Entry Nickname: The Decapitator
Title: The Art of Severance
Word Count: 82,000
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
ATF Special Agent Alexandra MacPherson can’t decide which is worse -- a witness who dies or a suspect who won’t stay dead.
A routine investigation escalates to FUBAR when one of the accused turns up dead, his body untouched but drained of blood. A pregnant college student is found, minus her ten-week fetus and internal organs. A mother and daughter are smothered in the nursery. The only link among victims is their wounds mirror the attacks of creatures that don’t exist: a vampiric witch, a revenant, a bogeyman.
Bodies make it a big case with bigger problems. Alex can live with that. Maybe it will keep her from jogging the streets at two in the morning or drunk-dialing her dead husband’s cell phone number. Then her only viable lead is killed and Alex is forced to accept that some myths... aren’t.
Finding the man responsible is easy.
Killing him and his creations won’t be.
Surviving may be impossible.
First 250 Words:
Sometimes it all came down to the gun you chose. SIG Sauer P226 .40 S&W or Rossi .357 Magnum revolver with a six-inch barrel. I’d picked the SIG. I should have gone with the Rossi.
I sneaked a look at the battered clock on the wall of the loading dock. My dealer was only five minutes late. Not so long I worried he’d had second thoughts. I needed him to show soon, though, before my unease fermented into something harder to conceal.
“He’s late,” Mike said.
I shrugged. Played like I didn’t care, hadn’t noticed, and didn’t want to hiss at Mike for his observational skills.
“You watch the game last night?” Mike asked.
A Sox fan. God help me. I’d kept hundreds of mindless details straight for six months but couldn’t for the life of me remember whether Kate Campbell gave a crap about the national pastime. “I don’t follow baseball.”
“They play the Yankees tomorrow.”
“Well, I do hate the Yankees.”
“Who doesn’t?” Mike dropped the remnant of his cigarette to the floor of the dock and crushed it under his shoe.
Kate Campbell was a vegetarian who sold lattes at an internet cafe and lived in a dump near Temple University. A fugitive from the United Kingdom for alleged involvement in a train derailment in North West England, she fancied herself a modern day Guy Fawkes.
I was done pretending to be Kate Campbell, the annoying twat.
Entry Nickname: The Swimmer
Title: What the Water Gave Us
Word count: 94,000
Genre: Adult Social Science Fiction
Tia Sawyer is one hell of a good traitor. She’s a marksman who won’t shoot to kill, a money-launderer who gives her profits away, and worst of all a dangerous rebel leader married to the Prince invading her country. To her people she’s a disgraced renegade, to the Empire she’s a liability, but both will need her for their very survival.
Stuck on a planet devastated by disease, mankind has united under the rule of a royal family whose blood provides the only viable treatment, but one nation resists. They refuse to sell out their sovereignty for access to doses.
Prince Anton’s intentions are good—defy his own government to eradicate the disease once and for all—but his arrival throws Tia’s life into chaos sparking a war in her already tumultuous homeland. Tia’s countrymen will stop at nothing to protect their freedom, Anton will risk his life and other’s to end the spread of the horrific virus, while Anton’s uncle, the Tsar Regent will bring the full weight of an empire to ensure that neither succeed.
The only hope of diplomacy rests with Tia, but she has not spoken to Anton in ten years, and a reconciliation threatens to expose secrets from their past that could topple the empire and destroy the delicate peace the rest of the world enjoys. To save herself and those she cares about Tia must decide whose side she’s on and overcome her own broken spirit before all are lost.
First 250 words:
Prince Anton watched his cousins’ indifference as their blood became public property, siphoned out by attending nurses as they laid in a row at the Ministry of Health. This had been their routine since birth.
His cousins shared loud jokes to pass the time, but Anton now closed his eyes and mouth. This gift of his blood was the only message he wished to convey, and the only sights he felt he had earned played inside his head—the wretched cries and contorted, bloody features of the dying. Even immunity was no protection against the emotional toll of the Kappa Violenti virus. No matter how much blood they gave it was never enough.
The laughter stopped, all levity sucked from the room. Anton knew before he opened his eyes who had entered; his uncle, the Tsar Regent Elias Verkov, slinked under the doorframe like a serpent too large for its cage. “So none of you felt it pertinent to tell me you were giving extra doses?” Elias asked. The cousins replied with the acquiescent silence of a shamed pet. Elias's words had been for them all, but his eyes were only on Anton as he knelt beside him.
“This is our normally scheduled time,” Anton offered with false confidence.
Elias wore a warning, the slit of a smile on his unnaturally taught face. “My dear boy, you’ve been leading your poor cousins astray. This blood is our power, and you fritter it away to foreign parasites. Did you think I wouldn’t find out about Sunderland? And you think you can do the same in Levant?”