Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

@_William_Knight's 10 Ways You Can Write & Still Bring Up Young Children? #Crime #Horror

Saturday, March 29, 2014

All writers need more time. But where to get it from? You can't give up the day job since that pays the bills and puts food on the table, and when you're at home the children take up so much time you can't spend so much as a minute inside your own head. Here then are ten ways you can find the time to write even if you had children, but please don't take these ideas too seriously ;-)
  1. Buy a playpen-- playpens have gone out of fashion, but they never did me any harm. A playpen nicely situated in a soundproof room will give you hours of time. Use baby monitors if you must but turn them to low so that only persistent and emergency howls will break your concentration.
  2. Use bedtime stories for character and plot development. What does your character want really badly? What is getting in his way? What flaw in the character will stop  him enjoying the thing once he gets it? All these questions are perfect for developing kids stories.
  3. Encourage play dates. We all know that having other kids round keeps our own from moaning and complaining. “Dad, can you do this? Dad, can you do that?  Dad, Tommy pulled my hair.” etc.
  4. Get a partner. If you don't have one already then a partner is perfect for handing the kids to while you being the next opus. There are many online places to find a partner these days, and once you have one they can't usually get away without a lengthy process. This will give you plenty of time to write, and if they do manage to get away then it's normally simple to find another. (I just have to look in my in box for all the offers).
  5. Get a divorce. Have you noticed that divorced parents share the children. This means you can spend at least half your life writing while you ex takes care of the little darlings.
  6. Steal your kids ideas. We all know children have fertile imaginations and that they can creatively out-think adults. Utilise this skill where you can to find interesting plot twists and situation.
  7. Employ your kids computer skills for digital marketing. Kids come out of the womb able to work Twitter and Facebook. Get them maintaining your auto tweets and review responses so you don't have to bother with all that online guff when you'd rather be writing. This has an added benefit that the kids always want screen time and now you can simply sit them in front of a computer for hours on end engaged in useful work.
  8. Drop them at their Grandparents without notice. Your parents always expected you would turn out irresponsible and reckless, so don't disappoint them.
  9. Experiment with new emotions for your characters: Raising kids will drive you mental. Note how angry you get and use it for character development. Troublesome kids are best in this regard, and you will only ever be a few moments away from a unique perspective on life that you can use in your writing.
  10. Daily chores. While children are young you will have to clean up after them. But within a few short years you will be able to put them to work cleaning and tidying. Don't skimp. It is character building for the children and the time you save will allow you to put in another few hundred words a day.
A man emerges from the sodden undergrowth, lost, lonely and starving he is mown down by a speeding car on the edge of a remote forest.
Rumours of ghostly apparitions haunt a rural Northumberland community.
A renowned forensic research establishment is troubled by impossible results and unprecedented interference from an influential drug company.

Hendrix 'Aitch' Harrison is a tech-phobic journalist who must link these events together.

Normally side-lined to investigate UFOs and big-beast myths, but thrust into world of cynical corporate motivations, Hendrix is aided by a determined and ambitious entomologist. Together they delve into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.
In a chase of escalating dangers, Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.
Buy Now @ Amazon 
Genre – Crime, Thriller, Horror
Rating – R-16
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Connect with William Knight on Facebook & Twitter

Christopher Grey & 3 Things to Know About #Book Publicity @greyauthor #WriteTip #BookMarketing

