Preview

I don’t do this very often, largely because I don’t release books very often, but I’m getting close to finishing the second round of edits on Greetings From Sunny Aluna and wanted to share a bit of it. It’s a follow-on to the events of The Clock Man and represents a few firsts for me. For starters, it’s a true fantasy novel, which is something I’ve never done before. I’ve read fantasy works before, but never tried my hand at writing one. In case you’re wondering exactly what constitutes a fantasy novel (I was), it can usually be summed up by including magic, fantastic settings, mythical beings, and supernatural forms.

Most fantasy works I’ve written are set in a European Medieval setting with knights, sorcerers, and extremely bad villains. That’s all fine and good, but European Medieval history never did much for me, nor did the tales of heroism and knights in shining armor. So I dropped my story onto another planet, shifted a lot of narrative to Chinese martial history, and made my main characters basically normal people instead of knights. There is magic, it’s got a dragon, it’s even got a small dinosaur, combat magicians, and lots of morally flexible characters. Call it gutter fantasy if it helps. Greetings is fantasy from the street level and all kinds of crazies inhabit these streets.

The other thing that’s new to me was a shift from writing the narrative in first person present tense, I shifted this to third person past tense. The change allowed me to explore the four main characters with greater ease than I’d have with first person present.

Anyway, this is chapter 1 (of 36). Comments and critiques are greatly appreciated. Other than that, I just hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 1: Information Extraction Techniques

Felix Crow was a badass.

He wasn’t a good man, or even a stable man, but his heart was in the right place and there was no doubt he was a badass.

Seen from behind he cut a mysterious figure as he stalked down an unnamed alley in the Fànzuì Hútòng district of Croatoa. He always felt it was loony to call an entire district crime alley, but he didn’t make the rules. Felix Crow exploited rules, or ignored them entirely.

His keen eyes scanned the alley, seeking out a hidden sign that he was assured wasn’t a joke. In a place like this, calling something Xīwàng had to be a sick joke. Hope, in a crumbling alley filled with the lowest echelons of murderers and drug dealers was, at best, a fresh box to sleep in. But supposedly there was a place called Hope that held a secret he would very much like to know.

Felix walked right down the middle of the alley. The brim of his hat hid his eyes and his long coat flapped out behind him. The hat was lifted from a body he left in an alley a few months ago and the coat was a gift from his sometimes friend, sometimes enemy Chan. The coat supposedly offered magical protection, but Crow had yet to try it out. The hat just made the ensemble look good.

Ahead of him, a shadow stepped into the alley and laughed. It sounded like the giggle of a schoolgirl who just realized she’d traded her life for an endless supply of Johns and synthetic heroin. Madness and anger echoed down the narrow lane. The pale light from Xiǎo Mǔqīn reflected off a long and wicked looking knife that had to have been made of discarded bits of metal fused together in one of the cheap magic shops nearby.

Little Mother’s light was pale compared to Dà Māmā’s light, but it was one of those rare days where Little Mother was up and Big Mother was down. The pale light did little to illuminate the alley, but at least it was daylight; travelling the alleys at night was risky even for people like Felix Crow.

Crow kept walking. He had more important things to deal with than petty thugs with cheap knives. He reached out with his mind and found the knife. His fingers snapped and the blade exploded. The would-be thug, a gaunt thing with more bones than skin stared at the handle in his fingers. Some remaining neuron knocked another neuron around and eventually the message got to the man’s voice.

“Crow,” he gasped.

Felix Crow paused. He knew his antics had spread his name around the city. It was impossible to kill the Clock Man and go unnoticed; even if he had gone out of his way to keep the dirty deed quiet, brother baiju loosened his tongue. The thing in front of him was hardly worth the time, but it was important to keep up his reputation. “Xīwàng,” he said quietly. “Where is it?”

“There’s no hope here, man,” the thug replied. His wide eyes darted around the alley. Shadows moved quietly, hiding in corners and behind trash cans. Maybe, just maybe, enough of them could take down the legendary Felix Crow.

