Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (Chapter 2)

Heartbeat thrashing in her ears, Jennifer waited to be torn to shreds by the large wolf. She soon became aware of her breath rasping in and out of her sore ribs, and crickets singing in the woods. Further away, a lonesome owl hooted. She slowly lowered her arms, eyes darting around.
Truck.
Road.
Trees.
Shadows.
Rusty gate.
Truck again.
No sign of the wolf. Jennifer sank to the pavement, her weak knees no longer able to support her. She placed her trembling hands over her eyes, uttering a shaky laugh as she did so. ‘Oh, thank God. I thought I was dead.’ She looked around again. There was no evidence a wolf had ever been around. ‘Okay, what the hell is going on?’
She rose to her feet, a little wobbly, but made it to her truck. She opened the door, and slid in, dropping the flashlight on the seat. ‘Whatever the hell Danni wanted to show me will have to fucking wait. I’m getting the hell out of -’
A piercing scream rent the night air. “JEN! Help!”
“Danni! Hold on! I’m coming!” She ripped open the glove compartment, not noticing her nail breaking as she yanked the gun out. She pulled the slide back, and saw a round was in the chamber. She snatched the light up and bolted out of the truck. She ran to the gate. The USP was in her right hand which was crossed at the wrist of her left. This hand-held the flash in a reverse grip, illuminating the path to the gate. It gapped open. She darted through, heading in the direction the scream had come from. ‘I wish Rob were here. He’d be great bait for the monsters which might be out here.’ She laughed uneasily at herself. ‘Monsters aren’t real, girl.’

***

A hunched form watched the lithe young woman head into a building. A couple of minutes later, it followed. 

What The Fuck Is Wrong With Americans?

Straight off the jump: I am American, born & raised in Baltimore, Maryland. That’s irrelevant to my rant, but just in case some genius takes offense to my title, and gets his panties in a twist, it’s there. I can, and intend to rant about my fellow citizens.

Ray Rice. Number 27. Running Back. Ranked as the Ravens’ second all-time leading rusher behind Jamal Lewis (7,801) with 5,940 yards, and also second in attempts (1,273). He is ranked second all-time for rushing touchdowns (37) and third for combined touchdowns (43) in Ravens history. Woman beater. Suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season. Convicted of 3rd degree assault. Possible jail term of 3-5 years, and a fine of up to $15,000.

Public outcry, and backlash? Nil.

Michael Vick. Number 7. Quarter Back. In 2006, Vick became the first quarterback to ever rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season.[25] He also set a record by rushing for 8.4 yards per carry. Vick and teammate running back Warrick Dunn became the first quarterback-running back duo to each surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a single season. Dog fighting ring operator. Sentenced to serve 23 months in federal prison, transported to Virginia in November 2008 to face state charges. Received a 3-year prison sentence suspended on condition of good behavior, and a $2,500 fine.

Public outcry and backlash? Protests outside of the courthouse, and his home. Nationwide rants about how he was a horrible person, and should be buried under the jail. Loss of endorsement deals. Threats against his life. Just to name a few.

So, the media, the courts and the rest of the nation thinks that dogs are more important than women. Let that sink in, and percolate for a moment.

But, is that really a surprise? Look at the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling. A business was deemed more important than women. Hell, a scary thing about that? There were some women cheering that ruling, too. Seriously.

I really don’t get this. I’m going to wax poetic a bit here: As a straight male, I love women. They are wonderfully fascinating. They are endlessly inventive, intelligent as hell. They are wise, kind, loving, warm and caring. They are also strong as hell. And, then there’s the other appealing aspects of them: They’re beautiful with soft skin, curvy bodies, and delightful… well, never mind. I’m a huge fan of women, is what I’m getting at.

I honestly am confused by how our nation insists on marginalizing, and oppressing them. I get that they do, I see it everywhere. But, I want to know why? Why insist that half of our species is unimportant, and lower than animals?! Why say to them (and brainwash some of them into saying), “Bronze Age superstition is more important than you?”

Does anyone even know? If not, why do it? Oh, and before commenters jump in with other countries, or “not all of us,” let me put it like this: Where is your protest about how lightly Ray Rice got off? Where is your on-air rant about Hobby Lobby? Where’s your service in a domestic violence shelter? Or anything of that nature?

Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. (Chapter 1)

Jennifer pulled up to the rusty gates of the abandoned amusement park and shut off the engine of her tan Isuzu Rodeo. She gazed through her windshield at the dark land. A derelict rollercoaster, with a couple of cars frozen at the peak of a drop, was silhouetted against the moon. Her eyes trailed the forlorn ruin, noting the sections of missing track. She shook herself and glanced around outside her truck once more. There was no sign of her friend. ‘That’s odd. Danni is more punctual than this. I’m the late one to our meeting places.’
She pulled her phone out to check the text requesting the meeting here again.

‘Jen, meet me at the old FunZone Amusement park at 8pm. I have something you’ll want to see.’