Thursday, March 27, 2014

If I had a dollar for every tweet an author puts out asking about “free publicity,” then I could afford a lot of lattes. Let’s face it, we, as authors, are poor and struggling (unless your first name is Stephen and last name is King). We can’t afford high-powered public relations firms or large advertising budgets. What’s worst, many of our publishers can’t either and much of the grassroots marketing has to be handled by authors, or at least require a significant effort from authors.
That being the case, following are three things authors should know about book publicity before the marketing phase begins:
1.  There is a difference between publicity and public relations 
I know, it sounds redundant, but there really is a difference. Publicity is a type of public relations that is specifically about product promotion. Public Relations is a field of marketing that, among other things, communicates messages to audiences. In other words, book publicity is critical for getting awareness out about a book, but a fully-built public relations campaign will communicate to potential audiences the importance or relevance of the book topic, the communications platform and brand of an author, and all core messages that make the author relevant. In short, authors need public relations, but books need publicity.
So it is important when developing a marketing plan to not only consider ways to get the word out about a book, but how to build overall awareness of you as an author, i.e. who you are, what you represent, what makes you different/relevant. Equally important, how to communicate your platform to your target audiences—this may include the media and book reviews, but could also include speaking engagements, webinars, advertising or any other type of communication that your audience pays attention to.
2.  Publicity is only one part of the marketing mix 
There is a common misconception that publicity and/or public relations sells books and/or widgets. That is not the role of public relations. That is the role of “marketing” which includes public relations. Product PR, in short, is about creating awareness of a message or product so that, when a person is ready to make a purchasing decision, your product ends up as one of the ones considered.  PR could also develop awareness about an idea, a particular message, or public policy. The role of PR is to disseminate a message to an audience. This can be done by the media, or by influential everyday people. PR can lead book-buyers to you and to your book, but it cannot sell it. There are other tools in the marketing mix for that: price, availability/distribution, point of purchase, book cover, promotions, etc. So, unless you are doing all of the things in a marketing mix to sell your book, PR alone can only do so much.
3.  Publicity isn’t only about media relations 
Many times people equate publicity (and public relations in general) with media relations. Once upon a time, that was probably true. However the definition of “media” has been so expanded over the years, that really publicity is about leveraging influencers. These are people, in the media or not, that influence your target audience’s buying decisions. Now more than ever people rely upon their peers or other consumers to make purchases. Certainly it helps if the New York Times does an article on your book (it mostly will give you the credibility you need within the book industry for wider distribution), but nothing beats a referral from a trusted person. This is not limited to social media either—influencers are everywhere. They influence at work, at home, in the grocery store (and yes, on Twitter). So your task is to think about who your audience is, then identify who influences them, then partner with those influencers.
In the fall of 1947, Will Shakespeare saw the world collapse around him. Shakespeare, a secret soldier for the Knights Templar, barely escapes the slaughter of his entire knighthood at the hands of a rogue militant arm of the Vatican in a small Montreal church. With orders to escort Templar business associate Dorothy Wilkinson back to her home in Bermuda, Will must locate and rescue the most important secret treasure in human history before it is devoured by a hurricane in the watery caves beneath her father's property. The spiraling quest sends Will and Dorothy into uncovering dark secrets that make up the origins of the knighthood as they confront the traps and puzzles that masterfully protect the world's most coveted treasure.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG
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Connect with Christopher Grey on Google+ & Twitter

@GeorgiaLeCarre on Dealing with One-Star-Review Blues #WriteTip #Romance #AmWriting

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One star reviews are baked in the cake if you write even a mildly successful book and if you write a bestseller you can even expect hundreds and in cases of mega bestsellers than thousands of one star reviews!  Looked at this way one star reviews are actually a badge of honor!
Hence the way to wear them is with pride.  Here is a method of how to wear them.
First and foremost do not read them.
Generally they are badly written and go along the lines of worst book ever, could not finish, I returned the book and got my money back, but still feel so mad and vindictive over the time lost that I have taken the time to leave a warning to all other unsuspecting readers, etc.  There will be spelling and grammatical errors in these damning reports, presumably because the reviewers were so incensed they could no longer think properly.
There is also another variety of one star review that is rapier sharp with sarcasm and wit.  This one is dangerous.  We live in a society where nothing cuts more than derision.  Want to kill off a dangerous opponent.  Invite him on a talk show and pour ridicule on his views.  The viewer will immediately get the impression that he is a ridiculous man to be avoided.  The same with books.
These reviews are usually written by your competitors or in some cases bought by them from as little as five dollars from unscrupulous review sellers.  Unfortunately, your potential readers will read them, but if they are few in number you will survive surprisingly well.  All is not lost.  Watch EL James duck and dive around negative reviews, and swim up the best-seller charts time and time again!
Finally, grow a thicker skin.
A book gets its one star rating when it falls into a jealous competitors gaze or the wrong hands.  When the human mind cannot understand something it is almost a defense mechanism that makes it want to denounce the whole thing as rubbish.  So the more one stars you pick the more intelligent you are…pat yourself on the back and flash a big smile.
Beyond the seductive power of immense wealth lies... Dark Secrets
Devastatingly handsome billionaire, Blake Law Barrington was Lana Blooms first and only love. From the moment they touched his power was overwhelming. Their arrangement quickly developed into a passionate romance that captivated her heart and took her on an incredible sexual journey she never wanted to end.
The future together looked bright until Lana made a terrible mistake. So, she did the only thing she could... she ran.
Away from her incredible life, away from the man of her dreams, but she should have known a man such as Blake Law Barrington was impossible to escape. Now, he's back in her life and determined that she should taste the bitterness of his pain.
Shocked at how rough the sex has become and humiliated that she is actually participating so willingly in her punishment, she despairs if she will ever feel the warmth of his touch--the solidity of his trust again? And even if she can win his trust, loyalties are yet to be decided, and secrets to be revealed--secrets that will test them both to their limits.
Will Lana be able to tear down the walls that surround Blake's heart, and break him free of the brutal power of immense wealth?
Can Blake hold on to Lana's heart when she discovers the enormity of the dark secrets that inhabit the Barrington family?
Lana has always believed that love conquers all. She is about to test that belief...
Buy @ Amazon
Genre – Erotic Romance
Rating – PG-18
More details about the author
Connect with Georgia Le Carre on Facebook & Twitter

