Tag Archives: urban fantasy

WIP Sneak Peek

The following is a sneak peak of the WIP for the next Braeden Wolf paranormal/cyberpunk book. Yes, I am working on one.

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they ask themselves just how they got to where they were.

For me that day came in a grimy alleyway on a cold autumn night many years ago, wracked by tearing pains, alternating between shivering and sweating. The answer, when I could think straight, was obvious. I had turned left when I should have turned right. A simple mistake, the most recent in a long line, but a critical one as mistakes go.

Rain was blowing in off the harbour, humping down hard across the city, whether the gleaming heart with its skyscrapers or the sprawling slums that ringed it. I had been huddled up beneath a greatcoat in the lee of an overflowing skip bin, its garbage added to the accumulated detritus that swirled about, trying to avoid the worst of the weather as my body shudder; it wasn’t from the weather that I suffered that affliction.

Something ran across my foot; a rat, or worse. My foot kicked out instinctively and the animal squeaked as it shot through the air, impacting on the far wall with a solid thud. The sound of cracking bones carried to me. Normally such a thing would have gone unmarked but my hearing had been swimming in and out, hypersensitive to the least change, adding to the pains that had torn at my mind.

The rat’s body fell to the ground and the fresh, sharp scent of warm blood rose in the air, a scent that should have been drowned out by the rain and the stench of garbage.

It awoke in me a terrible, tearing hunger, ripping through my innards. It called out for release, to simply give in, to succumb and seek the sustenance to take the edge of it.

Except I didn’t know what it was that I had desired, and all I could do had been to whimper and try and fight it off. Each minute I resisted though made the hunger worse.

A shaking hand reached into a pocket and from it I removed a small flask. Trembling hands fumbled at the lid with difficulty but then it came off and I took a quick swig of the burning liquid within, one that scraped the throat clean and brought water to the eyes. It took some of the edge off the hunger though it didn’t last long, and by that stage the flask was all but empty.

My eyes had remained shut the whole time. Like my hearing I had no control over my vision that took in light and magnified it tenfold, even the softest of light lancing through my eyes and into my brain.

My hands gripped the top of my head, squeezing tightly as if it would contain the tearing pain in my head. My hands had slid down across my face, and in my pain and misery I had scratched and torn at it. The skin would not break beneath my nails, and nor could any blood be drawn.

Something was badly wrong with me and at the time I had no idea what, nor could I remember what had gone before. My head hammered back into the wall, trying to drive the pain out.

A burning hunger I could not satiate, hypersensitivity of sight and hearing and smell and skin that would not break. What had I become?


Big News

I’m getting published.

Epublished that is.

Lazy Day Publishing have decided that they like my first two short Braeden Wolf novellas, A Pocket Full of Spells and The Seduction of Honey, and have signed me on.

We are looking at a release date of December 1st but there is plenty of work to be done first.

It also means I really need to get stuck in to building up this site as well, getting it up to scratch ready for the release.

Busy, busy times ahead.

Characters: Braeden Wolf

For this first look at the characters of The City it is best to let Braeden Wolf describe himself in his own words.

Who am I?

I could give a long psychobabble answer asking who any of us are, but I inevitably return to the same answer; I am a collection of bad habits marinated in whiskey.

The man I call Squire is both more and less generous in his description.

He says I am an unrepentant womaniser, an abuser of alcohol and combat drugs, and of my body, that I consort with the wrong types, dabble in hexes, am cynical and sarcastic and a remorseless killer.

And those are my good points.

Yet for that he is not completely wrong.

What can I say, I like the ladies and the ladies like me. There is no crime in that. Not just human ladies, but vamps and sirens and even the aos sí. I don’t dabble with succubi; there are some lines I won’t cross, and succubi are a sure trip to the black. It is a dangerous life I live and I try to live it to the full while I can, whether that be wine, woman or song.

I think of myself as a realist, not a cynic, but there are days the line blurs. I’m not exactly alone in this regards; you’d never be an idealist, not in this city, with its crime and corruption and all the darkness it contains.

