September 2018 Archives

Excerpt from The Price of Power

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This is a freshly written rough draft excerpt


Grace, Secundus Goronos has been assassinated! I need you to start immediately!

The message from Yeriala broke me out of concentrating on a request for a large restaurant space with a view. It was two-twentyfive, three days before I was schedule to begin my appointment as an investigator. I don't know if Amras has the ghost he's going to train me with created, but I'll give it my best shot. I do need the official contract, though. Otherwise, I'm just a private citizen.

It should be in your queue. I've already been confirmed by Tertius Howsoff.

Yes, it was in my queue, ready for my agreement. I accepted it and sent it back to her while telling Imre an emergency had arisen. It appears that Yeriala's predecessor has been assassinated and I need to start immediately. I'll try to get back to helping you when I can, but I think this has a higher claim upon my attention?

Agreed, Grace. I think I'm ready to create another splinter anyway. I presume you have complete notes in the files? As soon as I indicated that I had, he said, I will handle it and broke off the link.

Before I could even consider my next move - which was to find or create an Imperial uniform - Amras contacted me. The ghost that will train you is at your outer door.

Thank you! How do I find it?

He will find you. If he was detectable by others, that would defeat the purpose. Just make sure you walk out your front door before you teleport out.

Any hints to start out with?

You might begin by checking if Goronos was officially a Quintus-in-rank.

Yeah, that might be smart. For one thing, it would determine whether we were potentially looking for a murderer or if the case didn't belong in the justice system at all. I sent a query with my datalink and it came back while he had the service points for Quintus-in-rank, he had only accepted Quartius-in-rank thus far. So if he had been murdered, it was in fact criminal murder, not political rivalry.

About that time I grabbed one of my old military uniforms and moved the white staff private's pips to the breast, between my golden triangles - the one with the stick figure that announced my status as a Second Order Guardian (officially) being junior to it, while the small unadorned golden triangle denoting that I was a Secundus-in-rank was the seniormost. On my epaulets went a larger golden triangle with crossed swords embossed, indicating that I was acting as the agent for a Secundus-in-fact. It was derivative authority - Yeriala could withdraw it at any time, for any reason or none. But it was Imperial authority, and I was suddenly feeling inadequate for the trust being placed in me - or at least doubtful of my ability. I was not responsible for judgment - but I was responsible for the findings of fact the judges would use to make their judgments. I thought it a good time for a quick prayer, O lord of hosts, guide me to truth and justice! Amen, before I walked out my front door.

Shield yourself even during prayers, I was told, the divine will hear regardless. Your enemies could use it against you.

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This is a coming of age story set in an alternate version of early twentieth century San Francisco in a world where inhuman creatures such as vampires and lycanthropes are real.

It took me some time to figure out that what the author intended was neither "The Perils of Pauline" nor a Wooster and Jeeves type story, as there are elements of both here. The protagonist is Helena Brandywine, a sheltered little rich girl whose main issue is nobody has ever really held her to the same standards as everyone else, which is a pity (and appears likely to be remedied in future volumes of the series) because she's game to work and wants to make a difference. You can't help but like her, no matter how helpless she appears because she wants so badly to improve things. At one point, she's asked to make a major personal sacrifice and agrees almost without hesitation in order to rescue some people she believes need the help. It's not that she's unwilling, it's that her guardians and keepers have, for reasons of their own, kept her sheltered from the world (the title of the story is a fairly obvious euphemism for something else). So when she goes haring off here and there on wild goose chases only tangentially relevant to her self-appointed mission, it's because she doesn't know any better, not because she's incapable of making a coherent plan. Her primary foil is a police detective who actually possesses the skills she finds herself desiring, including a worldly knowledge such as only someone who's had his face rubbed in the ways of the world can possess. She wants to be Sherlock Holmes; he actually comes fairly close to being Sherlock Holmes.

Most of the supporting cast are at least reasonably distinct characters, and although the plot reflects some of Ms. Helena's present scatterbrained nature, it does come to a coherent conclusion. Although it's something of a 'to be continued', I didn't mind as I think I'm going to keep reading the series.

I give Pretty Waiter Girls a solid seven out of ten rating. By Amazon standards, a four star review.

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The book feels like a guided tour with isolated stops and no feel as to how they all relate to each other. Go here, ask for help. Go there, ask for help. Every once in a while, it's broken by something or other, none of which incidents particularly engaged me. None of the characters engaged me or seemed memorable. The ending seemed like trying to wave a magic wand and failing - not that it didn't get the happy ending for the story - but that it didn't make any kind of real scientific sense, which is important given the nature of the ending.

This story would have benefited from someone reading it and asking the author a few tough or searching questions before publication.

I'm going to give it a five of ten rating - the writing flowed, the author has ability, it just didn't engage me. By Amazon standards, a three star review

I'm slowly getting the covers for my books re-done, one by one. Here is the new cover for Preparing the Ground

PTG new front cover.jpg


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