Practical Advice for Beginning #Fiction Writers from J. D. Ferguson (#Historical #AmReading)

Giving advice has always left me a bit queasy, especially when the advice pertains to something as personal as fiction writing.  After all, who am I to assume that I know any more about what makes a creative mind hum than anyone else?  If fact, I doubt that I do.  But, that being said, I do relate to what budding authors experience when placing their flights-of-fancy on paper.  From that perspective I do have some observations.
I could write about story lines, persistence, consistency, and editing…editing…editing, but most that have worked at words, knows about all that; at least in degrees.  No, if I could offer one piece of sound advice to any author-in-progress, it would be to write logically.  Don’t misunderstand.  I did not say truthfully, or factually, or rationally.  No characters in fact or fiction can maintain those traits through all circumstances.  What I do mean is that when your scenes or dialogues, etc, are looked upon from a truly logical perspective, does the story line follow?
It does not matter in what genre you practice your craft.  The line or logic you follow must be sound.  Don’t just take my word.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of Four said it best, “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”   Just modify that to end must be the logical result.  For you can never really find the truth of any subject, just your perception of it.  In the words of Clarence Darrow, “Chase after truth like hell and you’ll free yourself, even though you never touch its coat tails”.
I am not telling you to limit your imagination.  On the contrary, your imagination is what must be exercised to its fullest.  Let’s face it, if authors only wrote what they knew, there would be no works of fiction.  Anything and everything is fair game for the nimble of mind and fluent of words.  J.K. Rowling, that darling of the fantasy genre (may we all be so successful) said, “I mean you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist”.  And, as I am sure everyone knows, you cannot prove a negative.  So go for it.  Let your mind scramble where it may.  Just be logical with the results.
Fiction is fiction because it is not true.  It is based on truths, those realities with which we all must contend, but is not The Truth.  What it must be is a logical progression of circumstances to a given end.  When trying to envision how your hero or heroine works the wonders of their escape from the fire-breathing dragon remember the words of the great Mark Twain, “Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities.  Truth isn’t.”
Logic rules!
When Justin Thorne, coddled student and heir apparent to Sylvan Springs Plantation, is forced to find his heritage, his manhood, and his destiny, in the space of one brief spring, all hell breaks loose on the banks of the Ohio River. His Virginia of 1836 is a time of transition and enormous growth. Northern industrial might and southern aristocracy, abolitionist movements and slave cultures, collide in turmoil and lay bare the raw needs and desires of those intrepid spirits confronting the frontiers of the antebellum South. Coming of age is an expected result of time and circumstance. It happens to all who live so long, but to each within the dictates of their own lives. The process is on-going and ever dynamic. Every person is a precious product resulting from the effects of nature and nurture. 
One's ancestry, culture, and environment collude in myriad ways to make us; all as different as each life's story, and as singular as snowflakes. This theme is played out over-and-over throughout the world and throughout history, in millions of places like Holderby's Landing; as similar and as different as each human is to the other. Holderby's Landing is a single glimpse in time at the coming of age of a land, a community, and a few determined souls thrown together in love, strife and chance. What they make of the time, the opportunities and themselves is the story told and the living breath of this book.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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Michael Reisig Offers Practical Advice for Beginning Fiction Writers #WriteTip #AmWriting #Humor

