Threads is my most complete work so far. I've put years of effort into it, and submitted it to many people for editing and review. I poured so much of myself into the characters of Jaas and Arico, and some of the secondary characters as well. It's my hope that if you start on this story (and if you manage to get all the way through it), you'll understand me a bit better.
Threads Part 1 Teaser
For more than three centuries, the ancient city of Vasiriah has been cut off from the rest of the world by a deadly magical barrier. Graduate mage and scholar Jaas Senneco finally finds a way through it, but quickly realizes she’s trapped.
There are hundreds more barriers inside absorbing her magic, forcing her to rely on wits and determination to survive. When Jaas allies with a local named Arico, it becomes clear that they must learn from each other. He's one of the few people who can pass through the barriers safely, a talent which could get him killed if discovered by the Sustained.
Together they're swept up in a plot for control of the city, encountering unending dangers: a relentless assassin, a monstrous giant, an inescapable spymaster. While fighting a guerilla war alongside dwarven allies, they must find crucial answers to free the city from the Sustained.
How could people be alive after all this time with no magic? Why can Arico cross the barriers while others can't? Will Jaas be able to escape before the city tears itself apart?
Threads Part 1 Excerpt
They’d barely gotten out of the gate when a bell began ringing from inside the compound. “They know I’m missing!”
“Now we run,” he responded tersely. He hadn’t been kidding earlier. He really was fast. She could tell that he was slowing his pace so she could keep up.
Shouts rang out from both sides of the river, including what sounded like a command from behind her. It was too late, though. They were at the river. She took a deep breath as she jumped, hoping he knew what he was doing. Just before they hit the water, a loud pop rang out from behind them, and a spray of blood hit her side and face. Arico grunted in pain as they both went under.
Jaas had no idea what had just happened, but remembered to keep her grip on his hand as she kicked her way to the surface. The water around them had already begun turning red, as the current pulled them along and down. He was losing a lot of blood.
“Downstream. Quick!” Arico gasped at her, barely keeping his head above water. This time, she pulled him as they moved together. More shouts came at them from both sides, and then-
-the water was just gone! Jaas gasped and looked around. Instead of the river, or the brick buildings or the guards, there was just an empty whiteness extending out from her in every direction!
There was no sign of Arico, either. The only other creature she could see was a small bird: turquoise, with a long black beak, staring back at her. Even the ground itself was gone—both she and the bird were ‘standing’ on empty space!
Hundreds of white tendrils were in sight, moving around her seemingly at random. As Jaas stared at them, they seemed to shift and move away from her and the bird all at once. They began slowing down again, just before-
-she tumbled to the ground, soaking wet.
The white space was gone as well, and now she was on a grassy hillside. And Arico was on the ground next to her. Jaas looked around in amazement and saw a small village off in the distance, and the city wall beyond it.
Jaas knew all about teleportation magic; she’d practiced it quite a bit back at the Academy. This was something else entirely, though. Her spells were instantaneous: one moment there and then another moment here. Jaas couldn’t explain what she’d just seen. Or how they’d gotten here. Somehow Arico had teleported them here without casting any spells at all! Wherever ‘here’ was.
A faint whistling noise was emanating from behind them, and Jaas could see another thin line on the ground where they’d arrived. Arico seemed to have intentionally rolled them both away from the line when they’d hit the ground. Most likely, it was another of the invisible barriers she’d found.
Mercifully, it seemed that the guards had been left behind, but Arico was still bleeding and clutching his side. He tried to get up briefly, but then slumped back down with a soft moan of pain. “My home,” he grunted, pointing downhill at a small building a good distance from the village. “Get my father. Bring him here.”
Click HERE to read Threads Part 1.
Threads Part 2
The original Threads book was about 285 thousand words. I was trying to emulate Robert Jordan a bit, and I obviously overdid it. That's why I broke it in two. I think it's a good stopping point, but I have to recommend you read Part 1 first, or you'll be lost in Part 2. If I get a publisher's attention, I might be persuaded to either reconnect them into one book, or smooth over the transition a bit. Only time will tell.
Threads Part 2 Teaser
It's only been a few weeks since Jaas arrived inside the sealed city of Patchwork, but she's already had a massive effect. The Sustained leaders want her captured alive, but the stra'tchi resistance movement is protecting her for the moment. Her friend Arico has denounced the Sustained Council publicly and is trying to rally support against them, but it's slow going. The leader of the Council sent someone to kill him, and the revelation of the assassin's true identity only raises more questions.
