Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Friday, March 11, 2016
My story, Pursuing the Dead, has found a home with MuseItUp Publishing. This is an interesting story because it's both a sequel and a crossover. It's technically a sequel to my dark fiction story, The Landfill, but it pulls characters from my Jacob Schmidt series as well. It's due out in the spring/summer of 2017. This is the cover for the print book.
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Since my Jacob Schmidt character is quickly turning into a series, my plan is to post flash fiction pieces every once in a while that relate to the character (as well as his partner, Dinah Peterson). Below is a story titled Scare Tactics.
“You’re certain he’s here?” Dinah asked, sitting in her car along the street.
Dinah’s business partner, Jacob, spoke into her earpiece. “Is there a gray Honda Accord in the driveway?”
She looked. Sure enough, a vehicle matching that model was parked along the side of the garage. “Yes.”
“Then he’s there. I just tailed him from work. I’m hanging back a couple of blocks.”
Dinah exited the car with a large envelope in hand. She didn’t care much for this part of the job, but private investigators were often used as process servers, especially when it involved difficult individuals. A local law firm contacted her and Jacob after an attorney service company they used failed to serve the man.
That was the firm’s first mistake. Attorney service employees only got paid when they successfully served papers, so they concentrated on volume and not etiquette. More times than not, they’d bang on doors and tip off people with their behavior. It was still effective when you were dealing with your average Joe, but it rarely worked with higher profile people. They could smell servers coming a mile away. The firm needed the man as a key witness in one of their cases, but now he was being evasive.
Dinah walked the length of the driveway, making her way to the covered front porch. It was your typical suburban house in middle-class America. Normally dressed in a business suit, she wore blue jeans and a cream blouse. Jacob thought a woman would be less threatening, particularly a casually-dressed one. Dinah agreed, so she went along with it, even letting her hair down.
She climbed the steps, trying to make as little noise as possible. Though Dinah was normally calm and collected, she could feel the perspiration building beneath her armpits. With her heart rate accelerated, she took a big breath and put her ear to the door. Dinah heard a male and female talking inside—a good sign.
Dinah put her fist to the door. Without being too aggressive, she knocked loud enough for them to hear. The discussion on the other side of the door quickly came to a halt. She waited thirty seconds or so before knocking again. Still no answer, and the silence continued. Dinah gave them a minute, but they were clearly avoiding her.
“They’re not answering,” she said.
“As expected,” Jacob said.
“I’m positive he’s in there, though. I heard voices.”
“Can you get a visual?”
Dinah descended the steps and stood in the front yard, staring up at the house. A couple of minutes passed, and then she noticed movement in one of the second-floor windows.
“I just saw a white male… bald… on the second level.”
“That fits the description,” Jacob said. “Make the call.”
Dinah took out her cell phone and tapped the screen. “I’m calling now.”
“Let it go to voice mail, and make sure they can hear you inside the house.”
She’d called Jacob’s office phone, and she waited for the beep before speaking.
“Hi,” she said with a booming voice. “This is Dinah Peterson. I’m at 2789 Gateway Road. Mr. Silva is definitely home, but he’s refusing to come to the door. I think we should start preparing an Affidavit of Attempted Service. He’s obviously evading our service.” She paused. “Yes. I think it’s time to request Substitute Service. I realize this will add to his court costs, but there’s nothing I can do.” Dinah stopped again as if someone on the other end were speaking to her. “I know. It will cost him several thousand dollars, but he’s not cooperating.” She nodded for a few seconds. “Thank you.”
Dinah terminated the call and looked back at the street, pondering her next move.
“Nice,” Jacob said.
Before she could respond, Dinah heard a jiggling noise behind her. As she turned, the door opened, and a male appeared.
“Can I help you?” the man said.
Dinah approached the door. “Frank Silva?”
The man hesitated. His body language didn’t reveal anything either. “Yes,” he finally said.
Dinah extended her hand, and Frank cautiously took the envelope.“Thank you,” she said. “You’ve been served.”
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Below is a short story titled Azalea's Choice. It touches on a very sensitive subject, but the point of it isn't whether it's right or wrong. It's about the tough choices we often have to make in life. This was done for a very specialized theme. Though the publisher liked it a lot, they couldn't move forward with the project, so I'm posting it here for people to read.
“Do you see anyone?” Azalea said.
Azalea’s sister, Evelien, peeked through the blinds. A soda can fell to the floor as she bent over to get a better look, the trailer’s kitchen sink and counter filled with garbage and debris. “No.”
Azalea moved to the opposite side of the trailer and sat next to her husband on the couch.
Hugo rested a hand on her leg. “Everything will be fine.”
Azalea took little comfort from those words, continuing to stare at her sister instead. Every time she looked at Evelien, she felt as if she were gazing into a mirror. Though a few years apart in age, the two could pass for twins. Dark hair flowed halfway down her back, and Evelien’s brown eyes complemented her bronzed skin tone.
“How are you feeling?” Evelien asked, backing away from the window.
Azalea swallowed. “Okay.”
She wasn’t, though. Azalea’s heart fluttered. Sweat beaded on her forehead, and her breaths were quick and shallow.
“You should drink some water,” Evelien said.
She opened a cupboard above the sink, the door nearly coming off one of the hinges. Evelien found a glass and held it under the faucet. Azalea watched as a murky liquid filled the glass. Evelien glanced at her with a concerned face, then dumped the water down the drain.
“We have some bottled water in the back,” Hugo said. “I can get it.”