Being a novice writer is a lot like being in the land of Oz. There are a lot of people telling you there’s a Yellow Brick Road, but finding it, yet alone staying on it is a hell of a trick. The following are some hard-core truths, some of which you’ll only believe in retrospect:
Perhaps you believe you're excellent when it comes to grammar, and you intrinsically understand the necessary elements-plot, structure, timing, and momentum. If that’s true then maybe you won't need serious editing, but here's another little truth for you: When we finish a book, everyone of us thinks that writing is just about the best thing since cream cheese, and 98 percent of us are wrong. When you have finished a book let no less than a half-dozen people read it before showing it to any professional. I don't mean your mother and your best friend, although you can start there to build confidence. Give it to people you know peripherally. Most importantly, give it to discerning, intelligent individuals-people who will give you honest feedback.
Tell them that you welcome criticism (even when you're still struggling with the concept of being less than perfect then, most importantly, listen to them. Just remember from the onset-You Have Not Written the Perfect Book. Take advantage of their suggestions and insights.
When you have done this, and rewritten your work using the suggestions you thought valuable, then you're ready for a real editor. And a real editor IS A MUST!
I’m a strong proponent of self-publishing – I believe with the avenues of sales available in today’s markets you can make more money – a lot more money – if you publish yourself. But, if you’re going to try to go with an agency or a publisher, be certain they are interested in your writing, and want to make your book better and more viable through additional editing and promotion, not just take your money and forget about you. Check the Better Business Bureau in their area, go to the web and investigate them, But the most important thing you have to understand is that the onus of success, whether you’re published by Random House our your own company, is entirely upon you, and how hard you’re willing to work. Remember: Be bold! Craft your own celebrity – it is up to you to convince people of your status in the beginning.
Last and probably most important: why are you doing this? If your motivation is fame and fortune, and ego, you’re in trouble from the beginning. It better be because you have to write – because you go into withdrawals if you’re not able to sit at that computer and watch the words in your head scroll across that screen. That better be the reason you want to be an author, or you haven’t got a prayer.
The Road to Key West is an adventurous/humorous sojourn that cavorts its way through the 1970s Caribbean, from Key West and the Bahamas, to Cuba and Central America.
In August of 1971, Kansas Stamps and Will Bell set out to become nothing more than commercial divers in the Florida Keys, but adventure, or misadventure, seems to dog them at every turn. They encounter a parade of bizarre characters, from part-time pirates and heartless larcenists, to Voodoo bokors, a wacky Jamaican soothsayer, and a handful of drug smugglers. Adding even more flavor to this Caribbean brew is a complicated romance, a lost Spanish treasure, and a pre antediluvian artifact created by a distant congregation who truly understood the term, “pyramid power.”
Pour yourself a margarita, sit back, and slide into the ‘70s for a while as you follow Kansas and Will through this cocktail of madcap adventures – on The Road To Key West.
IF YOU ENJOY THIS NOVEL BE SURE TO READ THE SEQUEL, "BACK ON THE ROAD TO KEY WEST" (To be released in late August or early September, 2013)
"Jimmy Buffett should set this tropical tale to music! The best Key West stories can only be written by those who have lived here, and Reisig expertly captures the steamy, seedy, beautiful allure of the islands. “The Road to Key West” takes readers on a hysterical journey through the humidity and humanity that only exists in the lower latitudes. And much like the Keys in the 1970s, it’s a hell of a trip.
—Mandy Bolen, The Key West Citizen
"The Road to Key West" combines the dry cleverness of Lewis Grizzard, the wit of Dave Barry, and Reisig's impeccable sense of timing. It's an action-packed, romantic, charming, hilarious take on the ‘70s and its generation. A must-read!
—John Archibald, Ouachita Life Magazine
Buy Now @ Amazon
From the best-selling author of “The Road To Key West” comes a sequel guaranteed to take the reader even higher – another rollicking, hilarious Caribbean adventure that will have you ripping at the pages and laughing out loud.
“Back On The Road To Key West” reintroduces the somewhat reluctant adventurers Kansas Stamps and Will Bell, casting them into one bizarre situation after another while capturing the true flavor and feel of Key West and the Caribbean in the early 1980s.
An ancient map and a lost pirate treasure, a larcenous Bahamian scoundrel and his gang of cutthroats, a wild and crazy journey into South America in search of a magical antediluvian device, and perilous/hilarious encounters with outlandish villains and zany friends will keep you locked to your seat and giggling maniacally. (Not to mention headhunters, smugglers, and beautiful women with poisonous pet spiders.) You’ll also welcome back Rufus, the wacky, mystical Jamaican Rastaman, and be captivated by another “complicated romance” as Kansas and Will struggle with finding and keeping “the girls of their dreams.”
So pour yourself a margarita, and get comfortable. You’re in for another rousing medley of madcap adventures in paradise, with “Back On The Road To Key West.”
Michael Reisig takes us back once again to the Key West I wish I had known – and that others wish they remembered more clearly. Kansas and Will are back in “Back on the Road to Key West,” with their trademark penchant for sultry sarcasm and sun-drenched excitement. Once again Reisig captures the character of the Keys in a way that proves he’s been here – and perhaps done that. No one wraps us in humidity and surrounds us with saltwater like this guy, whose tales of the tropics draw us constantly back to their welcoming, yet provocative shores. -- Mandy Miles, The Key West Citizen
Having lived in Key West in the late '70's and early '80's, at a time when Mel Fisher still hunted the Atocha, shrimp boats filled the harbors, and ‘square grouper’ were still an abundant species, Michael Reisig's Back on the Road to Key West, transports me back in time. Will Bell and Kansas Stamps face an assortment of ruthless antagonists and chase adventure with the abandon of the era, and whether you lived it or not, don't miss the chance to now. Vivid imagery, strong prose and an exciting plot make this trip with the boys worth taking. Enjoy the ride!"
-- John H. Cunningham, author of the Buck Reilly Adventure Series
Stumbling their way in and out of trouble and fortune, Kansas Stamps and Will Bell continue to be the idols of what every true Parrot Head imagines real life in The Keys would be -- full of spontaneous adventure. What a great read!
– Bryan Crews, former president, Tampa Parrot Head Club
Buy @ Amazon
Fast-paced humor-adventure with wacky pilots, quirky con men, bold women, mad villains, and a gadget to die for…
In the third book of Michael Reisig’s captivating series, Florida Keys adventurers Kansas Stamps and
Will Bell find their lives turned upside down when they discover a truth device hidden in the temple of an ancient civilization. Enthralled by the virtue (and entertainment value) of personally dispensing truth and justice with this unique tool, they take it all a step too far and discover that everyone wants what they have.
Seasoned with outrageous humor and sultry romances, Along The Road To Key West carries you through one wild adventure after another. This time, Kansas and Will are forced to wrest veracity and lies from con artists, divine hustlers, and political power brokers while trying to stay one step ahead of a persistent assembly of very bad guys with guns.
In the process, from Key West, into the Caribbean, and back to America’s heartland, our inadvertent heroes gather a bizarre collage of friends and enemies – from a whacked-out, one-eyed pilot, and a mystical Rastaman, to a ruthless problem-solver for a prominent religious sect, a zany flimflamming sociopath, and a Cuban intelligence agent. In the end, it all comes down to a frantic gamble – to save far more than the truth. So pour yourself a margarita and settle back. You’re in for a high intensity Caribbean carnival ride!
NOTE: Much of this book was originally published as a novel of mine called, “The Truthmaker.” But with the growing popularity of my “Road To Key West” series, I decided to rewrite it and publish it as “Along The Road To Key West.” – Michael Reisig
Buy @ Amazon
Genre - Caribbean Humor, Adventure
Rating – PG
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Message of the Pendant #Excerpt by Thomas Thorpe (#Historical #Mystery)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