The resistance is rapidly becoming a revolution, with factions spilling blood all over the city. Mysterious forces like the Thornes and Cartwright have yet to take sides, and the dwarves have to keep their help invisible or risk triggering a massive retaliation. How long will it be until one of these groups ends up poisoning another entire village? What will the Council do if they start to lose control? Will Jaas be able to escape- not to survive, but to bring help back with her?
Threads Part 2 Excerpt
“Shaana told me where you’d gone,” Velya spoke again from the wall, “but she couldn’t tell me why. What could you possibly hope to gain from this? A city-wide extermination?”
“Not extermination,” Ta’anu said hotly. “Transformation! Once the Waters have been tainted, the Council’s grip on the stra’tchi will be broken! Everyone will be in the same situation, and every patch will have to dig a well to survive! We have you to thank for that, Harbinger!” He added, clearly talking to Jaas. “If you hadn’t told us about wells in the first place, we never could have done this!”
Arico swung his leg over the strut, and heaved himself up on top of it. The ramp was only a dozen or so spans above, and climbing from here should be easy. Staying unseen would be the tricky part. From below, Sabra was keeping his massive bulk as still as possible. “What about the people downstream?” Velya continued. "They’ll die before they find out the Waters have been poisoned! Thousands of people, Ta’anu! Women and children celebrating the Aquunsaya! What about them?”
Ta’anu’s voice flattened. “An appropriate retribution. They destroyed Tellek patch. Now they’ll lose people too.”
“They’re innocent! They did nothing to you!”
“NO!” He shouted back at her. “There are no innocent Sustained, Velya! They’re propping up a system that’s committed mass murder! They could have stopped the Council from poisoning Tellek patch—from poisoning my mother! They could have forced the Council to find another way, but they didn’t. No, they’re all just as guilty as those they serve. And now they’re going to pay for it.”
There was a pause, and Arico stood still on the wooden strut. Apparently even Velya had been shocked by that outburst.
“You’re a family man, Ta’anu,” Jaas’ voice said gently, into the silence. “Velya told me about your wife and son. That’s why you’re doing this, isn’t it? Not for the stra’tchi everywhere, not even for vengeance on those who killed your mother. You’re doing this for your son! So that he’ll never know the pain that you felt when you heard about Tellek patch. So that he’ll never be taken away from you!”
“Think about what this will mean for him, though!” She continued intensely, and Arico kept climbing. He was just underneath the platform they were all standing on. He could even see some of them through the cracks between the wooden planks. “Even if you succeed, and the Sustained are all destroyed! When he learns just how many people you killed to keep him safe? When he’s old enough to understand, what will he do? How will he look at you then? Could he ever respect you, or love you, knowing what you’ve done?”
“At least he’ll be alive,” Ta’anu retorted. “Do you know how many other children haven’t been so lucky?” One of the struts under Arico’s foot gave a loud squeak.
Arico winced. Almost unwillingly, he looked up and saw Ta’anu looking back down at him through a crack in the landing. “Very clever, Harbinger,” he growled, and lifted his crossbow.
Click HERE to read Threads Part 2.
This was the first book I wrote, starting years and years ago. Because it's based on copyrighted material, the chances I'll ever get it published are pretty low. Still, I think you'll enjoy it, especially if you're a fan of the Stargate franchise.
For those of you who don't know what it is, here's all you need to know in 3 sentences: There's a bunch of ring-shaped things on thousands of different planets, and people can travel between them in just a few seconds. The galaxy is ruled by a parasitical alien race that uses humans as host bodies, slaves, and genetically modified soldiers called jaffa. A group of Air Force people based in Cheyenne Mountain use one of these rings to explore the galaxy and fight these aliens.
There. Now you know all you need in order to read the book.
For those of you who have watched the series, this book takes place during and after the events of Window of Opportunity, the most popular episode of ALL THE FRICKIN SERIES put together. Don't worry, I don't write in any of the main characters except for a 1-line cameo near the end. This is almost entirely from the perspective of characters I created myself.
Colonel Tony Marcus and his team are on a recon mission to another planet, when they’re suddenly cut off from Earth. Without support or intel from his superiors, Tony has to protect his people in a galaxy dominated by hostile aliens. He’s able to make contact with other teams that were also stranded off-world, working with them to find out what happened to Earth, and how to undo it.
