Saturday Snippet: Portrait of a Crime Lord Part Two

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Welcome back! I’ve been hard at work on the third book in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series. This snippet comes from a scene early in the book, just before Bo Barron makes the transition from frying pan to fire. The book opens with her in the middle of a job, breaking a crime lord’s kid brother out of a Third Sector detention center. Bo comes away with a lot more than she bargained for, including another inmate who somehow managed to stow away aboard her ship. In this scene, under the watchful eyes of his two Q’mann bodyguards and his pair of snarling amphibious pets, Bo is delivering crime lord Gray’s kid brother in exchange for the payment he promised.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Hello, Gray,” she said, coming to a halt across the table from the crime boss. “Here he is, delivered alive and well, as promised.”

“So I see, Bo.” Gray took his time looking her over.

She’d been leered at before. She’d been leered at by the best…and the worst. Gray fell somewhere in between. Sure, he was a disgusting slob, twice as repulsive and slimy as the dorn behind him. He was also a sadistic misogynist looking for a way to get under her skin and between her legs – by force if necessary. The main thing that kept him in check was the well-known fact that she could drop both Q’mann before Gray finished ordering them to grab her.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND
Portrait of a Crime Lord – Part One

Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: Portrait of a Crime Lord

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Welcome back! I’ve been hard at work on the third book in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series. This snippet comes from a scene early in the book, just before Bo Barron makes the transition from frying pan to fire. The book opens with her in the middle of a job, breaking a crime lord’s kid brother out of a Third Sector detention center. Bo comes away with a lot more than she bargained for, including another inmate who somehow managed to stow away aboard her ship. In this scene, she’s turning over the crime lord Gray’s kid brother to him in exchange for the payment he promised.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

Bo stepped into the darkened interior and paused in the doorway a moment. She scanned the sedate crowd of diners and drinkers doing business in a very civilized manner. Gray and his entourage patiently waited in a distant corner.

Gray resembled nothing so much as a mythological garden imp. Only a year or so older than Bo, his curly shock of brown hair had already migrated from the top of his head to his prodigious chin, leaving only a few stragglers behind to mourn the exodus. Two Q’mann warriors stood watch on either side of him like a bad cliché. A pair of clawed, amphibious dorn snarled at everyone from their perches behind him, the short tentacles around their mouths quivering.

Bo wove her way through the maze of tables towards them. She didn’t have to look behind her to know that Nix followed her. She could sense him as strongly as if he’d been attached to her back like a Kamet symbiant to a Pader Lung Howler.

She allowed herself one small sigh; whatever sibling rivalry that stood between these two brothers was no business of hers and she’d be damn glad to get rid of both of them.

“Hello, Gray,” she said, coming to a halt across the table from the crime boss. “Here he is, delivered alive and well, as promised.”

“So I see, Bo.” Gray took his time looking her over.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

If you’d like to read a sneak peek at BARRON’S LAST STAND you can find the first chapter at the end of HERO’S END and here on my website.

In case you missed them, here are some other SFFS snippets from BARRON’S LAST STAND

Stowaway
Stowaway Part Two
Stowaway Part Three

Saturday Snippet: Shakedown Part Three

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of fifteen sentences or less are yours for the reading!

This is the third installment of a snippet from a Bo Barron short story that I am working on. You can read parts ONE and TWO. Bo is in a hotel room, waiting for a man. He is blissfully unaware that his hotel room is already occupied.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Just let me get a shower and change and I’ll meet you downstairs in the bar in an hour,” he said.

He stepped through the door and it shut behind him as he turned and reached for the light.

Taking no chances, Bo leveled her blaster at him and pressed it hard into the middle of his back.

“Don’t move,” she said, her voice hoarse with emotion and disuse. “Show me your hands.”

His spine stiffened and he slowly held his hands out to his sides. “I’ve got maybe a couple hundred in currency,” he said. “You’re welcome to it.”

Using her blaster, Bo shoved him against the wall. “Spread ’em.”

He hesitated a millisecond before he complied. With her free hand, Bo patted him down. Once satisfied that he was unarmed, she stepped back, but didn’t lower her weapon.

“Switch on the lights and turn around slowly.”

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Saturday Snippet: Shakedown Part Two

 Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday is on hiatus, but I’m not. Here’s part two of last time’s snippet, no limits. I feel so decadent!