At 9:23 A.M., a scream echoed down the hallway. Julia, the upstairs maid, ran to the stairway, breathlessly imploring guests below."Come quick! I think she's dead!"
William reached the landing a half step ahead of Sir Winthrop. The two raced up stairs, reaching Lady Carlisle's doorway behind several other responders. By the time Elizabeth arrived, the two men bent over a motionless figure on Lady Carlisle's bed.
As she approached, she could see the victim still dressed in a party gown, now heavily stained with blood.
Elizabeth gasped."What has happened to Lady Carlisle?"
"It is not my Aunt, Elizabeth. It is Louisa Hurst with a serving knife in her back," William answered.
At that moment, Madeline entered the room. The tall, dark-haired woman pushed by Elizabeth and stepped next to William. Her face turned ashen and she fainted at the sight of her sister. Sir Winthrop lifted her to a nearby chair and called for water. Charles arrived looking horrified as he surveyed the scene. He reached over to clutch Madeline and helped her drink.
A crowd of onlookers had gathered in the doorway. Someone requested to wake Arthur, still asleep in another room. A servant was dispatched to fetch Doctor Gracepool and the constable of Langdon, some twenty miles away. As the group of guests milled about the bedroom, Elizabeth's eye caught a reflection near the foot of the bed. Reaching down, she discovered a small pendant the size of her thumb carved with a fleur de lis emblem. Turning it over, she gasped at the inscription on the back.
Colombe du Paix. Bonaparte. 

William Darmon and wife Elizabeth were powerful figures who in 1818 set society's pace from expansive grounds known as Mayfair Hall. When a family member is murdered, a mysterious pendant is found containing a long lost request by Napoleon Bonaparte for an American mission to burn down Parliament buildings. The couple sets out on an action filled pursuit of the killer. While interviewing Henry Clay in post-war Maryland about the failed mission, they uncover evidence of a conspiracy to free the Emperor from exile. The Darmons infiltrate the cadre, but a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland, a firestorm at the Darmon's Manor and a harrowing assault on the Island of St. Helena loom before the mystery can be unraveled.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery, Historical, Thriller
Rating – PG
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Kellen Burden's Flash Bang #Excerpt @KellenBurden #Mystery #Thriller

In the dream they’re shooting at me. Rounds screaming past my face and popping around my head and I need to return fire, but my rifle’s empty, and my hands won’t work. They keep doing that classic fucked-up dream thing where I can’t coordinate my fingers to wrap around the magazine to jam it into place to slam the breech, bring the round home and bring the hate to the fuckers on the ridge line. I scream for Mullens to call in air support, but Mullens is down. Why Mullens? They weren’t aiming at Mullens. The one who shot him wasn’t aiming at all. Then it’s just me and McDowell. I shoot him in the face. My hands work now. When I wake up, my phone is wiggling its way off the milk crate next to the bed. I’m sweaty and my jaw hurts, like I’ve been grinding my teeth and I roll over and answer the phone like this:
On the other end of the line, Etch says, “Parks, you sound like shit.”
Say “Fucker.”
Says, “Classy.”
I squeeze my eyes hard to clear the smoke, say, “What the fuck?”
Etch gets tired of my razor-sharp wit, says “He bit. It’s go time.”
I’m upright now, a start. And I’m naked. Not unusual. I’m alone, too, not exactly surprising either. I say, “Which one, and how long?”