Finding a way home while staying hidden from the supremely powerful Goa’uld is no easy task, and Tony has to recruit help from other planets. Most of these allies are primitive and eager, while some are technologically advanced but hesitant to get involved. Others are inscrutable even as they help, with their own agendas which might spell disaster for his people. When one of the most dangerous Goa’uld takes notice of his people, Tony is in a fight for his life just to stay one step ahead.
"Stand ready." Hargrove ordered softly, and he and Cayo took positions on both sides of the passage's exit, covering it with the lights attached to their guns. Suna herded the others into cover behind one of the broken machines and turned off her own tactical light.
Heavy footsteps came up the passage, and a creature of nightmare stepped out and into the light. It was tall, at least seven feet, and looked only vaguely human. Its bald head tapered back to a point, and pronounced horns jutted from its chin. Hargrove could also see a series of tattoos on the left side of its face, extending down its neck. Green, leathery skin could be seen through its tattered robes. As Hargrove realized what it was he was looking at, its eyes glowed.
"Take it down!" He called out by reflex, and he, Cayo, and Suna all opened up on it.
As they fired, a shimmering wall of energy appeared in front of the monster, absorbing shot after shot after shot. The plasma energy continued to impact and then dissipate, spreading out over the barrier, as they kept shooting.
"Hold your fire," he ordered, a little stunned. The creature gave him a predatory grin as Cayo and Suna reluctantly stopped as well.
Then it raised an arm towards him and he saw light and heard a growing hum come from the elongated metal glove it wore.
Before he could move, the air in front of the glove seemed to 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘤𝘵, and a compression wave blasted out towards him. The impact was incredible. He was thrown backwards like a rag doll, and felt rather than heard himself hit the ground. Bits of rock from the edge of the passage showered him, and he could hear yells of pain from his people.
His vision failed him for a moment, and when he could see again, the creature was leaning over him and reaching down towards him with its other clawed hand. It took him by the throat and lifted him up off of the ground, as if he weighed nothing. He grabbed its arms to keep from choking. Despite himself, he could feel panic creeping up in the corners of his mind.
[Unimpressive,] it sneered, if such an expression could be recognized on its demonic face.
Because Alliance is based on copyrighted material, I don't want to risk posting it on my website. Instead I put it on Fanfiction.net. You can use the link below to go to this website's forums to discuss it, but if you want to read it, you'll need to go to Fanfiction.net. Links are below to both.
Click HERE to discuss the novel on the Forum.
Code is modern sci-fi, a significant departure from what I'd written previously. I think I wrote it mostly in response to learning just how crazy we've all gotten in this so-called age of enlightenment.
Vicky Brandt is a dedicated bioengineer, designing pain-relief implants for a medical supply company. When she finds out her employers used her designs to control and effectively torture people, she reaches out to her old college friends Amir and Tom for help. They get the media and legal system involved, but they’re unable to control the spread of her technology.
Determined to find a better way, Vicky quits her job to start her own research. Amir’s medical expertise and Tom’s connections in politics and business are both necessary, and the three of them strive to develop a new implant. This new code device is self-regulating, allowing its users to live confidently, knowing that the code will keep them from doing anything they know is wrong. Unfortunately that also makes it controversial, and powerful corporations will do anything to alter her work for their own ends.
How would a viable behavior-altering implant affect our society? How many people would be tempted to get a code, knowing how much it could improve their lives? How many others would react with fear and mistrust, as change is always greeted? This story explores the results of the code as well, with the beginning of a new, and entirely different society of people.
Amir watched with fascination as Tina finagled the information from the truck driver. Even though she was talking with the driver over the phone, and even though she wasn't a part of Etani's corporate structure, she was friendly, she was disarming.. and she was effective.
It seemed she had been right. The driver hadn't been told the details of the box he'd mailed, so he obviously didn't know it was meant to be a secret. Tina convinced him that there had been a mixup at the office, and she just needed to confirm the address he had used, to make sure it was right. A minute or two later, she handed Amir a scrap of paper with an address on it, and called Vicky again using the burner.
While she updated Vicky, Amir looked up the address, and felt a sense of gloom settle over him. "It's a prison," he said despondently.
