Fault Zone Uplift: My latest published Super Holly story

My short story, What Goes Up, is published in Fault Zone, a publication of the SF Peninsula branch of the California Writers Club. Super Holly Hansson saves the day several times in one day, but finds something she cannot save. I give many thanks to Laurel Anne Hill, who worked super-hard to put together this anthology, and who edited my writing into a story worthy of Fault Zone. Writers, editors are your friends.

Here is the start of “What Goes Up.”

The six-foot-tall, apricot-shaped computer on the auditorium stage glowed brighter. Was the thing about to go KA-BOOM, like old sci-fi mechanical brains computing love to the last digit? Super Holly Hansson gritted her teeth harder, tapped the console’s keyboard, and motioned toward Chris Jobz, the Apricot Computer CEO.

“Would you please hand me your tablet,” Holly said, “and get your butt behind the blast shields with your employees?” Too bad she couldn’t pitch that big yellow- orangish monster into the ocean. Too dangerous, according to Chris. “You’re not bomb- proof. I am.” So far… She swallowed hard.

Chris glanced in the direction of his staff, yet made no move to give Holly his tablet, as if he thought his lint-free black turtleneck was a supersuit. Arrogant but brave. He acted as if she could still channel superpowers into others, like she’d done to those comic book geeks months ago. She couldn’t do that anymore. Not even for a fellow geek.

“Miss Hansson, you need both hands and my help.” Chris shoved his Apricot tablet closer to Holly’s face. “You’re not an engineer.”

“I was a technical writer,” Holly said, “and this geek girl can read code.” But could she get through this in one piece? All those kids in the hospital would be so sad if she didn’t show up today. She typed faster, restraining her super-strength. Last year she’d

pulverized her favorite wireless keyboard. The shining apricot’s timer taunted her: 01:29, 01:28, 01:27…

“I know women can code. Forty percent of Apricot engineers are female,” Chris said. His eyes shot virtual daggers toward the smiling teen boy his employees restrained. “But if you don’t finish writing this Swoop code before that timer reaches zero, this Apricot will destroy the Internet.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Holly hissed as her fingertips tingled. “I suppose it was that kid’s bright idea to build a doomsday Apricot with a super-scalding keyboard.”

“Yes. Me. Crestley Smusher, to you.” The teen’s voice was nerdy, gleeful, and dripping with condescension. “It was a science project to put my highly intelligent, brightly smiling face upon every display on the planet. Upon the exact second of my eighteenth birthday, less than a minute from now. Except my superior code merged with inferior code from lesser engineers to form a nasty virus—”

“Shut up, Crestley,” Holly and Chris shouted. Holly tapped out the last line of code and turned. Behind thick, clear, plastic bomb shields, several angry Apricot geeks held Crestley’s arms. A six-foot-six and rather wide engineer got a stranglehold on the techie, whose smug smirk vanished. Speaking of vanishing, how much time had elapsed?

…00:03, 00:02, 00:01… The timer stopped. Just like on Stellar Trek, where the countdown always stopped at one. Whew! She’d done it.

Chris examined the Apricot’s display. “The Internet is saved.” He shook Holly’s hand. “Thank you.”

Such firm fingers he had, like a writer. “You’re welcome.”

“Auto destruct in fifteen seconds,” the monster Apricot voiced in a monotone. “Fourteen. Thirteen.”

“What the hell?” Chris sputtered. He and Holly whirled to face Crestley. Crestley smirked again. “All doomsday devices need a failsafe.”
“Nine. Eight.”
A failsafe? Time for Holly’s own brand of mind over matter. Crap. This was

gonna hurt. She reached out. A telekinetic hand—big, blue and transparent—shot from her own flesh-and-blood hand and engulfed the Apricot monster.

“Seven. Six.”

She punched her free fist upward. A telekinetic fist cannonballed out of it and bashed a hole in the ceiling.

“Five. Four.”
She flew through the roof and into the bright blue sky.
“Three.”
The Apricot campus shrank below her.
“Two.”
She held the doomsday Apricot in her telekinetic hand.
“One.”
Damn all arrogant nerds. Well, not all.
“Zero.”
KA-BOOOOOOM!

