Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Release! Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2)


First up, sorry if you're feeling a bit like "Yeah, yeah, Deb, I know! You've got a book out today." With so many authors, so many books and the velocity of social networks, I have to send out the message on as many channels as possible. Hence, the overkill some of you might experience.

Conversely, you might be thinking "Oh, I'm glad I saw this blog post or I wouldn't have known you had a new book out." In which case, my work here is done. :)

Sooo...

Tabula Rasa is out today! (June 21st, 2018)

Tabula Rasa is book two of the Gray Fisher trilogy (you can get book one - The WAG and The Scoundrel - for 99c if you're quick - links on the Beaten Track page). This series is a spin-off from Hiding Behind The Couch - you don't need to have read any of the main series to make sense of the Gray Fisher books.

The stories feature Gray Fisher and Rob Simpson-Stone, who were in the police together. The series is contemporary fiction with elements of (white-collar) crime and (LGBTQ+) romance.

Tabula Rasa Blurb:
After years of working for the police - both as a beat bobby and undercover - Rob Simpson-Stone is moving on with no regrets. It may be too late to rescue his marriage, but his relationship with his seven-year-old son, Lucas, is back on track. Rob's grown-up nieces might be a taller order, but he's prepared to do whatever it takes to prove they no longer need to worry that one day he won't come home.

Fate, however, has different ideas.

When Rob fails to arrive at his leaving do, his former boss/new PI business partner Gray Fisher can't understand why nobody else is worried Rob is MIA, never mind that Gray is pointlessly missing out on a night in with Will.

As the reasons behind the night's events unfold, Gray's past recklessness threatens to catch up with him, putting those he holds close in danger and forcing both Rob and Gray to forge reluctant alliances.

Purchase links:
Beaten Track: ebook | paperback
Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBooks

Yesterday, I spent a 'short' time putting together a video trailer. OK, it took me bloody hours, and I tried to coerce Nige into helping me, all the while knowing I'd end up watching over his shoulder and telling him how to do something he's expertly qualified and experienced to do. In the end, he did help with advice and managed to not splain to me - he seemed very proud of himself for that. :D

Also, it's our wedding anniversary today. We'll celebrate by...doing the same as we do every Thursday.

Video trailer:



Excerpt (Rob):
Context: Rob and Naomi are having a pub lunch on the way back from a prison visit during which Rob sprang an unpleasant surprise on Naomi.
They sipped their drinks; their meals arrived. The silence continued, finally broken by Naomi’s request for ketchup and Rob’s unchecked reaction.

“What?” She was immediately defensive. “I like ketchup.”

“I didn’t say a word.”

“You didn’t need to. Your face said it for you.” She deposited a large dollop on the side of her plate, clicked the lid shut and set the bottle down. There was a smile lurking behind that moody scowl.

Shaking his head, Rob tucked into his gammon and chips. “You and Lu would get on like a house on fire.”

“How so?”

“United in your love of ketchup. The kid puts it on everything—chips…”

“What are chips without ketchup?”

“Fry-ups…”

“The perfect accompaniment.”

“Carbonara.” Rob nodded at Naomi’s plate. Almost to spite him, she swirled her pasta-loaded fork in the ketchup, covering it completely. Rob laughed, relieved the ice was starting to melt. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I should’ve warned you.”

“Was it an option?”

“Yeah. I bottled out.”

“Were you worried I’d jeopardise your success in talking Freddie round?”

“No, nothing like that. I didn’t want to upset you. And for the record, it wasn’t my idea.”

“I’d gathered as much.” Naomi exchanged her fork for her glass. “It has Will Richards written all over it.”

“Does it?” Rob thought it had come from Gray—contrary to his claim it was Will’s scheme—because it was a DCI Fisher tactic too. Clearly, they were well suited.

“What’s it about, or can’t you tell me?”

“I can’t say much as it relates to an ongoing investigation.”

“The PI business?” Naomi guessed.

“Yep.”

“Mmm.” She wanted to say more, and Rob wanted to tell her more. In spite of what he’d witnessed at the prison, he trusted her to keep it to herself, but it wasn’t solely his decision.