“Not for you, anyway,” Crow said. “But that’s not the kind of hope I’m looking for. A place called Hope. There will be a door. Where is it?”

A trash can tipped over, spilling ramen and rotting vegetables. Crow spared a glance at a kid holding a stick before looking back at the thug with the broken knife. “Not the brightest idea you’ve ever had.”

The thug chuckled. His knife may be broken, but Felix Crow was supposed to have an arsenal on him. If he could get hold of the arsenal, he’d be a king. With that jacket and that hat, he could move out of the alley. Anyone who killed Felix Crow could write his own ticket in the underworld. Hell, it was rumored that the Beast himself offered up a fortune for Crow’s head.

All around Crow the alley came to life. The people, things really, had been here so long they’d started to look like the alley itself. Dark eyes, tattered clothes, and grimy skin rose out of invisible hiding places. Some had sticks, others had knives taken from the dead hands of souls who had lost their way and wound up in the alley.

Crow sighed. It would figure a simple in and out job would turn to lā shǐ on him. The whole alley reeked of lā shǐ, why shouldn’t the job follow suit? Maybe job was too strong a word. Job implied an exchange of services for money. Quest would be a better term. Mad quest, probably. Still, it would figure a simple in and out quest would turn to lā shǐ on him.

He spun in the alley and took in the motley rabble. None of them had eaten in days. Their eyes were full of the madness of Tiāntáng De Fěn. Heaven’s Powder was a new drug on the scene, something for people who couldn’t afford anything more. It was gaining a toehold in the city, and even on Croatoa’s streets it wasn’t uncommon to see burnouts trying to visit heaven. They described it as a religious experience, but like all religion it was an addictive lie.

“Fuck off,” Crow said. “I’m busy.”

“Nice jacket,” a voice said behind him. “Nice hat.”

Crow didn’t bother to turn around. He could see the shadow of the of the speaker waving something around. “I know,” he said. “Now fuck off.”

“I want the hat,” another voice said.

That was the problem with Tiāntáng De Fěn; it convinced people they were already in Heaven. First time users experienced a euphoric high and usually slept it off. But, like all drugs, the effects waned and soon people were constantly chasing the religious high they got from the drug until the heaven became real all the time. A person who thinks he’s already in Heaven will fight over anything. These guys had spent a lot of time believing they were already in Heaven and Nüwa‘s tits were in their faces.

“It wouldn’t fit you,” Crow said. “Now fuck off before I turn it loose on your skinny ass.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Crow saw the shadow move closer. Whatever the weapon was, it had pulled back into position. Crow shook his head. He hated dealing with amateurs. Turns of hard training with legendary Chan had made him cynical when it came to fighting. Crow would readily admit he was no Chan, but he was hardly something to be trifled with.

The shadow shifted slightly and Crow knew the attack was coming. Some young punk, looking to make a name for himself was trying to brain him with a stick. Crow spun and dodged the incoming attack. The punk hit nothing but air.

Crow didn’t hesitate. He was busy and these idiots were wasting his time. He twisted his body, flexing his legs and twisting his hips. Force worked its way up from the ground, through his legs, up his torso, and through his shoulder. A fist flew, fast as an arrow and strong as stone. Knuckles hit the punk’s face, twisting his head to the side. Teeth flew out of his broken jaw.

The junkies watched as their temporary friend staggered. His face went ashen and the punk toppled to the side. Crow didn’t care if the punk was dead or out of it. He kept moving. The punks became targets in his mind. It was one of Chan’s little tricks – it’s easier to punch the life out of a target than a person.

Crow moved with random precision, drawing on the harsh tutelage of the man who became one of Croatoa’s most feared and respected fighters. Never become predictable and hit exactly what you wanted to hit. Chan taught Crow to move and keep moving; a static target was easy to hit. While he moved, he watched for openings and struck at the places most likely to hurt. Another junkie stepped up to swing a piece of pipe at Crow’s head and almost immediately found himself kneeling on a broken knee. He started to scream out in pain, but a vicious chop to the throat silenced him permanently.