“Brock Mason. Two hours from now. City Park.”

I’m out of bed, wander into the kitchen to load the French press with the heavy shit, saying, “You called Harkin yet?”

Harkin says, “I’m here.” But not on the phone. It takes me about six seconds to realize that he’s sitting at my kitchen table. He’s in full battle rattle, too. Fancy, all-white BDUs, tactical vest, ski mask, Bushmaster ACR with an ACOG scope mounted to it, and a Starbucks coffee in his hand. I’m still naked.
I say, “Sup.”
And he says, “Homo.”
And I blow him a kiss, turn the burner on under the kettle and wander back into my room.
Into the phone, I say: “Never mind, we’re good. I’ll be ready in five.”
Etch: “Let’s hook ’em and book ’em.” And I hang up before one of us screams yeehaw.
It works like this: We catch bad guys. Then we bring them to good guys who don’t have the manpower or skills to find them on their own. In the good old days, bounty hunters did that by carefully cultivating contacts and listening to the word on the street, and then simply knocking on doors and doing good, old-fashioned leg work. Unfortunately, that method is inefficient, outdated, and a really good way to get your ass shot off. You raise your enemies’ awareness of you by asking their friends where they are for days on end. Then you confront them in a place in which they are familiar, and attempt to take them somewhere they really, really don’t want to go. Our method is better; safer, easier and, 9 out of 10 times, funnier.
Brittany Hart is 5’6”, 120 pounds. She has blond hair, blue eyes, a knock-out smile, and a body that would make a Barbie doll gag herself. She was born in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Denver, Colorado in March of 1998 for school. She majored in “gettin’ loose” before hitting the bricks in '99 and working full-time at a club downtown. She likes FarmVille, Hooked on Colfax, and Jersey Shore. She is:
Headed to the park to spark up with an old friend, 15 minutes ago.
First you find your fugitive, someone stupid who has a vice that you can exploit, like multiple drug charges or sex offenses. Then, you find their Facebook page. Almost anyone under 40 has one (yes, even wanted fugitives), and almost all the ones over 30 don’t have the Internet-savvy to set their accounts to private.
Brittany Hart went to John R. Madden High School with Brock Mason. That’s where he thinks he knows her from. It’s a big school, especially for Michigan: 2,000 students and Brock doesn’t remember a fraction of the classes he took, let alone all the people he sat through them with. But Brittany Hart is a fucking fox, and Mason would pretend to remember anything she wanted if it meant breaking off a piece of that.
Then, you find several pictures of the same sexy girl on the Internet. You make sure that this girl is very far away. Somewhere like Russia, or Yugoslavia. Once you have enough pictures to make this girl look like an average, sexy woman of an appropriate age for your target, you create a fake Facebook profile for her. Fill in all the information, tailoring her identity to interest him in some way. If he went to a big high school, she went to the same one. If he used to work at the Target on 15th Street, so did she. From there, it’s all about making contact.
Brock Mason, according to his Facebook profile, is a full time hustla, in Da Streets of Denver. He lives with his auntie and her two grandkids somewhere near Federal Boulevard. He likes Kanye West, Real Thugz, and (believe it or not) FarmVille. He has hundreds of pictures of himself flashing gang signs, holding money, and posing with his shirt off in front of mirrors, a gangly white guy with tattoos slithering across his pasty body like leeches. Nowhere on his profile does it explain that he spent seven years in a federal penitentiary for aggravated assault. Nor does it state that he is wanted in Wisconsin, Wyoming, Nebraska, and right here in Colorado, for everything from possession with intent to sell, to sexual assault. It doesn’t say that there is a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, either, or that he almost never leaves his auntie’s apartment except to pick up more liquor or to pop out for the occasional booty call. A booty call like Brittany Hart. Brock Mason is:
Hyped for today, 56 minutes ago, and Rollin’ out, 20 minutes ago.
Then you send him a message. Something innocuous but provocative, like, “Hey, stranger, long time no see ;).” (Idiots love emoticons.) If he answers back, you’re golden.
Brock Mason is walking through six inches of freshly fallen snow in the middle of City Park right now, steam pouring from his face like dragon’s breath in the frigid winter air. Brock Mason is at least 30 pounds heavier than his Facebook page says he is, and judging by the way he’s walking, he’s carrying a weapon in the front of his pants.
I put my gloved hand to the Bluetooth in my ear and whisper:
“Etch, target is inbound from St. Paul Street, moving northbound through the park.”
“Copy that, I have eyes on.”