The cell chirped, and the screen when dark. “Damn it. I forgot to charge. Grrr,” she said. She leaned over to the glove box and felt around. Her fingers slid over crumpled parking tickets, napkins, a dried out doughnut, and the cool metal of the handgun her friend Rob had given her. He’d called it a USP Tactical and said it was easy to hide. She leaned over and attempted to look into the glove compartment, but it was too dark to see inside. She reached out and opened the passenger side door. The dome light came on as the sound of crickets entered. The gun blocked her view of the inside, so she pushed it aside. No charger. ‘Shit. I must have forgotten to grab it on my way out the door this morning.’
Jennifer sighed, and pulled the door shut. At the same time, she slammed the glove box shut. She got out and glanced around. The wind moved through the woods, shaking tree branches, and making shadows dance in the moonlight. Still no sign of her best friend. An owl hooted, making her jump. She leaned against the truck, her hand over her racing heart. A rhythmic squeaking caught her attention. When she glanced back to the interior of the amusement park, something darted by. The sudden movement in her peripheral vision caused her to turn to look, as her breath caught in her chest. Her gasp turned into a brief coughing fit.
She regained control of her breathing, and opened her truck once more. She reached under the seat and grabbed the flashlight. As she turned it on, she registered what she’d done, and smacked herself on the forehead. ‘I could have used this when looking for my charger. Dummy.’ She shone the light in the direction of the movement, and became aware the crickets no longer made a sound. The flashlight swung in short, quick arcs, following the motion of her eyes. She took a slow step back. The crunch of gravel underfoot seemed like miniature explosions to her sharpened senses. A wolf howled, startling her. She screamed and dropped her light which broke on the ground.
‘Shit.’ She squatted, gathering the pieces in the moonlight. ‘Get a hold of yourself. If you can handle being attacked by a couple of hood rats, you can handle a wolf howling in the distance.’ The hood rats in question had intended her to be their initiation into the local order of the Four-Nines, a ruthless gang of drug runners. She’d surprised the young girls by being more vicious than they, and as they put it, “Not fighting fair.” Two on one was fair game, though, it seemed. As Rob had taught, a quick knee to the groin of the closer girl had persuaded her to lose interest in continuing. A short jab to the voice box had made the other one lose interest as well, also as he’d instructed.
Jennifer reassembled the flash, and flicked the switch. Nothing. ‘Did I put the batteries in right?’ She removed the top and reversed them. This time the flashlight came on. At the same time, something heavy thumped onto the roof of the truck. She whipped the light up to see what made the noise. The air left her lungs in a rush as an enormous black wolf was revealed. The animal’s eyes glowed yellow in the beam. The wolf’s upper lip curled up, showing gleaming fangs as it snarled at her. Woman and wolf stared at each other for an unknown amount of time. Their standoff ended when she took a slow step back. The sound of gravel being compacted under her foot caused the wolf to spring at her.
She screamed, and threw her arms over her face, certain she was going to die.

Where’s My Into the Realm Updates?

Funny you should ask that. Since I published it on Amazon.com, I also enrolled it in KDP Select. It’s a way for Amazon Prime members to borrow my book for free, and I get royalties based on how many people borrow it. As part of being able to do this, I’m not allowed to sell my book on any other website (or blog), nor am I allowed to post it anywhere, even for free. But, that’s okay. After I pull it from there, I’ll resume posting it here.

In the meantime, taking its place will be Jennifer Steel, Agent of the F.S.I.A. You may remember me posting some excerpts from that a while ago, but I’ve been rewriting, and revamping, it. I hope you guys like it.

Gatecrashing the Cosy Consensus on Amazon

As I mentioned in an earlier post (this one), Amazon isn’t the bad guy in the battle with Hachette Book Group, despite what they, and their multi-millionaire authors would have you believe.

David Gaughran

amazonhachetteA group of bestselling traditionally published authors – including James Patterson, Scott Turow, and Douglas Preston – engaged in an act of breathtaking hypocrisy on Thursday with an open letter calling on Amazon to end its dispute with Hachette.

The letter is incredibly disingenuous. It claims not to take sides, but only calls on Amazon to take action to end the dispute. It also makes a series of ridiculous claims, notably that Amazon has been “boycotting Hachette authors.”

Where do I start?

The Phantom Boycott

First of all, refusing to take pre-orders on Hachette titles is not a “boycott.” Pre-orders are a facility extended to certain publishers – not all publishers. Many small presses don’t have a pre-order facility. Most self-publishers don’t have a pre-order facility.

I don’t know why Amazon has stopped taking Hachette pre-orders, but both sides have stated that negotiations aren’t likely to be resolved any…

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It’s Finally Available

My novel, Into the Realm: The Chronicles of Carter Blake is now live on Amazon. For now, it’s only available as an e-book. As soon as I get enough money to get the cover expanded, I’ll be offering print versions, too. Here is where you can order it. When my next post goes live, you’ll be able to order it from one of my side bars. 😀 I hope you guys like it.

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