Like all drugged up hop-heads, the punks didn’t realize the danger they were in. They thought they were strong, but starvation and drugs had made them weak and Crow was a predator in their midst. For the time being, they worked together, but the alley was a place of constantly shifting alliances as each denizen tried to jockey for a better position. When a threat was great enough, like the time the police showed up looking for a rapist, the alley temporarily banded together. Felix Crow qualified as a threat and the added bonus of killing the guy who killed the Clock Man made Crow a delicious target. The hat and coat were nice, but the street cred from killing Crow would be overwhelming.

They attacked en masse, an uncoordinated mess of junkies wielding weapons culled together from trash or stolen from other junkies. Even with the mass attacking, Crow still had the advantage. He might not be able to work the same kind of magic that shattered the knife – that required focus and small amount of time – but he had the ability to sense when an opponent was about to strike.

It wasn’t much of a sense, maybe a half second, but a half second in a fight can be a lifetime.

The next junkie slashed at Crow with a piece of rusty metal that probably used to belong to a bed frame. Crow deflected the knife and snaked around the man’s arms. He drew the punk closer and head butted him. The punk’s nose exploded; his eyes started to water and he suddenly found he was having trouble breathing. He staggered back as Crow pressed his attack.

What the junkie didn’t realize was Crow could move forward far faster than the junkie could backpedal. Before he could take two steps, Crow had smashed the man’s ribs.

Crow assessed the fallen guy briefly before turning to find the next target. He found a burly man that had gone to seed when the drugs took hold. The big guy held long piece of rebar over his head. A fist hit the side of the man’s jaw and unhinged it with a sickening crack. A large boot slammed into the side of the guy’s knee, cracking bone and tearing tendon.

A lifetime of training, a hint of magic passed to him from a dragon, and a propensity for violence turned the junkies into a simpering mess in short order. Crow took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He looked around for the first guy and almost missed the terrified eyes looking out from behind a trash can overflowing with rancid meat and old noodles.

“Get your ass over here,” Crow snapped.

The eyes shook from side to side and disappeared behind the trash can. Crow muttered a string of Chinese curses and kicked a nearby crying mass in the ribs. “Now!” he yelled.

The junkie’s eyes were wide and his body shook as he slunk from his hiding place. Gone were all the thoughts of getting the jacket or the hat. He’d be lucky if he left with his life. “Please don’t kill me,” he mumbled. His remaining sandal slapped the pavement and squished through gelatinous puddles as he slowly made his way to Crow.

Crow’s arm lashed out and his fingers wrapped around the guy’s throat. With a slight grunt, he lifted the junkie into the air. “I promise I won’t kill you if you tell me where I can find Hope. I have a meeting there, and I don’t like to be late.”

Skeletal fingers grabbed at Crow’s hands. Fingernails that were trimmed like claws dug gouges in his arms, but Crow didn’t flinch. “I don’t have much time and if I have to kill you I’ll waste even more time looking for someone to beat on. So, do yourself and someone else a favor and tell me where I can find Xīwàng.”

The junkie croaked something that could have been anything from “it’s over there” to “go fuck yourself.” Crow squeezed. The man’s face turned blue and the light faded from his eyes. Crow pushed his face closer to the junkie, close enough to smell rotting teeth and a shallow diet of trash and whatever insects or lizards got too close.

“What was that?” Crow asked. “I couldn’t quite make that out.”

A feeble arm, more bone than anything else and shaking from lack of oxygen and food, pointed across the alley. Crow turned his head and peered, but all he could make out was decaying brick and the faintest hint of where a paifang used to stand. The outline of the archway was etched in shadow on the wall.

“Through that paifang?” Crow asked. “Is that there I’ll find Hope?”