"What?" Tina was at his side in a moment, and then grimaced. "I thought that address looked familiar. That's no ordinary prison. It's Bellstock Penitentiary!"
Amir gave her a curious look, and she explained. "In 2005 a Supreme Court ruling cut down on the number of federal supermax prisons. Most facilities were ordered to downgrade their security measure to meet standard security for normal prisons. Unfortunately, the ruling didn't really have any teeth. A lot of places kept almost all of the little boxes they stick people in for 23 hours a day. Bellstock is one of them. It is a supermax, if not in name. A buddy of mine at the Crime desk has done multiple stories based on what goes on in there."
"Oh, God!" Vicky's voice filtered up through the phone.
Amir felt a stab of concern. "Vicky? Are you all right?" Images of Etani security people colluding with supermax prison officials hauling her off into the night flashed through his head.
"What? Oh. Yeah, I'm fine," she said after a moment, and he let out a relieved breath. "I'm looking at the altered BT102 schematics that Andrew sent me. I designed the circuitry for pain management in extremities. It was meant to cut off nerve impulses for a few hours, to help patients sleep. That explains why each BT102 has a radio receiver. Basically, you'd turn on a remote, and your aching arm or leg would just fall asleep, and you wouldn't feel the pain for a while. But what if they were redesigned for.. prison control? With some minor adjustments, a device like this could be used to torture a prisoner with the push of a button!"
Click HERE to read full novel.
I've long believed that there's much more to this world than what we can see, and what science can explain. Defining these things in religious terms is questionable, but I can see why people do it. In a way, that's what inspired me to create this story.
When she stumbles across evidence of an apparently ageless man, photographer Petra Hildebrand takes it upon herself to look into the matter. She befriends Didi Halstaff, someone who’s been investigating the same person for much longer. Together they track this man, 'Darius', through southern Vancouver. When they’re captured by some of Darius’ enemies, Petra is attacked and nearly killed by something that she can't identify.
Petra finds herself thrust into a world beyond anything she could have imagined. Invisible, intangible creatures called fades are suddenly aware of her, and some of them see her as a threat. Darius and other members of his organization train her, ultimately so that she can help keep the peace between humanity and the many fade factions. What drives these beings? Why are they so afraid of her, and what kind of destruction could they cause if the peace should fail?
When Petra woke, she was in yet another strange room. This one was much more modern, except for the lighting. A single gas lamp flickered at her from next to the door, illuminating the white walls. The room was square, about five meters on a side, and utterly empty except for the cot she was lying on.
Anxiously, she got up. At least her headache was gone, and she wasn't trembling anymore. So far so good. When she tried to gauge her breathing though.. she realized she wasn't breathing at all!
Hastily, Petra put two fingers to her neck. She didn't have a pulse either! After a moment she willed herself to breathe, and took in a long, ragged sequence of air. Then, torn between horror and wonder, she held it. She had no watch, and there was no clock in here, but she could tell the passage of time. The lamp continued to flicker as she kept going, feeling no pressure at all to exhale!
"What have I gotten myself into?" She asked herself, finally letting out a breath. At least she could still speak. Apparently the urge to inhale before speaking was still hers.
That brought up another question, and she looked down at her arms. From the outside, she didn't look any different. She had no pulse, but she could still see veins in her hand. Her hand was still warm to the touch. The blood was still there, but it wasn't flowing. What the hell had they done to her??
Click HERE to read full novel.
Despite all of our social problems, humanity continues to advance technologically at an impressive rate. The rise of social media has spawned multiple concerns about privacy, freedom of speech and the ethical use of a platform. From the creation of weaponized memes, to bots influencing our society, to the scarily realistic new deepfake technology, our understanding of what is true or not is being quickly eroded.
This story is mean to address some of these concerns, using a fictional technology as a conduit. While it doesn't dive into the world of online social media exactly, it does touch on how these privacy issues affect our everyday lives. Oh, and it's a sci-fi-ish murder mystery/spy thriller as well, so there's that.
A new type of handheld video camera has been distributed, free of charge, to every family in America and the rest of the world. This device is special, though. It's called an exciter, and it uses a previously undiscovered technology to record and play back three-dimensional images!