“You’ve got ketchup…” He subtly indicated her chin. She wiped with her napkin, but the ketchup stayed put. She tried again. Rob shook his head. She gave her chin one more broad wipe, to no avail. It was the tiniest spot and he’d only used it to redirect both of their attention, but this was possibly worse. “So what have you been up to?” he asked, attempting to move the conversation on again.

“Are you really going to let me go through the rest of lunch with ketchup on my chin?” She held out her napkin and leaned forward. “No spit,” she warned.

With a smile, Rob took the napkin and rubbed at the offending spot, but the ketchup was stubborn as anything.

“Everything all right with your meals?” A waiter stopped at their table.

Naomi quickly leaned her chin on her hand. “Yes, thanks.”

“Great, cheers,” Rob said. “Could I trouble you for a glass of water?”

“No trouble,” the waiter said and left, soon returning with the water. Rob offered thanks and waited for them to move on before he dipped a corner of the napkin into the glass and used it to successfully clean the ketchup away. The cool wetness amplified the heat radiating from Naomi’s skin, and Rob was once again fighting the urge to touch. Carefully withdrawing, he dropped the napkin onto the table and sat back in his chair, fingers locked and steepled above his plate.

Naomi frowned in concern. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.” Rob clasped his hands tighter together, not yet safe from temptation. “Can I be honest, Naomi?”

“Twice in one day?”

“Actually, it was the same point, but I got sidetracked.”

“Oh, now I’m intrigued.” That smile…if that didn’t mean what Rob thought it meant…

“All right. Cards on the table. I’m very attracted to you. I have been since I met you.”

“When you thought I was Aaron’s wife,” she said. Her smile faltered, and there was a hint of worry there, but it made her no less beautiful.

Thank you for reading!
Deb x

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Great Pretendo #flashfriday #sparklybadgers

He’s a fast-talking, dishevelled inventor trapped in a world he never made. She’s a transdimensional renegade magician’s assistant trying to make a difference in a man’s world. Together, they fight crime! (inspiration: http://theyfightcrime.org)

(Flash Fiction, written for the Sparkly Badgers.)

***

The audience oooh’d as Pretendo circled the wooden crate, his final sword raised. Bend, flick, recoil… The blade flashed under the spotlights and plunged, piercing the lid, dead centre. As one, the audience gasped and held their breath.

Beneath the crate’s false floor, Shula waited out the seconds, knowing she’d be stuck a good while yet. Pretendo loved to drag out the sword removal part of his act even though the audience was only interested in seeing his ‘assistant’ emerge unscathed.

He was a fake. All magicians were, but that was beside the point. Pretendo wasn’t actually a magician. He was a thief on the run, and he shouldn’t have made it this far. Shula had flagged his passport with the portal authorities, but some…idiot had let him through. So, Shula did the only thing she could: downed a couple of TT pills, sent a 10–43 to the division, and hopped on the bus with him.

Now, they were here: Earth 6424/12bf4a with its bizarre and frankly illogical gendered hierarchy, which she’d discovered firsthand within minutes of arriving and before she could secure a stable 4G–HTL connection that would have forewarned of her instant demotion to second-class citizen.

Pretendo had leapt clear of the bus before it stopped and darted into the closest building, tripping over a sandwich board in his haste. The sign was still wobbling as Shula raced past.

Wanted: Illusionist + Illusionist’s assistant. Auditions today.

There was little difference in the tech from one world to the next, but theirs was strange, new… Magic. Guaranteed to get them the gig.

Illusionist.

Illusionist’s assistant.

Damned infuriating, not to mention degrading, cramped, boring…and itchy. Shiny, stretchy fabric that barely covered her mammary glands and genitalia—and the women here wore weapons on their feet. Still, with her holo-shield activated, it was good cover.

Whoosh. One sword down. Only seven more to go.

Thud, thud, thud…

“Hello?” Male voice, unknown.

Whoosh. Whoosh.

Thud, thud, thud.

“Where am I?”

Thud, thud, thud.

Whoosh.