The man nodded weakly. His skin was ashen and clammy. Crow knew the junkie didn’t have much time left, but also knew the man was barely alive as it was. When he’d been on the local constabulary, Crow had seen the same man in different skin time after time. It was only a matter of time before the Tiāntáng De Fěn caught up with him and sent him spiraling into a pain-wracked death.

“You’re not joking around, are you?” Crow asked.

The man barely managed to shake his head. Crow knew exactly how long it took to the kill the average person by shutting off the blood to the brain. He’d been counting to himself ever since he lifted the man off the ground. At one hundred and fifteen seconds, Crow dropped the man.

The junkie hit the ground like a bag of meat and collapsed in on himself. With a bit of luck there wouldn’t be any brain damage that couldn’t be made worse by living in this place and using Heaven’s Powder night and day. The drug was odious. Even Crow, hardly the paragon of virtue, eschewed the stuff. Had he still been a cop, he probably would have been stuck tracking down whoever was making and distributing the stuff. But, he was no longer a cop and would never get assigned to the Heaven’s Powder case.

No matter. People could do whatever they wanted with their bodies. Crow had higher aspirations.

Felix Crow wanted the city. He wanted it in the same way that a man wants a woman he doesn’t respect. He wanted to slap it around and control it, keep it on his arm during the day and scream at it at night. The key to the city was controlling the underworld. No matter what people believed, the root of all power in any capitol was germinated by graft and tended by people with knives.

In the dim light Crow could barely make out the faded, dingy remains of letters: Xīwàng. The legends were true, then. Croatoa was an old city, not ancient, but old. Like all cities, it was alive. It breathed and bled and heaved in orgasmic revelation. Croatoa changed and grew after the Dragon Wars. This part of town was old and decayed, quite possibly the first part built.

Crow ran his fingers along the old stone and closed his eyes. The cold mind of the rock told him stories of dreaming gods and magic and dragons bigger than houses. He thought back to his little dragons and made a mental note to pick up some meat for them on the way home. Through his fingers, he felt the weight of centuries, through wars and strife and junkies puking and killing each other for hats or jackets. The stone lived on, quietly watching the world go by, unperturbed by the goings on of Croatoa’s transplanted children.

Xīwàng,” Crow whispered.

His fingers felt along the smooth stone. There had to be a switch or a lever somewhere. The legends of Hope had largely been forgotten, but a musty tome in ramshackle pawn shop spoke eloquently of the place. Hope, it is said, remembers everything, but cares about nothing. Things slide off Xīwàng’s back like baiju tossed in a drunk’s face. The only way to keep hope alive was to let the world move without letting it interfere. The monks that founded Hope dedicated their lives to providing hope while the world itself descended further and further into the madness of the Dragon Wars and the unpleasantness that followed them.

Crow’s fingers traced the whole of the stone wall and found nothing but whispered memories. He stepped back and scowled. There had to be a way in. If anyone in the city would know where to find the Beast, it would be the monks of Hope. He hadn’t come this far to be stopped by mere stone.

He reached out with his senses and felt the cold stone. His mind pushed aside the stories and visions and dug deeper. The stoneness of the wall gave way to increasing emptiness. Crow pushed deeper until he saw the first pinprick. Soon the world was filled with pinpricks of light, each vibrating in mad intensity. He didn’t completely understand exactly what he was looking at, but he knew how to make it do his bidding.

His mind gently pushed one of the vibrating things. Crow was no aetherist, but he knew enough to know what he was looking at was intensely tiny. In addition to being able to see very slightly into the future, the dragon in the North gave him a kind of magical power. The stone wall, immense though it was, was essentially the same thing as the knife that exploded earlier. It was matter and all matter was made up of the tiny pieces.

Crow nudged one of the buzzing things and watched as it collided with another buzzing thing. Soon they were all buzzing and knocking against each other. A final push set the pieces atwitter. The air in the alley buzzed and hummed. He’d never tried anything this big before, but like the dragon said, “Magic can create a gold statue or remove a mountain.”