TO BE CONTINUED!

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Fremont CWC Book Sale on Dec 2, 1-4PM

The Fremont branch of the California Writers Club is having a book sale at the Fremont Main Library (2400 Stevenson Blvd, Fremont, CA), Saturday Dec 2, 1-4PM. We will have an open mic at 2, and I will perform one of my stories. Click the poster to download the book covers, and the time and location.

I will also sell and sign paperback copies of Super Bad Hair Day. I include a CD with the book, which contains artwork of my superheroine Super Holly Hansson from Batton Lash and other artists, AND ebook copies of the book, AND audio MP3 versions of the stories in the book, AND EVEN my two stories that won the audio division at the San Mateo County Fair this year and last year (“The Malevolent Mystery Meat” and “The Intellecta-Rhapsody”). All that for only 5 bucks! SUCH A DEAL!!!

A rubber cop beats me to the punch.

I watched The Flash tonight. They introduced Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man. Ralph has super-stretching powers. And he’s a cop.

My character, Bennie the Rubber Cop (based on Lennie Briscoe of Law & Order) also has super-stretching powers. (Long arm of the law, get it? Wink wink, nudge nudge?) I have not even published his short story yet (The Criminal Cupid, click to read an excerpt). Bennie does show up at the very end of my little Kindle book Super Bad Hair Day. He helps Holly deal with her… um… twin physical adjustments when her superpowers manifest.

Oh, well. My Bennie will stay rubbery. There is room for more than one stretchy cop in the world. Bennie is older. Wiser. World-weary-er. I just hope I can write more former-homicide cop wisecracks.

Demeatballization!

Last week, author Anne Fadiman spoke at Google about her memoir, The Wine Lover’s Daughter. One chapter was titled, “Demeatbllization.” Within is the following paragraph:

But, oh, how my father must have loved it all. The anachronistic formality of the gathering. The setting, a literary association to which George Santayana and T.S. Eliot had belonged. The leatherbound volumes of the shelves. The portraits of dead WASPs on the walls. The definitive demeatballization of his children.

Fine writing, but I, and thus my superheroine Super Holly Hansson, are more meatball. We are Swedish-American. I like Ikea chicken meatballs. I used to make meatballs, but all that raw ground meat and eggs really gets messy.

But “demeatballization” belongs Holly’s world. Say, a villain who zaps people with a meatball gun, encasing their heads with giant meatballs and making them into obedient meatball minions! But Holly’s love interest Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert would swoop to the rescue in his black-caped glory: “Hold still, Holly, my love! I shall restore you to your super beautiful self with my Intellecta-demeatballization-izer!”

I told Anne I really wanted to use that word. Anne signed my copy of her book, “To Dave, with the mandate: make ‘demeatballization’ a word on the lips of everyone at Google.” I will start with some comic book geeks and see how that goes.

Guest Blog: Emerian Rich’s book Dusk’s Warriors

My writer friend Emerian Rich asked me to post for her book today. I did a reading at a kid’s birthday party this evening, or I would have posted earlier. But it ain’t midnight yet! Take it away, Emerian! (P.S. I feel for her. I also get the ‘It’s a book not a comic’ thing.)

With all the excitement over comics and their spinoffs like The Walking Dead and Preacher, I’ve recently been asked what comic my vampire series is most like. Well, for now let’s leave the issue with how wrong this is to ask a fiction writer (It’s a book not a comic damnit!) and go on to the pressing question.

Of all the comics I’ve read over the years, I would say it’s most like a hybrid of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Garth Ennis’s Preacher: Gone to Texas, and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire comic-zations.

My vampires start in the real world: San Francisco, England, Rio, Texas, and Alaska. They drink blood, but they aren’t overly gorey. At the end of the first book, they find out about their origin and end up in a world much like ours which they refer to as Heaven.

In this new sequel, they start out in the Heaven as gods who can conjure, create, and affect the lives of people here on Earth. Dusk—the goddess of the time between Day and Night—sends her warriors to Earth to battle the devil, whom they thought was dead for good. They were wrong.

