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!!!

Sweetpea reads my book!

For an upcoming live performance of a couple of my Super Holly short stories (details coming!), a fellow writer asked me to take more photos of me, the author, reading to one of my cousin’s dogs. Tucker, the black dog heading my website, was not cooperative (just wanted to lie down and rest his old bones), so I read to squirmy little Sweetpea. Sweetpea’s light coloring and expressive face made for some decent photos.

Will be at BayCon tomorrow selling my little Super Holly book and CD

I will be at a table in the dealer room with a few local authors. I will also go to a panel or two. If you are going, stop by. The table will have a lot of books on it, one book cover will show an irritated superheroine in a barber chair.

The San Mateo Marriott is at 1770 S Amphlett Blvd, San Mateo, CA.

Fremont Book Signing Saturday May 13

This Saturday, May 13, from 11am to 4pm, the Fremont Writers Club will have a book signing at Round Table Pizza, 37480 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA. We will sell books, like my Super Bad Hair Day book with a CD containing superheroine artwork and my audio stories. We will do open mic readings, and I shall PERFORM one of my stories! Probably my latest audio story, The Intellecta Rhapsody; it won first prize at this year’s San Mateo Country Fair Literary Arts Contest. (The background music is the Hungarian Rhapsody: Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, and Tom & Jerry all danced to that tune, so I add Super Holly Hansson to that list.)

Book Signing May 13!

Mark your calendar. On May 13, 2017 10am-4pm, at Round Table Pizza, 37480 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA, authors from the Fremont Area Writers Group and I will eat pizza and sell books. My book is the Createspace printed version of my superheroine stories, Super Holly Hansson in Super Bad Hair Day! This book comes with a CD containing:

  • ebook files: Kindle, epub, PDF.
  • Super Holly artwork from Batton Lash and other artists.
  • Audio versions of my stories: hear me read with a musical score!

At Round Table on May 13, you can likely see me and the other writers do open mic readings! Eat pizza! Buy books! Have authors sign the books! Watch authors doing readings, or as I call it, open mic opera! And especially, meet local authors, storytellers, and poets.

I will be at the Fremont Book Signing on Saturday!

FAW POSTER LIBRARY BOOK SIGNINGI believe one should announce events about a week before, then a day before. I am a little late on the day before. But I will be at the Fremont Area Writers book signing and sale from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016 in the Fukaya Room of the Fremont Main Library at 2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont, California, at Stevenson Boulevard and Paseo Padre Parkway. In the photo, I am the guy at the top, in the middle.

There will be several writers there from the Fremont branch of the California Writers Club. We will sell books and do open mic readings. I intend to perform.

I hope I sell books. I spent this week making audio files of my three stories. I made a CD for each Createspace book I had printed, on which I burned ebooks (mobi, pub, PDF), some of Batton Lash’s cool Holly artwork, and my audio readings (with some nice royalty free music) of the short stories Super Bad Hair Day, The Poet and the Supersplainer, and a preview (Chapter Zero) of The Comic Book Code. Super Holly is pretty busy!

P.S. I might have to leave a little early to pick up my cousin at the airport. If you are coming, try to get there well before 3.

P.P.S. (August 7 edit): I sold 2 books. But I have more to learn about sales. Like right after I finish my INCREDIBLE open mic performance, I should make it REALLY clear that the CD included with the book includes three audio story files with neat musical scores. I also had to leave early to pick up my cousin at the airport, and that might have cut into sales. I’ll ask how the others did next time I see them.