The humming in the air turned in a deep basso thrum, the kind of thing the kids in clubs like to listen to. That music always gave Crow a headache; he was more of the traditional music kind of guy. He slowly backed away from the thumping door. Once the reaction started, it was almost impossible to stop it.

Thunder and smoke rippled down the alley. When the dust cleared, Crow found himself staring through the black and white paifang into an exquisite garden. He pinched himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. The paifang was an archway to another country, one that shouldn’t be in the middle of an alley in one of the many worst parts of Croatoa.

He stood and stared at the garden and wondered where the golden light was coming from. The garden reeked of calmness and peace – promises too vague to be disappointing when they don’t show up. Felix Crow calmly stepped over the rubble of the old stone wall and into the garden. He didn’t need calmness and peace. He needed information and this was as good a place to start as any.

As Promised – First bit of Henchmen 3

Raw and uncut, but sets the stage for Henchmen 3.

There’s a girl screaming and begging at the bottom of the gully.  She’s buried up to her neck in the sand and our parent star hasn’t been kind to her.  By my estimation, and bear in mind I’m no expert at burying women in the sand, she’s been there at least since yesterday.  Her face is red and her eyes are sunken.  Heat exhaustion is a hell of a way to go.  At least they didn’t bury her in an anthill.

You’d think the guys milling around would at least give her a sip of water or cover her face from the sun but they appear to be assholes.  One of the guys is pacing and gesticulating wildly.  For all his frenetic energy he looks like the walking dead.  He’s sinewy in ways rarely seen outside of Iggy Pop’s shirtless beefcake shots and his complexion is gray and waxy.  Meth got its teeth into him and like the guy having sex with a psycho, he just can’t manage to get away.  He paces back and forth before finally walking in front of the girl and kicking sand in her face.

She coughs and chokes but keeps up a steady stream of weak cries and begging.  I can hear her clearly from up here, one of the quirks of sound in the desert.  “Pleasepleasepleaseplease,” she cries, running the words together.  “Letmego.”

A moment of clarity hits her, penetrating her sun-addled mind and she adds, “I swear to God, I won’t talk, just let me go.”

“You can swear to God when He gets here,” the meth head snarls.  “He’s a mean Dream God and He’s going to give us everything we want.”

“You’re insane,” she says, eyes going wide.  As if being buried up to her neck wasn’t sign enough, I think it finally dawned on her that these guys aren’t playing with a full deck.

“Leave her alone,” the other guy says.  He’s calm, but still skeletal.  Heroin would be my guess.  “He won’t come if she stops screaming.  He likes terror.  He needs her to be afraid before He’ll show up.”

I like terror?  News to me.

The first guy stares in wild-eyed wonder at his buddy and sways back and forth on his heels.  It’s apparent who the brains of the operation are, so to speak.  I wonder which one of them decided to slaughter the sheep.  I’ve never cared for sheep, but I certainly don’t hate them.  For that matter, I wonder which one of them figured out the exact set of things they’d need to do to get me to show up here.  From the carcasses down there – cats, dogs, sheep – my guess is they just started killing stuff and hoping something would work.

Bad news, guys.  It wasn’t the sacrifices and it wasn’t the girl that brought me here.  Right now I’m not exactly certain what it was, but in my defense I’m new to this whole “being a god” thing.  There should be a manual or something that tells you what to do and what to expect but – and don’t let the other gods know I said this – we’re just making this up as we go along, just like you are.

One second I’m enjoying a beer and burger with Jessica, the next second we’re both here looking down on a couple freaks and girl buried in the sand.

“You want her afraid?” the meth head asks.  “I can make that happen.”

He stomps off toward a beat up truck and grabs a bucket out of the back.  Methy holds it up and says, “I can make her scream like she means it.”

I’ve got a bad feeling about that bucket.