So if you like dark urban fantasy with a splash of heaven, hell, and conjurers, you will like Dusk’s Warriors. Are their vampires? Yes! And four different kinds, but there is also a trip into Hell, a look into Heaven, and a race around Earth in this action-packed fiction book. And hey, if you know a good comic artist, send them my way.

Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

Heaven has opened up and welcomed the vampires of Night’s Knights into a new reality. As they struggle to find their place in their new world, trouble brews on Earth.

Demon servant, Ridge, is causing havoc by gathering up all the souls on Earth that have been touched by immortality. When he injures one of the Night’s Knights crew, he launches a war between the vampires of Heaven, the Big Bad in Hell, and a mortal street gang of vigilante misfits.

Will Julien, Markham, and Reidar be able to defeat the evil that’s returned, or will they once again need Jespa’s help?

Praise for Dusk’s Warriors:

“All hail, the queen of Night’s Knights has returned! Emerian Rich’s unique take on vampires delights my black little heart.” ~Dan Shuarette, Lilith’s Love

“A world of horror with realistic characters in a fast paced thriller you won’t be able to put down.” ~David Watson, The All Night Library

Praise for Night’s Knights:

“Fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining.” ~Mark Eller, Traitor

“Emerian brought the Vampire Novel back from the dead.” ~C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder

Available now at Amazon.com in print and eBook

https://www.amazon.com/Dusks-Warriors-Nights-Knights-Vampire/dp/1544628803

Emerian Rich is an artist, horror host, and author of the vampire series, Night’s Knights. She is the hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, HorrorAddicts.net. Under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal, she writes the musical romance series, Sweet Dreams and she’s the Editorial Director for the Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

I blew up a puppy!

At an open mic a couple weeks ago, a lady liked my performance enough that she asked me to perform at her daughter’s birthday party. So I’m writing (now editing) a short story starring Holly’s cute little fangirl Kittygirl (the eight year old with kittycat powers). I titled the story, “The Sinister Sugar Rush!” Here is an excerpt.

The skinny lunch lady laughed. “YAH HAH HAAAA! Go ahead, Super Holly, I’d love to see you go boom!”

Super Holly hugged herself, trying to slow down, but she still vibrated like a paint shaker.

Kittygirl and Lily gulped and said together, “Did you say, ‘Boom?'”

The big lunch lady smiled super-mean. “Yeah. All these bratty kids who ate our super-frosting will reach critical mass in a couple of minutes. Allow us to demonstrate with this cute little puppy!”

The skinny lady had a puppy in one hand and a cupcake in the other. “Here, puppy, have a treat!”

Kittygirl’s face got cold. “Don’t eat it!”

But the puppy gobbled up the cupcake! It squirmed into a blur, went “ARFARFARFARFARFARFARF,” and blew up: POW!

That’s right, I blew up a puppy! MOO HAHAHAHAHAAA!!!

new art: Super Holly is Derfed!

At Alternative Press Expo, I met author and artist Derf Backderf (check out his website at www.derfcity.com). Derf has been in the comic story business for decades. He is even-keeled and a nice guy. I talked with him and learned from him. Some of his advice for writers: younger girls are a big audience, and floppies (that’s what he called comic books) are not a great market so do graphic novels.

I bought two of Derf’s books, which I read… no, I devoured! My Friend Dahmer is about Derf going to high school with Jeffrey Dahmer. Yes, THAT Jeffery Dahmer. It was creepy, fascinating, touching, unflinching truthful, and horrifying: Dahmer’s path from troubled teen to serial killer, ending with him picking up his first victim, a hitchhiker. That death is not shown, but you know. Derf drew a Super Holly sketch in the book I bought. That was nice of him, that was outside his usual subject matter.

Trashed is about Derf’s former job as a garbage man. I read this yesterday when I was at a Toyota service center having a strut repaired. I laughed out loud at and with the working stiffs toughing out the most gut-churning grossest job in the world. (I did not look around to see if anyone was looking at me funny when I laughed.) This book has the best barroom insult ever thrown by a liberal. This book is well-researched, and you will never look at a garbage bin the same way ever again.

I also got a sketch from Joel Stokes (facebook and twitter). I bought Joel’s Daily Diary and Rogues. Fun reads, but I wish I could find a link where to buy them! Joel, if you know, let me know and I will post a link.