What the…

Shula gripped the handles and pulled, opening a six-inch gap. Shafts of light cut across the upper section of the crate. The whoosh of another sword’s removal was followed by a muted curse from the silhouette above.

“Stay down!” Shula hissed.

Whoosh, whoosh…

The silhouette jolted violently. “Wh-who said that?”

“How did you get in here?”

“I, erm…” Whoosh. “Ouch! What the hell is this?”

That was the final sword. “Hold tight, I’m coming up.”

With the man’s weight, it took a fair bit of effort, but the clanks and rattles of the padlocked chains had stopped, and the lid was rising.

“Quick!” A clammy hand grasped Shula’s and pulled as she pushed, hoisting her upwards as Pretendo threw the lid aside, and, like jacks in a box, she and her crate-crasher sprang to their feet.

“Thank you, thank you!” Pretendo gushed and bowed to his whooping audience, oblivious to the added extra in his act.

Shula held her grin and curtseyed, muttering to her unwitting sidekick, “There’s a bar across the street. Wait there. I’ll find you and explain. Go!”

With her help, he scrabbled free and stumbled away, just making it offstage as Pretendo turned around.

“For my next trick, I will take this beautiful lady—” he lifted Shula’s hand to his greasy face and squelched out a kiss “—and saw her in half!”

***

By the time Shula reached the bar, she’d figured it out. Aside from the man’s dishevelled, shell-shocked appearance, he was pale, shivering and sweaty. It could’ve been flu, she supposed—the virus thrived on Earth 6424/12bf4a—but she didn’t think so. He raised his head, offering a weak nod.

“Here. Take this,” she instructed and popped a TT pill from the packet onto his quivering palm.

“What is it?” he asked, but not before he’d swallowed it.

“For travel sickness.”

“I don’t get travel sickness.”

“This kind, you do. We all do. So, who are you?”

“Tim Cox. Professor of…erm, well…” He rubbed his scruffy head in fake bewilderment.

“Quantum physics?” Shula guessed. Tim’s jaw dropped. “How did you get here?”

“Are we in London?”

“We are,” Shula confirmed. “But not your London.”

He perked up. “No way! It worked?”

“How many moons are there?”

“Orbiting Earth? Two, obviously.” He laughed like it was a ridiculous question.

Shula got up and beckoned him to follow her outside, where she pointed up at the sky and its solitary moon. “I think it’s safe to say it—whatever ‘it’ is—worked.”

“I was right! Wormholes are stable—”

Some are,” Shula interjected. “However, yours is connected to a magician’s prop, which is not in the least stable, particularly given who the magician is.” She hooked Tim’s arm and marched him back across the street, but he broke free. “Professor, you must leave before it’s too—”

The theatre doors burst open. Pretendo emerged, puffing and panting, and hauled the crate into his stolen van. That was when he spotted Shula. He scrambled into the van and took off.

“Damn it! My shield’s failed.” She hailed a passing taxi and jumped in—as did Tim—and ordered the cabbie, “Follow that van!”

Well, this was a mess. Every twist, turn and bump, the crate rattled closer to the swinging, open back doors, and now she had not one, but two transdimensional trespassers. It was far from ideal. Although…

“Can you collapse your wormhole, Professor?”

“How will I get home?”

“Good point.” But she could figure that out later. “I’m with the Transdimensional Crime Division, and I need your help. So, the wormhole…?”

“Transdimensional—” Tim uttered, awestruck.

“Can you collapse it or not?” Shula snapped.

“Of course, but—”

“Do it.”

“Now?”

“Soon as you like.”

“If you’re sure…” Tim pulled a device from his pocket, poked the screen a few times and shut his eyes. “Here goes nothing.” He pressed the screen one last time.

Up ahead, the van briefly expanded, and then shrank to non-existence.

Friday, June 01, 2018

The WAG and The Scoundrel - 99c limited offer



To celebrate the release of Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2) on June 21st, The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1) ebook is available for 99c (or thereabouts. Amazon, you know... Usual price is $3.99).


Buy The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1):


Preorder Tabula Rasa (Gray Fisher #2):