Margo uses her exciter in her work as a private investigator in Philly. When a new client hires her to look into the death of his mother, she's amazed to learn that the woman was actually the inventor responsible for creating the first generation of exciters. When she finds out that her client Tin was lying about his identity as well, Margo becomes determined to dig up the truth. Together, she and her tech-savvy friend Beb strike an uneasy alliance with this 'Tin', to look into Haldar's death, and the company she worked for.
What crime would be so dire that a powerful company like Aldwin-Farrow Industries would be willing to kill to keep it hidden? Why did Jia Haldar work so hard to keep most of her inventions hidden from them? And what is Tin's real connection to her, if he's not really her son? The three of them are swept up into a whirlwind of corporate intrigue, criminal misuses of this new technology, and a mind-bending secret about the exciters. One which, if Jia's recordings are to be believed, could change the very nature of the world.
Margo recognized him right away when he stepped into the prison noncontact visiting area. He was a mass of scars and tattoos, most of which weren't on the mug shot she'd seen. He'd gotten some work done over the past years it seemed. Booker's gaze panned the people at the various booths, his eyes skipping right over her as if she weren't there. Then, slowly, he focused on her. Giving her an insolent look, he sat down across from her and took the phone handle. "What do you want?"
Not an ideal start, but not surprising either. "Mr. Frank, I'm Margo Patsulas. I'm a private investigator, hired to look into the death of Jia Haldar."
His eyes narrowed briefly. "Jia's dead?"
For a moment, Margo was at a loss. She'd been so invested in Jia's final years that it had somehow skipped her mind she wasn't that well-known. Even her ex-husband might have missed it. "Yes, she died ten days ago, near her home in Philly. I'm sorry; I thought you knew."
"Then you're stupid," he said snidely, gesturing to the room. "Does it look like we get a lot of news in here?"
Margo bit back a harsh response, forcing a smile. Beb would probably have jumped down his throat at that. It was another reason Margo had wanted her to stay behind. "I'm interviewing her friends and family, trying to narrow down the suspects. Obviously you're not one of them. A suspect, I mean."
That had come out chatty, even nervous, but he didn't seem to care. "How did it happen?"
"She fell from a fair distance, and broke her neck. The police think it was an accident, but I was hired to make sure of that."
He grunted. "Whoever hired you was right. She was always steady on her feet—couldn't get enough of those damn walks of hers. At least she could cook."
Margo again had to work to keep her face smooth. "Can you think of any enemies she might have had, from work or otherwise? Maybe from back in California when she lived over there?"
Booker nodded slowly. "It's a long list—she could be a real bitch sometimes. Maybe it was one of her egghead friends from Berkeley. I caught some of them hitting on her back in the day."
Better than actually hitting her like you did, Margo thought sourly.
He went on before she could say anything. "Jia was always more trouble than she was worth, right from the start. I got rid of her years ago, and I've been better for it. Why do you care so much, anyway? Who hired you?"
"That was going to be my next question. My client is something of a mystery. He calls himself Tin."
Margo had seen people get visibly angry before, flushing red or trembling with rage. This was next-level. Booker shot to his feet: his whole body suddenly tense. His eyes had widened and his fists were clenched shut. His mouth worked wordlessly for a moment before he spoke. "We're done here." At that, Booker turned away, back towards the door.
"Mr. Frank. Mr. Frank!" Margo called after him, abandoning the phone handle. "Who is he? What do you know about him?"
"More than I ever wanted to!" He said viciously back at her, pausing for a moment. "You want to know who killed Jia? You should ask your damn client."
Another few seconds and he was gone, with the entire room staring at her from both sides of the glass. Wordlessly, Margo stood and went back to the waiting room. As one of her childhood heroes might say, curiouser and curiouser.
Click HERE to read.
I'm pushing ahead on the sequel to Threads: Depths. It won't be as long as the original story, but I hope you'll find it compelling.
I've got a main storyline written up for the sequel to Code, though I don't have a name for it yet. It takes place in Scheria and Elysia, both renamed by now, about thirty years after the events in Code.
I'm also working on a sort of trilogy. One story about a human colony being started on another planet, and another about an alien species on their own world. Then a third book taking place thousands of years later, when they start interacting for the first time. I've had a lot of fun coming up with the biology and psychology of the alien race. If you're interested, look up Vernor Vinge's book A Fire Upon the Deep. In it he describes a race of creatures called Tines. That was a big influence on my sci-fi writing, and I tried to come up with a comparatively interesting species.