“No,” Evelien said. “I’ll get it.”
Trash littered the floor, nearly causing Evelien to slip. She disappeared into the back bedroom, and Hugo squeezed Azalea’s leg.
“We shouldn’t have to live like this,” she whispered to him.
“I know. I promise it won’t be like this forever.”
Azalea had heard those words before. She wanted so much to believe it, but her faith had dwindled in recent weeks. It’s why she was forced to make the hardest decision of her life.
“Do you hate me?” she asked.
“Why would you say such a thing?” Hugo wrapped his arms around her.
“I know how much you want a child. I do, too … eventually … but no child of ours should have to be raised like this.”
Hugo pulled her close. “It’s our decision. You don’t have to justify it.”
A tear descended Azalea’s face, and she quickly wiped it away as Evelien appeared.
“Here, sweetheart,” she said, handing Azalea the bottle.
Azalea forced a weak smile. “Thank you. Shouldn’t Dom be back by now?” she said after a long pause.
Like everyone else in the compound, Evelien’s husband Domenec had to work in order to live there. One edge of the facility, which divided Mexico and Texas, was fenced off, while a huge wall had been erected on the other side of the complex. It kept people from entering what eventually became known as “Free America.”
Those who lived in the compound were only allowed beyond the wall on two occasions: a medical emergency or employment. However, only a select few were permitted to work in Free America, Dom being one of them. He’d passed the rigorous screening process all citizens were subject to prior to receiving their job assignment. The government found him to be a low flight risk and granted him this special privilege.
“Don’t worry,” Evelien said. “He’ll be here.”
“I’m sorry,” Azalea said.
“For what?” Evelien stared at her.
She found it hard to maintain eye contact with her sister. “For putting you and Dom in danger.”
Evelien knelt down in front of her. “You’re my baby sister, and Dom loves you like his own blood. You know we’d do anything for you and Hugo.”
Azalea bobbed her head. “I know, but we could be deported if we go through with this. Maybe even jailed.”
Evelien kissed Azalea on the head. “Whatever happens, we do it together. Okay?”
Azalea nodded again, a sense of pride and contentment rising up inside of her. A knock came, two knocks to be precise, startling Azalea and forcing Evelien to turn.
“That should be him,” Evelien said. “He said he’d knock twice.” She stood and put an eye to the blinds just to make sure.
“Dom?” Azalea whispered.
Evelien nodded and opened the door. Dom stepped inside wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, quickly closing the door behind him. Tall with parted black hair and a smooth face, Dom always looked and acted in a very professional manner. It’s probably why he was allowed to work outside the wall. He carried himself much differently than most men Azalea knew, including her husband.
“Sorry I took so long,” he said. “The drone patrol is pretty heavy this time of the day, so I didn’t want to look suspicious or attract too much attention.”
“I’m just glad you’re here,” Evelien said, hugging Dom. “Please tell us you have good news.”
Dom broke away from Evelien and walked over to the couch.
“We gave you everything we had,” Hugo said. “Was it enough?”
Dom took a clip of money from his pocket, offering it to Azalea.
“He didn’t take it?” Azalea said with alarm.
“He didn’t want it,” Dom said.
Evelien sidled up to him. “What does that mean?”
“It means he’s going to report us.” Azalea had no intention of hiding the fear in her voice. “They’re probably coming for us now.”
Dom shook his head. “No. I don’t think so.”
Azalea didn’t understand. “How can you say that?”
“Doctor Lawson is an outsider, but he’s someone I trust. He’s sympathetic to our situation.”
“He didn’t take the money,” Dom said, interrupting Azalea, “because he doesn’t need it. He said you need it more.”
“But he’ll still help us out?” Hugo asked.
Dom’s demeanor didn’t change. “Yes.”
Azalea stood up and hugged him. She wasn’t happy by any means, but the news brought a sense of relief. “You’re taking a big risk, Dom. Thank you.”
Hugo and Evelien joined in, the four of them embracing one another. When they separated, Dom spoke again.
“You’ll go in tomorrow morning. We’ll say you’re experiencing abdominal pains and that you’re in your first trimester. Dr. Lawson will handle the procedure. He’ll report it as a life-saving measure under the circumstances.”
“Thank you, brother.” Hugo extended his hand and Dom grasped it.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” Dom said. “We have to play this right, but I’m cautiously optimistic.”
“Thank you, baby.” Evelien kissed Dom on the lips.
Hugo gave Azalea a peck on the cheek, and she rested her head on his chest. The painful reality of terminating her unborn child in a few hours’ time threatened to eat away at her from the inside out. Azalea would no longer have this life inside of her, the life she and Hugo made together. It brought fresh tears, but imagining the pain and suffering their child would undoubtedly suffer in such a cruel world outweighed the alternative. Maybe in time she would learn to live with herself again.
And that’s when it came…Another knock at the door.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Vargrom: Modrad's Exile is now available for Kindle, etc. If you have purchased a copy of the book, please let me know, and I will offer you a choice of free gifts. Either a copy of The Fire King, which is where we first meet Modrad, or a copy of the audio book for Vargrom.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
I'm happy to announce that I just signed another contract with MuseItUp Publishing. My short story, Children of the Snow, will be a follow-up to Delivering Jacob. I wouldn't call it a true sequel since it takes place a few years in the future and it falls under a different genre (dark fiction), but detective Jacob Schmidt will be back. I also put together a teaser trailer for the book, which you can view below.