As for being a remorseless killer, I only kill those that deserve it. There are many monsters in this city, and some of them are even human. Few others worry about what happens to the teeming masses; I’m not saying I care, but someone needs to do something; my reasons for doing so are my own. I don’t hunt down all monsters; some, like the trolls, are just trying to live their lives like anyone else.

My background?

That is a long and unnecessary story.

Needless to say I was born in The City, I’ve lived my life in The City and I will die in the City.

I am an Incanter, though there are others more powerful and with greater finesse, or both, than me. My advantage is that I am willing to fight dirty, a street brawler, willing to use hexes, guns, knives, feet, hands, teeth, elbows and anything else that comes to hand. Most who use magic incantations tend to think of themselves are more refined, and that gives me an edge.

That, and the bioengineered and cybernetic augments I have. Tin eyes, tin ears, wired reflexes, muscle grafts, synthweave to bind the bones and skin, the usual suspects.

There is one gift I have that is unique; many Incanters have gifts, difficult to near impossible to replicate. Mine is the ability to know, on sight, what anyone is, whether human, troll, vamp, demon, aos sí, zombie or any other, disguised or not, even if I have not met their kind before. Knowledge is power, and that knowledge has saved my life on more than one occasion.

That is me in a nutshell, one of those mad disreputable types out walking the mean streets, hard and dangerous.

Be sure to say hello.

Eye on the Blogs: Snark and Urban Fantasy Pet Peeves

From time to time I plan to link to interesting blog posts that I’ve come across, and sometimes comment on how they impact my writing, The City, or me.

Nicole Peeler, over at Borders Blog, posted an article on snark and self-depreciation, after having become known as someone for ‘snark’. I tend to suffer from it from time to time, and the plan is for some of it to rub off on Braeden in the stories – but there is a fine line to be trod between snark and being a jackass. The answer, according to Nicole? Self-depreciation.

While over at Literary Escapism, Abigail of All Things Urban Fantasy made a guest post about the Top Ten Urban Fantasy Peeves for writers of urban fantasy and the paranormal. Well worth the read, if only to know what not to include. And number one on the list? Random and unwarranted sex breaks.

The Paranormal: Monsters of The City

Humans, while the majority, are not the only people to live openly in The City. The rest are disparagingly, and normally not to their faces, refereed to as monsters.

The most common are the aos sí and the trolls, but they also include vampires, zombies, shapeshifters and demons of various ilks, such as succubi and imps.

The aos sí, better (and wrongly) known as the sidhe are the visible face of the paranormal world. Taller and fairer than men, they are also deeply attuned to the world of magic and near all have a decent understanding of incantations. Devious, unpredictable and willful, they easily fit into the world of men. The various aos sí families often have fingers in numerous businesses, both legitimate and otherwise. The current mayor of The City is one of the aos sí.

The trolls are a hardy, hard working people and while as numerous as the aos sí are rarely seen. Most live and work in Docklands, in its factories and industries, only coming out after dark. Naturally resistant to the effects of arcane magic, they are nonetheless highly adept at working it into devices, the only with the knowledge how, and are well know for the steel of their blades. Few mess with trolls, as if you mess with one you mess with the whole family.

Vampires thrive in the environs of The City, partially because they are the peak predators in the urban jungle, but mostly because in the dark streets they are seldom troubled. A few more missing bodies go unremarked, no matter the cause of death. Most drift into a life in the criminal underworld, as pimps, loan sharks, enforcers and bosses. They do on occasions come into conflict with the aos sí, for no other reason than conflicts of interest. When an aos sí-vampire war erupts, the smart get out of the way.

Zombies are not a naturally occurring phenomena, only coming about by the work of magic, whether intentional or otherwise, on the corpses of the deceased. Individually they pose little threat, being slow near mindless creatures. Sometimes they come under the influence of a ghoul, a type of zombie with memories and intelligence, tormented by its existence. Packs of zombies led by ghouls show a marked increase in cunning, lurking in the sewers and abandoned buildings, seeking to add to their numbers.

The shapeshifters are not a single group, but encompass a variety of forms. Some of these are natural shapeshifters, the best know of which are werewolves, while others achieve their form changes through incantations. For the most they life lives of ordinary people, often keeping their nature hidden.