This scene comes from a Bo Barron short story that I am working on. Bo is in a hotel room, waiting… we’ll be here for the next few rounds, so settle in…Bo has.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5

“Please let him get here before I lose my nerve,” she whispered in prayer.

The dull ping of the lift echoed down the hallway outside.

Bo eased off the bed and slipped quickly and silently through the shadows to the door. Drawing her blaster, she flattened herself against the wall to the side of the door. Focusing on keeping her breathing deep and even, Bo strained to identify the sounds outside. She could just make out voices in conversation. Punctuated by the occasional laugh, she couldn’t understand what they were saying or identify anyone in particular.

The call sheet for the production crew had indicated that the day’s shooting would be over for the day. She’d taken it as a sign when she’d learned he’d be working on a holofeature on location so far out in the Seventh Sector.

Her heart pounded and she swallowed hard, her mouth suddenly dry. Would he help her or would he throw her out? A thousand doubts assailed her. Footsteps stopped outside the door.

***

That’s the snippet for this week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Saturday Snippet: Shakedown Part One

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten sentences or less are yours for the reading!

This scene comes from a Bo Barron short story that I am working on. Bo is in a hotel room, waiting… we’ll be here for the next few rounds, so settle in…Bo has.

***

Barron's Last Stand ART5If she didn’t know better, she’d swear the hotel room was some kind of spatial anomaly that dilated time. In the fading daylight, Bo Barron checked her chrono again. It felt like years had passed since she broke in. The truth was, she’d barely been there an hour.

Outside on the street below a wailing siren grew louder. Abandoning her anxious pacing, Bo sidled up to the window and brushed the musty curtain aside. She peered down at the traffic several stories below. Her hand hovered over the grip of the antique blaster strapped to her thigh in its custom, low-slung, quick draw rig. A local law enforcement cruiser sped past the building without slowing.  Letting out a relieved sigh, Bo let the curtain fall back into place and she stepped away from the window.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading more about Bo, you can pick up your ebook copies of SOVRAN’S PAWN and HERO’S END for Nook and Kindle at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Who Is The Real Blade Devon?

From the first moment he stepped out onto a sheet of wide-ruled, three-hole notebook paper on November 4, 1984, Blade Devon commanded center stage. Until that moment, Bo Barron had a love triangle going with two other men: Lee Trager, a tall, dark, and handsome casino owner (and a bit of a pretty boy,) and Alec Barclay, a sandy-haired, hot-shot pilot with an inability to commit. When Blade Devon swaggered across the page, Bo (and I) sat up and took notice.

Blade Devon AvatarWhere Lee was cultured and refined, and Alec was clean-cut military to the core, Blade was scruffy, rumpled, unshaven, his blond hair a little too shaggy and his manners less than gentlemanly. Bo and I quickly learned that his appearance and demeanor weren’t because of a lack of upbringing or not knowing better, rather were borne of fierce independence and a desire to face life on his own terms. In other words, he really couldn’t care less. He was a Bad Boy.

Only intended as a peripheral character, Blade had been introduced as a joke. (With a name like “Blade” who could take him seriously? His “real” name at the time was Wilbur Homer Wartwhistle, but no one would surrender to the dangerous mercenary Wilbur Homer Wartwhistle, so he adopted the name Blade, in homage to his predilection for bladed weaponry.)

The joke was on me.

Bo spent less and less time with her two love interests and more in the company of the hard-drinking, two-fisted mercenary. All the more intriguing, Bo and I learned that the man had secrets upon secrets. Like peeling an onion, we’d pull back one layer after another, only to discover that there was so very much more to this character than either of us anticipated. Before we realized, Bo and I were smitten and the other men were relegated to the dusty old files for dredging up later. Bo had found her soul mate.

(Lee Trager returns as Blade’s antagonist in ARCANA DOUBLE CROSS. Time on the back burner and losing Bo have twisted him and turned him into a bit of a sadistic villain. Alec has mutated and split, finding his way into the characters of Royce, Jaden, and Edge.)

The question keeps coming up, “Who is Blade based on?”

That’s a tough question to answer. Blade’s earliest inspiration can be found in Errol Flynn’s autobiography MY WICKED, WICKED WAYS which had been re-released the year before Blade’s birth…and yes, I read it. I was smitten with Flynn from an early age. The swashbuckler with the lopsided smile, the easy charm, and wisecrack for every dangerous situation – how could I not fall for him? And then, with the other book, the one claiming Flynn had been a Nazi spy…well, who doesn’t love a good swashbuckling actor-adventurer-spy?