Methy’s buddy smiles and nods.  “Yeah, man,” he slurs.  “Make her scream.”

The girl starts screaming of her own accord but Methy keeps walking straight at her, muttering under his breath about power and gods and girls who don’t know when to shut up and when to scream.  He stops in front of her and shows her the bucket.  “I’ve got some new friends for you,” he says and backs up.

She stops screaming and starts panting.  Stark, raving terror is creeping across her face, the kind of terror you only get when you are absolutely powerless to stop something.  Methy pulls the top off the bucket and grins a huge, decaying smile.  The few teeth he has left are black and rotting.  “Scream for me, bitch,” he says and dumps the bucket on the ground.

Dozens of scorpions hit the ground and start heading for the girl’s face.  Her scream is a mixture of pure horror and desperation.  It echoes around the gully until it sounds like her scream is coming from the very ground itself.

“If you’re not going to do anything about this,” Jessica says from behind me, “I will.”

I think she’s still pissed that she got sucked into this mess along with me.  She had just popped the top off a beer and was about to take a sip when the world went all wonky and we left Irish pub behind.  Having dinner in Durango one second, blink and – pop – we’re here in the ass end of nowhere when our eyes open.  Jessica starts to walk down the gully but I put a hand on her shoulder.  “Wait a second.  Time is of the essence.”

A couple scorpions have almost made it the to the girl’s face and the look of abject terror in her eyes is making me nervous.  I close my eyes and reach out.  My vision changes until I’m seeing from my normal height and from ground level.  My regular eyes see the shadows crawl out of the brush like silent black blobs.  My shadow eyes see the scorpions getting closer.  The arachnids are creepy enough when you’re almost six feet tall.  When you have to look up to see their bellies and claws and barbed tails they hit a whole new level of scary.

The first shadow hits a scorpion and I feel the arachnid’s mind.  Food, shelter, scared, sting anything, sting everything.  I know the critter isn’t evil, it’s just doing what it was programmed to do and I feel bad about it, really, but I shut the thing’s mind down and move onto the next.  I sent three shadows and they took care of all but two scorpions in almost no time at all.

The meth head is jumping for joy, pointing at my shadows and screaming “He’s here, he’s here, we did it!  He’s here!”  The girl is still screaming, eyes squeezed shut, pretending if she can’t see the scorpions they can’t hurt her.  Methy’s buddy crawls out of his chair and stares.  Grins cross both their faces.  They think they just called down Santa Claus and he’s going to deliver all kinds of presents.

To begin with, I’m not that kind of god.  I’m also pissed as hell that these two numb nuts ruined my dinner.  I’ve got presents for them, though, but I doubt they’ll like them.

The shadows scurry back into the brush and the guys look around, wondering what just happened.  The girl is still screaming.  Methy leans down and slaps her, but she just screams louder.  He kicks her in the face, breaking her nose and probably knocking teeth loose.  He’s so focuses on beating her he doesn’t feel a scorpion crawling up his leg.  Methy’s just about to kick the girl again when I send a message to the scorpion.

His leg goes out from under him and he collapse on the ground screaming and cursing.  My other scorpion almost made it to the other guy but got squashed when the calm dude stood up and looked around.  “I know you’re,” he says, looking around.  “We called you; you need to do our bidding.”

I motion to Jessica and point to the guy on the ground.  She nods and closes her eyes.  I feel her mental fingers digging through my brain, dredging up horrors I’ve seen in other people’s dreams.  When she finds something she likes I can feel her grin.

Jessica can make things happen as long as someone can feed her blueprints.  I don’t pretend to know exactly how it works.  She can make things she comes up with, but for some reason they’re always small and frail.  Maybe she needs my energy to make big things happen.  A shadow, a regular shadow, forms over Methy’s legs seconds before a huge boulder falls out of the sky and crushes his limbs.

“Well played,” I tell Jessica.

