What’s Coming Next

While I’m waiting patiently for the final edit of Gateway to Thera to come back from my editor, I thought I’d mention something else I’ve been working on. When A.P. Fuchs announced his retirement a few months ago, the “Metahumans vs.” series found itself in limbo. Jennifer MacDonald, the creator of Nightcat, stepped forward to take over the project. This forced it to be put off a little longer, as her own Nightcat novel was due by May. Inspired, I decided to submit a short story. As the Adventure characters were not really suitable for a superhero story (although I insist that Yoshi could take the Huntress or Catwoman any day of the week), I found myself inventing a new character. She’ll be linked to my Adventure characters in a future book (probably BOOK SIX).

A former member of the Waruiyatsu ninja clan (you’ll recognize them from the Adventure Chronicles), she was trained to someday kill Yoshika Funakoshi. Obviously, she has to be incredibly skilled to do that. However, she had a conscience when they sent her to assassinate the six-year-old daughter of a diplomat and was kicked out of her clan. A nunekin, or clanless ninja, she has become a Christian and has vowed to make ammends for the lives that she took while a member of her former clan. When she stepped into the light, she stopped aging and found herself immune to poison and magic. Now she prowls the streets of St. Louis, MO, as Seigi (Japanese for “Justice”).

I’ve written two stories for the upcoming Metahumans vs. Robots and Metahumans Unleashed. I have three more short stories plotted out and at least one novel. Here’s a pic of the character, drawn by the talented Nathan Bonner and colored by the always gifted TW Johnson.

seigicolor

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BOOK THREE Cover Reveal!!!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of ups and downs. My editor has the updated manuscript of BOOK THREE and, hopefully, we’ll be looking at a release date by the 20th of June.

So I present to you the cover of Gateway to Thera: Book Three of the Adventure Chronicles.

newbk3cvr

As I’d mentioned, BOOK THREE takes some of my characters from Earth and throws them into a fantasy world that I will continue to explore in the future.

Thanks to Andy Borders for the amazing artwork and to TW Johnson for the color and cover layout.

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Review of EXTINCTION POINT: REVELATIONS by Paul Antony Jones

I stumbled across the third book of the Extinction Point series without much fanfare. Having started off with a bang in the first book, the second one was a little bit of a let-down. And, unfortunately, this book continued that trend. The fear was gone completely. I don’t know what happened to the author, but I really didn’t like this volume.

A submarine crew joins Emily and Jacob. Emily turns into a real jerk toward Jacob. Despite his reason for lying to her, he still saved her life. Her anger toward him gets old real fast. The crew of the sub are mostly forgettable. For some reason, the one who becomes Emily’s new love interest (who is Scottish), took on the appearance of Gerard Butler in my mind.

We find out the reason for the attack. These aliens believe that humanity is too violent to continue to live, so they take it upon themselves to violently kill us so they can start a new planet.

Ugh. I think I would have just as soon not known their reason.

The author indicated that he’s planning on writing a fourth book. However, this third book pretty much ruined the series for me. As far as I’m concerned, Extinction Point is dead.

One Star.

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Review of THE BLACK STILETTO: SECRETS & LIES by Raymond Benson

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I loved this series when it first came out. The titular heroine quickly won a place in my favorite heroes list. The second book lost a little something, but was still good. The third one threw politics into the mix and (wouldn’t you know) put her on the liberal side, along with making her jump into bed with two different men . . . way too easily, IMHO. I really didn’t like that book.

Well, there are five years’ worth of diaries that are telling the story of the Black Stiletto. Secrets & Lies is number four and it shows why the famed vigilante moved from NYC to California. She did it to follow a man.

Okay, it wasn’t that simple.

She had to leave New York, as the police there were making things incredibly difficult. The man, Leo, gave her a place to go.

Here’s where it gets a little bad. Leo is a criminal. So is his sister. Judy has slept with him and she STILL doesn’t recognize his voice when she interupts him . . . as the Black Stiletto . . . during a robbery. Her sixth sense keeps warning her that he’s hiding something from her. He’s as much as admitted to working with (though not for) criminals in his warehouse business. And she doesn’t put two and two together.

Why does she keep getting more and more naive?

The pros here are in the modern journals. We see Judy’s granddaughter finally find out about her heroic grandmother. Judy had somehow expected her granddaughter to continue her legacy. And, as much as Gina has learned to kick butt, I expect her to live up to Judy’s expectations.

In addition to the cons listed above, we have journal entries by Leo. These just didn’t seem to really belong.

So, the only thing that is making me really read the final book is Gina’s destiny and the fact that this book ended in a cliffhanger. Though the final book is due in November, 2014, I won’t necessarily buy it then. This series tends to charge way too much for ebooks. I purchased this one on sale for 3.99. It is currently 9.99. And that is twice what I’m willing to pay for a fiction ebook.

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A Quick Interlude

I’m still diligently working on the updates on Gateway to Thera. I’ve taken very few breaks, outside of my day job, my daughter’s school’s Career Day, and her choir concert. Today, I received a package in the mail from Helock Comics. I had asked Jamie Hickson for two comics b . . . and dedicated to . . . John O’Neal, an artist from Campbell, MO, where I went to elementary and junior high. Sadly, “Big” John passed away recently and his death left a great number of people saddened. Jamie, who is the older brother of my old friend Ryan Hickson, sent me this:

Helock

Thanks, Jamie!

