and plenty of hand sanitizer. Now, we're quarantined at home per our state's regulations for fourteen days.

Which give me plenty of time to proofread my novels.

The next Justice Thalia story Murder Most Fowl is uploaded and ready across all retailers and will drop September 15th.

I'll start posting chapter for the upcoming 888-555-HERO volume, Hero In Camera, next week.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Qapla'!

A Twist of Love is officially live!

Here's the new link on Amazon!

I'll be spending the rest of the day updating links in various places. So take care, stay safe, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Twist of Love and Suzan's Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By now, most of you are aware of the cancellation of A Twist of Love. Except it's not really cancelled, just the original Amazon pre-order was cancelled.

A little bit of background first. Amazon requires us to have the final book file uploaded four days before the release date. Then the record is locked until release day. That usually isn't a problem, except...

I freely admit I had difficulty writing the finale for this novel. But I pushed through and finished it. I uploaded the file with fifteen minutes to spare, pressed "PUBLISH" and breathed a sigh of relief.

And that's where things went wonky. I don't know if it was a software problem, my ISP, my own computer acting up, or the thunderstorms that had just crossed the Indiana border causing a power surge. But the screen started flashing like it was caught in a programming loop.

That's when my panic attack started. By the time I got it cleared, it was past the deadline, and the record was locked.

However, the status said "PUBLISHING" so I crossed my fingers.

Tuesday morning, I opened my e-mail. At the very top was the notice from Amazon that the pre-order for A Twist of Love was cancelled for lack of a file.

I didn't want to say anything to you all while I dealt with Amazon and devised a definite plan for going forward. On the plus side, I wasn't punished with the removal of all my other pre-orders (which is usually what happens). On the minus side, the record for A Twist of Love is considered dead and they cannot restore it.

So, here's what's going to happen:

1) I will take Wednesday and Thursday to double-check the file.

2) I will upload A Twist of Love Thursday night under a new ASIN.

3) Amazon can take anywhere from two hours to three days to actually have the book ready to buy. So if you see the landing page, it doesn't mean the books available yet.

4) I'll post here to let y'all know I've gotten the official notice from Amazon the book is live.

To everyone who pre-ordered A Twist of Love, I sincerely apologize for the brouhaha.

For those of you who've pre-ordered Murder Most Fowl? The final file was uploaded when I uploaded Snowfall, so you folks are good to go!

And I will do my Twelve-blessed best not to wait until the last minute ever again!