She’s smiling again so maybe she’s not too pissed about dinner.  “I thought about cutting them off but this seemed like it would hurt more,” she says.

From the sound of Methy’s cries, Jessica was right.

The other guy, calm as a cucumber, pulls a pistol out of his waistband and stalks toward the now quiet girl buried in the sand.  “Come out,” he says with a little slur.  “I called you out here.  Now it’s time to do my bidding.”

“Where do these guys get these ideas and how did he know how to get you out here?” Jessica asks.

I shrug.  I’d kind of been wondering that myself.  “Internet maybe,” I say.  “I think they just got lucky, though.”

“Get out here!” the guy screams.  “I’ll blow her fucking head off right fucking now.”

He doesn’t seem so calm anymore.  The heroin must be wearing off.

Jessica starts to go down and I walk after her.  If the guy won’t back off, I’ll turn her loose on him and he’ll wish for the sweet release of death before she’s done.  She’s got quite the temper on her, this girl of mine.  Together we walk down into the gully.  I pull my own gun out of my waistband and cock the little Detonics.

The guy swings his gun toward Jessica and glares.  We stop dead in our tracks.  I may be bullet-proof, emphasis on may.  Jessica probably isn’t.  “What kind of god carries a gun?” he asks.

“Thor had his hammer,” I say, “I’ve got mine.”

“Put the gun on the ground,” the guy says.

“Eat a dick,” I reply.

“I’ll kill both of these bitches,” he says, drawing a bead on Jessica’s forehead.

I have this quick flash of terror from him.  Some kind of monster is always on his mind, a creature with a blank face and huge talons for hands.  The vision is complete down to the minute details of fluid pumping through some kind of hoses on the creature.  I can taste the guy’s mind and he tastes like mescaline.  That must be how he called me here.  He managed to hit the dream world without leaving this one.

Well, he won’t have to dream much longer.

“Put the gun on the ground,” the guy says again.

I gently place my .45 on the ground and stand back up again.  “What do you want?” I ask, figuring if we’re here I might as well learn a bit.

The guy nods frantically.  “Power,” he says.  “I want power.”

“Sorry,” I say, “I don’t own  power plant.”

His face scrunches tight.  “I WANT YOUR POWER!” he yells.

“Can’t have it,” I say.

He makes a show of cocking the gun.  A bullet flies out the ejection port when he pulls the slide back.  Either he didn’t realize it was already cocked or he was just going for effect.  Either way, I’m unimpressed.

 

Henchmen 2 preview chapter

When I write, I tend to start with a starting point in the story and just move forward with a basic idea in my head of where the story should go, so it’s fairly linear.  After a story is done, I go back and review and tweak and review and tweak and review and tweak and so on and so forth.  At any rate, during the process of writing, I basically just push the words out and hope they all into some coherent patterns on the digital page.  If they don’t, oh well, I’ll rearrange them once I’m done.

I’m about 3/4 of the way finished with Henchmen 2.  Working full-time seriously cuts into my writing time.  Still, it’s pretty cool to look down at something you started x amount of months ago (back in December, in this case) and realize you’ve dropped 60k+ words into the story and it seems to be progressing nicely.

If you’ve ever wanted to see a raw product, well, look no further.  Here’s a sample chapter from the (eventually) upcoming Henchmen 2: Awesome Subtitle Coming At Some Point.  If you’ve read the first book (somewhat doubtful, email me and I can provide you a copy if you want.  You have to leave me a review on Amazon, though!), you’ll recall the characters all split up at the end.  The first part of the new book is getting them all back together again for another job.  This chapter brings in the final piece, Jessica, who has been hiding out in Mexico running a bar on the beach, shows the agents of the bad guys for the first time, and gives a brief view of the plot line.  There’s also some guns, explosions, a motorcycle chase and a first, quick, kiss.

JessicasBar-EricLahti

If you want this in epub or mobi, you can check my website and grab either version.  The link here is to a pdf copy.

Enjoy