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Excerpt #5 from GATEWAY TO THERA

Below, find the next excerpt from Book Three of the ADVENTURE CHRONICLES. As before, please understand that this is an unedited excerpt.

Dave climbed to his feet and walked over to Laura’s table as Amy walked over to join Pete, and Jack in their card game.

Sitting down next to his girlfriend, Dave said, “Hey, gorgeous. What’s a good-lookin’ babe like you doin’ in a dump like this?”

She smiled shyly at him. “I’m waiting for a good-lookin’ guy to sweep me off my feet.”

Dave chuckled. “Well, wait no longer, dudette.”

“Why?” laughed the cheerleader. “Are you going to take me to him?”

“Funny,” muttered the big teen as he took her hand in his.

Laura looked him in the eye. “Why are we here, Dave? Haven’t we hurt the Renegade’s enough?”

Dave returned her gaze. “Laura, I love you, but before you came along, I guess that the person who I cared ’bout most wuz Jamie. He and I used t’be like brothers. Before he started learnin’ that ninja-stuff, I used ta take up for’im. I mean,” he added, “we were only kids then, but other kids could be mean.

“But, once he started gettin’ good at that stuff, he didn’t need me ta defend’im, anymore.” He looked down at the table. “S’pose this is the last chance I’m gonna get t’do it.”

The big teen looked her lovingly in the eye. “Don’t worry. When this is all over, we’ll go home and try an’ put things back ta the way they were.”

Laura looked over Dave’s shoulder and her eyes widened. He turned to see Sean Wilson leading nine Renegades into the arcade. “Please don’t fight tonight, Dave,” she pleaded with him. “Just give me this one interlude.”

“Okay,” mumbled Dave as he kissed her on the lips.

“Oooohhh,” squealed Sean as he approached the table, “Traci’d be so jealous.” Then he thought for a moment. “Maybe I should go an’ tell her. Make’er get outta Ben’s room long enough ta come here and gut this rival.”

“Laura’s not a rival, dude,” muttered Dave between clenched teeth. “Traci gave up her chances a long time ago.”

Sean leaned upon his arms over the table. “Up for a little fight?”

“Not t’night,” replied Dave angrily.

Sean looked genuinely shocked. “Wh . . . what?”

“Got a promise t’keep.”

Sean looked at Laura, his smile returning. “Oh, I see. This ball’n’chain here has you whipped.”

Dave glared at the Renegade. Looking back at Lauraa, he found her glaring at the delinquent, as well. “You have my blessing,” she proclaimed to her boyfriend.

Dave smiled and looked back at Sean. “Know somethin’, dude?”

“What’s that?” asked the Renegade.

“Props can be dangerous!” chimed the leader of Adventure as he grasped both of the delinquent’s arms and pulled straight out on them, dropping his face onto the table with a loud THUD!

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Review of THE BLACK STILETTO: STARS AND STRIPES by Raymond Benson

The third book in the Black Stiletto series dropped to ninety-nine cents during a promotion on Amazon and I swooped in the pick it up. Having enjoyed the first two books in the series, how did I feel about this one?

In a word . . . disappointment.

Like the previous entries in the series, this one was told from differeent points of view. We have Judy’s diaries, telling us about her life as a costumed vigilante in the late 50s and early 60s (this one takes place in 1960). We have her son, Martin, telling his story in the present and stressing about keeping his mother’s secret. And we add a third voice . . . Maggie, who is the doctor who is caring for Judy in a nursing home where she lives due to her Alzheimers disease. Maggie is also dating Martin.

First, the pros: The Black Stilettto is a heroic figure. She goes out of her way to protect the innocent, even at great threat to her own safety. Her fearlessness shows again and again as she puts her life at risk to protect a Chinese boy and his widowed mother. She even offers them financial help when they need it. Martin loves his mother and struggles to keep her secret. He also is obviously a loving father, worried for the saftey of his daughter after she was assaulted in New York in the second book. And Maggie desperately wants to love him, despite her (rightful) feeling that he is hiding something important from her.

Now, the cons: Judy is more naive in this story than before. She gets drunk and seduces one of the men from her gym. This is compounded by the fact that she later finds out that he’s married. Granted, he has severe remorse and refuses to do it again, but he should have had the strength to stop to begin with. Judy also sleeps with another man who is wining and dining her.

This story also throws politics into the mix. She volunteers for Kennedy’s campaign. Her superhuman intuition tells her, when she looks at Kennedy’s Republican opponent, that Nixon can’t be trusted. The Republican is villified and the Democrat romanticized. Surprise, surprise . . ..

I’m not saying that Kennedy was a bad president. I’d put him in the top ten presidents that we’ve ever had. But he had just as many faults as Nixon.

I’ve already picked up the next book (or downloaded, as the case may be). Hopefully, it’ll be better than this one. I’d give this one three out of five stars.

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