Snow falls softly on the hood of my jacket, pattering like tentative fingertips all around my head, landing in my eyelashes, settling on my cheeks. The balaclava around my face keeps the steam from escaping and giving away my position. Mason trots nearer, sticking to the trail, and from where I lie I can make out the prison tattoos on his neck. He’s wearing a red snow jacket, black pants that are roughly four sizes too big for him, and a pair of red Nikes. He’s fatter, paler, and duller than his mug shot photos. Mason is thirty feet away from me now, looking left and right but still moving, intent on getting to shelter from the snow. I am a ghost, dressed all in white, packed into a snow drift in the shadowy gloom of the tree line.
After you’ve flirted with him for about two weeks, lure him to a controlled environment where he is both isolated and disoriented.
City Park is the biggest park in Metro Denver. There’s a zoo, a museum, and a lake scattered throughout it. At the edge of the lake on the southern shore is a gazebo, 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, with iron gates on either side, effectively enclosing the inside of the structure. It was built 98 years ago by some rich industrialist to function as a band shell. Now it’s used for weddings and parties. When it’s not being partied in, all of the doors are locked except for one at the western end, which the park leaves open so that joggers can use the water fountain. That’s where Mason is headed. He’s headed there because Brittany Hart asked him to meet her there so that they could “smoke some weed, and see what happens ;).” I know that because I am Brittany Hart. Well, we are Brittany Hart.
When you’ve got him horny, disoriented, and all alone, you and your ex-military buddies swoop in like the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and wipe his ass out. Oh, yeah, join the military and make some friends. Simple as that.
“Subject entering the gazebo. Engage.”
I’m running now, up and running through the driving snow, with ice pluming off me in clouds. To my left I see Etch moving, too, diagonally through the trees, 12-gauge Benelli M1 Super on his shoulder, checking for hostiles. I see him only because I know where he is supposed to be, and even then it’s difficult to make him out. Harkin hangs back for support, further north, lined up with the building. As the edge of the tree line nears, I yank the FNP .45 from the holster on my hip and bring it to a ready position midway up my chest.
Harkin in my ear: “Subject has moved to the western end of the building. Be advised, subject is favoring a weapon, front waistband.”
Out of the trees, across the clearing, the building looms before us like a monolith. Etch and I converge on the eastern wall of the structure. There are no windows or doors on this side, so we’re covered for the moment. The wind howls, furious, and my legs are on fire from lying in the snow for so long, but I’m ready to do this, so I give Etch the signal and we split, Etch around one side, me on the other, around the corner sharply, and in the open gate. The wind outside the building is deafening, and Mason’s back is to me when I enter.
“Brock Mason.” My voice is steady, ice-cold mercury, and Mason’s shoulders rise infinitesimally in alarm. He does not reach for the weapon, so I don’t put a double tap in his spine. He turns to look over his shoulder. Brock Mason is:
Shitting his pants, 5 seconds ago.
I’m not a big guy, about 5’8” and lean, going on stocky; but I don’t know anybody who likes being on that side of a .45, especially when the person holding it is in full tactical with a ski mask on.
Mason says: “Fuck.”
“Mason: raise your hands out to either side and interlace your fingers behind your head. If you move for the piece I will light you the fuck up.” He considers his options for a millisecond, and then the arms go up.
“On your knees, Mason. Good. Now put your forehead on the ground. Flatten out.”
I move closer to him, watching him breathe heavily on the other side of my iron sights. Five feet away I say:
“Mason, I’m going to cuff you now. If you fight me, my friend will shoot you in the face with a 12-gauge shotgun.” On the other side of the iron bars, Etch appears like a ghoul and blows him a kiss over the breech of his weapon. Mason grinds his forehead into the floor. I holster my weapon, grab his right wrist and drop to a crouch, my knees on his neck and low back. Wrist, click, wrist, click and he’s done. I turn him over with my boot and yank a Taurus .25 from the front of his pants. Clear it, stow it.
“Harkin, subject in custody. Extracting to the tree line, move to cover.”
He says: "I’m at Taco Bell. Be there in like fifteen minutes."
I tell him to fuck his own face.
We extract Mason from the park quickly and quietly. Harkin brings the van around, and the four of us are gone before anyone even knows we exist. It’s a short drive to our usual bail bondsman’s place of business. Etch phones ahead to tell Mark that the bust was good, and that we’re bringing Mason in. Mark says he’s just hanging around. Big fucking surprise. Mark’s an ex-Department of Corrections guy who got booted from his gig as a prison guard for smuggling dope into a correctional facility. After that, he decided to try his hand at putting shitheads in prison instead of keeping them there. Mark is a burly, lazy-looking S.O.B. A hulking white guy with a beer gut and a shaved head, teeth like a mammoth, forehead like a caveman. Like if Barney Fife had a baby with Chuck Liddell. We drop Mason off at the duplex Mark runs his gig out of, and he meets us at the door in jeans and a T-shirt. He says, “Cool.”