But Flynn bears no resemblance to Blade physically…or does he?

“Her gaze traced the curve of his brow, his high, prominent cheekbones, the line of his jaw – not quite as square as his brother’s, but longer – to the barest hint of a cleft in his chin. He laughed at something the interviewer said, showing a pair of matched dimples that sent Bo’s innards into a barrel roll.” – HERO’S END

“Who is Blade based on?”

Let’s revisit 1984, shall we?

Dystopic, post-apocalyptic sci-fi was all the rage. At the top of the heap was the quintessential anti-hero, struggling to get along in a world gone mad, carrying the loss of his wife and child, battered and bruised, wild-eyed and dangerous, with cold blue eyes that had seen too much and a beautiful face buried under dust, sweat, and blood. That could only be MAD MAX, THE ROAD WARRIOR, Mel Gibson in his earliest, glorious breakout role. Yes, there is an element of Mel Gibson as Mad Max buried deep in the heart of Blade Devon. In fact, Blade owes his blue eyes to Gibson.

Also in 1984 were the Los Angeles Olympic games. The US Men’s gymnastics team was the first US squad to win the Olympic team gold medal. Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Mitch Gaylord, Jim Hartung, Scott Johnson, and Peter Vidmar were celebrated heroes that summer. Conner, at 26 (Blade’s age in SOVRAN’S PAWN) was the old man of the team and had come back from surgery to repair his torn bicep, to win two gold medals, one with his team, the second with a perfect 10 on the parallel bars. A bit of each of them found their way into characters, ideas and stories.

1984 also saw the television mini-series THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII based loosely on the 1834 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Canadian actor, Duncan Regehr portrayed the gladiator-slave Lydon. Regehr would go on to play Errol Flynn in the television adaptation of his autobiography. Can you see where I’m going here? Tall, beefy, square-jawed, ripped Regehr provided a good model for the body type of Blade Devon. (Regehr also provided inspiration for another character in a stand-alone novel that is as yet, unfinished.)

It was about this time that BLADE RUNNER hit cable. I can’t talk about the conception of Blade Devon without giving a nod to Rutger Hauer, who also solidified his tall, broad, blond, influence with the 1985 release LADYHAWKE. I like to think Blade’s ruthless edge comes from a combination of Hauer’s portrayals of Etienne Navarre and Roy Batty.

England’s Prince Charles admitted in an interview around then that he’d had aspirations of being an actor. His brother, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, served in the Falklands War and is considered a bit of a daredevil. Sound familiar?

Each of these men, in some way contributed to the original vision of Blade Devon.

“Yes, but WHO is Blade based on?”

Since 1984, Blade has absorbed bits and pieces of other men, other characters and other roles, including the likes of Val Kilmer in WILLOW, Sean Bean in SHARPE’S RIFLES and Nathan Fillion as – well, you know.

“Who did you originally cast as Blade?”

Maybe there is one man I envisioned playing the role of Blade Devon in the imaginary movie I’ve made in my head. Then again, maybe there isn’t. Perhaps he is nothing more than an amalgam of traits and features that fell into place at the right time to create someone completely new. Perhaps that’s why he captures people’s imaginations.

The beautiful thing about creating a character like Blade is letting my readers offer their idea of who is playing the character. I have been surprised and pleased by the suggestions offered up. My favorite came from Amy Kolan, who confided that she saw Blade as Chris Hemsworth.

Who?

I’d never heard of the Aussie actor at that point. Of course, I’d seen him as James Kirk’s father in STAR TREK, and I’d seen the trailers for THOR and THE AVENGERS, and even passed through the room while my kids watched THOR, but I hadn’t paid him any attention. I didn’t get a chance to see THOR for myself until a couple of weeks ago. Out of curiosity, I recorded it. When my husband and I had a quiet minute, we sat down to watch. Partway through, I told my husband that Hemsworth had been suggested as a potential Blade.

“I’m not sure I see it,” I said. “I’m not sure he’s pretty enough.”

Gobsmacked, my husband sputtered. “Not pretty enough? This guy IS Blade!”