Demons are right at home in The City, with its violence, corruption and depravity. The worse it gets, the more they are drawn to it and the stronger they become. At first it was just imps, mischievous spirits trying to tempt mortals with offers of power, but they have been joined by succubi, sensuous women who seduced men – and woman – into depravity. They also have male counterparts, the inccubi, for those who prefer men. Rumours persist that more powerful demons have began to make an appearance as The City sinks deeper into depravity.

Augments and Upgrades

Augments are common in the world of The City. Most people have some form of augmentation to upgrade their bodies, to make them better. The most common form of this is cybernetics, replacing flesh with tech, though it can also include bioengineering and even arcane.

Not every one agrees with the concept of augments. There are those who can’t have them for medial reasons, those who oppose them for philosophical or religious reasons and those that are violently opposed to them, the Humanists. Humanists gangs think nothing of tearing the metal from your body given half a chance; they consider it saving your mortal soul from the demons of technology. When technophiles meet up with Humanists things get very messy.

Bioengineered Augments

Including such areas as genetic engineering, gene therapy and other technologies that are biologic rather than cybernetic augmentations. The most common type are muscle augments – vat grown muscles grated onto the body. It can also include antibodies and antitoxins and the ever popular bodysculpting.

Humanists are in dispute over such augments. Some claim it is permissible as it reflects the potentiality of the human body while others claim it is the child of demon tech and blasphemous to use.

Cybernetic Augments

There are a wide variety of augments that can come from cybernetics, the most basic and most important being the neuralware interface. It is a cybernetic device fused to the central nervous system that provides a link between flesh and tech and allows for the control by though of most other cybernetic devices.

These include; interface studs allowing for control of technological devices – like vehicles – via cable or wireless link; reflex boosts that amplify the speed of reactions and reflexes; cyberoptics or ‘tin eyes’ that can contain a number of modes such as low light, infrared, telescopic, vid-recorders, HUDs and so on; cyberaudio or ‘tin ears’ that can include radio/phone links, amplified hearing, sound dampeners and sound recorders.

Independent of the neuralware interface is synthweave, a synthetic nanite weave of metals and plastics that reinforces the bones and toughens the skin, making one less susceptible to injuries and broken bones.

Arcane Augments

Arcane augments mirror much of what is possible with cybernetics but are much less used for a few reasons.

Firstly they are self use only so only those who can master incantations can make use of them – and the most useful augments require powerful incantations. Secondly they are short lived and as such need renewing regularly. However they can work in conjunction with cybernetic augments, channeled through the cybernetics to in effect overclock them. Those both cybernetically enhanced and masters of incantations are very dangerous opponents.

Humanists have no problems with arcane augments and actively seek them out.

A Look At The World Of The City

The world of The City is both confusingly different and remarkably similar to what you would expect, all at the same time. People go about their lives, struggling to make ends meet. They go to work, watch vids of sport and popular shows, listen to music, fall in love, eat, drink and go to parties. But there are differences, some subtle, other not.

It is a world where the paranormal and the bleak, dark future crash together, where corporations rule and national governments are shadows of their former selves, where vampires and trolls and magic incantations clash with heavy metal cybernetics in the urban wilderness.

So how did it come to be like this?

There has always been the paranormal, lurking around the edges. People knew of it but seldom experienced it. There was a burgeoning of the paranormal at about the time the world was experiencing a futureshock. Cybernetic and biogenetic augments were starting to make an appearance on the common market. Governments were crumbling under economic, political and social turmoil, all brought about by the short sighted greed of not just the politicians but in most cases the voters themselves. Younger generations were bankrupted to pay for the wanton lifestyles of their elders, ad they were not happy.

Into this turmoil the megacorps emerged, bailing out destitute governments – for a cost naturally. Exemptions were made, then more, until it arrived at the stage where it was the corps calling the shots, ruling the world from their fortified skyscrapers and with their private armies, battling each other in clandestine wars for wealth and power. Hostile takeovers have a rather new and more literal meaning.

All this turmoil and upheaval coming at once produced a kind of shock. Cults and gangs and movements emerged. The paranormal became commonplace. There were opportunities to be had but at the same time great dangers.

And nowhere is this more evident than in The City.