Mark gives us $5,000 under the table, three quarters of what Crime Stoppers is going to give him for the bust. We need Mark because:
a) The way we operate is pretty illegal.
b) The criminal justice system crawls as far as payment systems are concerned (six months to wait for five grand, and that’s if Mason gets convicted) and we are way too broke to wait that long.
Mark needs us because:
a) We bring him free bad guys.
b) He’s a piss-poor bounty hunter.
Two and a half hours later finds Etch, Harkin, and myself in the Goosetown Tavern. The snow is falling harder outside; flakes like cotton balls, falling heavily, lumbering on the breeze and settling on the sidewalks and in the gutters and streets. It’ll pile up by evening, freeze by night, melt in the morning and flood the gutters by tomorrow afternoon. Then it’ll freeze again. Fucking Denver. Beers hit the table with a splash, and the waiter stammers something about the pizza being on the way as he retreats from the table in reverse. No one’s surprised. We’re all wearing our tactical shit. The weapons are in the car, but you can’t blame the kid for being careful. Plus, Harkin and Etch look like comic book characters. The two huge fuckers with their shaved heads, John Harkin with his lumberjack beard, Eric “Etch” Echevaria with his goatee, 500 pounds of muscle, paunch, and sinew between the two of them.
The beer is cold and cheap, the way I like it, and I down it with fervor while the winter paces like a lion outside the windows.
Etch says, “So, what? About $1,700 each?”
About $1,660; but either way, it isn’t a terrible haul for a few hours’ worth of ninja shit and a few days on Facebook pretending to be a sexy blond. When Etch gets home he’ll wipe Britney’s profile and clean out his temporary Internet files so Mason can’t come looking for her, or us, when and if he gets to use a computer again. That’s the other reason we use pictures of girls in Russia; it’s not likely that one of these assholes is going to run into them at a bar anytime soon.
Etch wipes foam off his face with the sleeve of his coat, asks, “What’s the plan for your pieces?”
I’m spending mine on not starving or getting evicted from my apartment, say, “I’m going to buy a tiger with a saddle. Just for cruising around.”
Harkin says, “I’m going to buy a rocket ship, strap my girlfriend to it.” He makes a blast-off sound, trails a finger off into the cosmos. Getting rid of his girlfriend, Stacy, has been a running gag since their first date, and my theory that anyone crazy enough to go on a second date with Harkin is jacked in the brain still stands. Two weeks ago she got drunk and stuck Harkin with a fork because he “was asking for it.” He may very well have been, knowing Harkin; but still. Not a Nicholas Sparks novel in the making.
Harkin asks Etch what he’s got planned. He smiles, tips his mug at us and mumbles something like “soon,” and before anyone can ask what he’s talking about, the slices are on the table. Three of them, the size of kites, steam curling off like a naked flame, cheese running down onto the plate. The Tavern makes some of the best $3 pizza in the city, and I always order mine with pineapple and jalapeƱos because I’m a troll. It gets real quiet at the table. Etch and Harkin watch Man vs. Wild with the sound off on the flat screen above the bar, and I scoop the dismembered newspaper off the table behind us. Ads, ads, Big 5: box of 50 .40 caliber rounds for $15.99, Sports section, Opinion. Half a world away, people are charging checkpoints with dirty bombs strapped to their chests. No articles, no pictures, nothing. You can walk into any grocery store in America and find out what top J-Lo wore to the beach or who Ashton Kutcher is having sex with, but if you want to know who got their face shot off while brushing their teeth in a tent so that J-Lo or Ashton could keep rocking in the free world, good fucking luck. Your average teen can tell you the entire cast of the Jersey Shore, but has no idea where Afghanistan or Iraq is on a map. I swallow down the bitterness with my next bite. Buried beneath it all on the second page of the local section I find a two-paragraph article about some kid getting stabbed to death near The Stampede, a country-western bar in Aurora. Something about it bites me. Call it a premonition, call it gas. I read it twice, and can’t figure out what it is that feels wrong about it, turn the page, flip to the funnies. On the TV, Bear Grylls drinks his pee out of a snake.
Sebastian Parks is drowning in a flood of his own creation. Dishonorably discharged from the Army, he's wracked with night terrors and an anger that he can't abate. Unemployable and uninterested in anything resembling a normal job, Parks makes his living in fugitive apprehension, finding wanted felons on Facebook and thumping them into custody with his ex-military buddies John Harkin and Eric "Etch" Echevarria. When the body of a teenage Muslim boy is found in front of a downtown Denver nightclub Parks, Harkin and Etch are called on to do what they do best: Find bad men and make them pay. 
First-time author Kellen Burden serves up edgy humor, brutal action and characters you can't get enough of. Flash Bang will keep you turning pages until the end.
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Genre – Thriller, Mystery
Rating – R
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