I have to admit that the roles he’s played are roles that Blade would have played. He does have a maturity, solidity and swaggering-self-confidence-on-demand that screams Blade Devon. Given my husband’s reaction, (and Hemsworth’s performance in SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN,) I am perfectly comfortable endorsing Hemsworth as a suitable Blade Devon.

“But who is your original inspiration for Blade Devon? Whose face do you see in your mind’s eye when you write him?”

012714_1950_9.jpgThat, my friends, is something I’ll never tell. Only one other person on the planet can say with any certainty whether anyone in particular wears the face I consider Blade Devon’s, and that person has sworn to take the secret to the grave. Other than this list of hunks, heroes and Hemsworth, that’s all you’re going to get.

I promise you, your imagination will serve you far better than sure knowledge of the truth.

***

Who did you cast in the role of Blade Devon when you read SOVRAN’S PAWN or HERO’S END?

Saturday Snippet: Natural Habitat of the Holofeature Hero

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten sentences or less are yours for the reading!

This scene comes from HERO’S END which released this week and is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!! Get your copy today!

What would a story about a holofeature hero be without a trip down the red carpet on the night of a premiere? With attempts on Blade’s life, an IC security detail, and a high profile holofeature premiere, Bo risks exposure to watch his back. Seeing him against the backdrop of celebrity gives her a new perspective on him.

paparazzi

***

No man had the right to be that good looking.

He switched on the charm full-bore and unleashed it on everyone around him.

Holocams flashed in rapid succession, blinding her.

“Blade!”

“Blade! Look over here!”

“Blade! Who’s your friend?”

Bo ducked her head in an effort to escape the attention. She tried to take a step back, but Blade’s firm grip on her hand held her in place.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. I won’t be participating in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday next week, but I hope to see you again when I get back!

In the mean time, if you’re interested in reading ALL of HERO’S END, you can pick up your ebook copy for Nook and Kindle at Barnes & Noble or Amazon, or you can order a limited edition, autographed paperback copy here.

Saturday Snippet: Cold Surveillance

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten sentences or less are yours for the reading!

This scene comes from HERO’S END which releases this week!!

Surveillance is never easy, especially when you’re alone and cold.

***

Bo reached into the bag on the passenger seat and pulled out a scanner. With fingers made clumsy and numb from the cold, she turned it over in her hand and switched it on, keying it for the right frequency. The display flashed as it booted up, then cleared and settled into a pattern. Bo set the scanner on the dashboard and settled in to wait.

The minute sensor she’d hidden in the grip of her Capre sprang to life and began transmitting data. Flexing her fingers, Bo cupped her hands and blew into them, then rubbed them together. She had to keep the blood flowing. This was the hard part, especially when she was uncomfortable. She had to wait patiently for Rex to move.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by.

If you’re interested in reading ALL of HERO’S END, you can pick up your ebook copy for Nook and Kindle Wednesday at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or you can order a limited edition, autographed paperback copy here.

Saturday Snippet: No Smoking In The Lift

Welcome to Science Fiction Fantasy Saturday. Snippets of ten sentences or less are yours for the reading!

Because of the prompt “shades,” we’re doing something a little different this week. I use the word in HERO’S END, due to be released on September 12. This snippet comes from a scene near the end of the book as Blade, coming back from getting takeout, doesn’t put out his cigarette before getting onto the lift.

***

996581_147997492075169_1580769415_nDespite the Delian herbs of the cigarette dampening his senses, he felt apprehension and fear radiating off the other occupants of the lift capsule. His gaze flicked over the scrawny little humanoid male, whose throat spasmed convulsively as he swallowed. The plump Joy Babe at his side eyed him with a mixture of trepidation and contempt.

He’d been getting that reaction ever since he left the apartment.

Unshaven, tousled hair, dark sun shades and a well-worn hovercycle jacket, he looked like a street tough.

After having screaming strangers throwing themselves at him for the past few years, open fear and avoidance were a welcome change of pace.

“Y-you’re not supposed to smoke in the lift,” the Joy Babe stammered.

Gaining some sort of twisted amusement from the situation, Blade drew deeply on the cigarette and plucked it from his mouth. He slowly blew out the smoke, watching their reaction.

***

That’s the snippet for the week. Thank you for stopping by. Please take the time to visit the other wonderful authors taking part in Science Fiction/Fantasy Saturday!