Tag Archives: Fantasy

New Release: For the Love of Death

Death has a crush on a mortal and there will be hell to pay…

Someone or something is killing musicians in a ritualistic fashion.  The FBI is investigating me because my cases dealing with magic and things that mortals aren’t meant to deal with don’t make for clean reports.  My old partner doesn’t trust me any more and my new partner isn’t read in on all the crazy magic stuff.

All that I could take, except my guardian angel is distracted by the killer’s latest target.  It gets worse than that, because that distraction might just be something more.  He’s falling for her, and if I can’t protect her from the killer, he might just Fall for real.  So I’ve got to buckle down and find the killer… for the Love of Death.

https://amzn.to/3BRwYJS

For the Love of Death Snippet 2

Find Snippet 1 here.

In scoping out the bar, I hadn’t even noticed a pair of drunks who’d been snoring in their drinks.  As Amanda went for the jar, the two of them popped up from their table, any pretense of drunken stupor gone, drawing submachine guns from inside their coats.

The bartender had already brought up a saiga shotgun, and I was drawing my pistol aimed at him, even as Sam snatched up a heavy beer mug and threw it hard.

The mug struck the end of the bartender’s shotgun and spun it around just as he squeezed the trigger.  The shotgun blast caught both of the fake-drunks: a heavy slug ripping through the back of the one, out his chest, and into the front of the other, both of them tumbling, opening fire in death with their sub-guns, the roar of gunfire deafening in the small space.

Sam’s hand came down on my shoulder and he spun me around, the world seeming to slow as he let me see a bit of how he perceived the world.

I could see the gunfire from the two dying men scythe into a group at a booth to my side, bullets from the dying men cutting through the three people there.  Any horror I might have felt was stilled by a combination of Sam’s perfect vision and the realization that all three in that booth were armed, weapons falling from their hands as they, too died.

My partner was still in the process of grabbing for the fence who still had the urn or vase or whatever it was clutched in his arms.  At the sound of gunfire, Amanda Ashburn transformed her grab into a dive to the floor.  At the far end of the bar, the two patrons who’d been trying to get the bartender’s attention had drawn weapons, too.  Seriously, is no one in here what they seem to be?

Under other circumstances, I would have gone for cover myself, but Sam’s hand held me in place like an iron bar.  I wasn’t sure if he was simply that confident of protecting me or if he just  wanted me to watch his handiwork.

The two pistoleers at the end of the bar were shooting at Amanda, the bartender, and maybe at me.  Sam didn’t even move, he just smirked at them as the bartender, still spinning from the impact, continued his spin as he fired off the rest of his magazine, one shot blasting the top off a beer tap, spraying both men in the face and throwing their aim off.

The bartender’s third shot caught one of the men in the throat and sent him backwards, while the fourth shot caught the other in the chest.  The bartender’s fifth shot went into a beer keg, blowing the top off and sending the beer tap rocketing back into his face, snapping his head back and dropping him back behind the bar, either dead or unconscious.

Eight people had died in as many seconds or less.  Under other circumstances, I would have been horrified.  With Sam, the only noteworthy thing was that all of these people had been armed and something of a threat to me and that he hadn’t leveled the whole place.

He let go of my shoulder, “You and your partner should leave, now, Ari.  Before things get too wild.”  He said it with a calm cheerful smile, as if he would quite like it for us to stay longer.

I moved.  Amanda had rolled to her feet, protectively clutching the bag of money to her chest with her right hand while she had her gun out with her left.  She didn’t flinch as I rushed over to her and the pair of us sprinted to the door.

On our way out, I shot one glance over to the corner, where the five I had noticed were still seated, watching us.  They’d made no hostile move, but the woman with the spider tattoo watched us leave with cold eyes.

Without knowing why, I could tell that she was sizing us up.  The violence and bloodshed that had just happened didn’t matter to her in the slightest.   The attackers who’d just died were as unimportant to this woman as the lives of insects.

Sam joined us, appearing at my side and falling into step with me as we got out into the street and headed for my car.  “Oh, Ari, the next few days are going to be so much fun…

***

For the Love of Death: Snippet 1

Chapter 1

I knew I was in trouble when death walked into the bar with a big, shit-eating grin.

And boy do I mean that literally.  Samael, the Archangel of Death, stepped into the bar like he knew exactly what was going to happen and that he was going to love every second of it.  I’ll back up a bit by saying that Sam isn’t just the Archangel of Death, the sort-of designated sniper of the preternatural world, but he’s also on a special assignment as my guardian angel.

When I say that, most people would think I was crazy.  It gets worse, believe me, because my guardian’s role is to protect my mortal soul and my physical body, and he’s of the mindset that the best defense is a really good offense.  Most times that meant he settled for killing any humans or preternatural creatures that threatened me in imaginatively gruesome fashions.

But he would do that with a superior smirk, maybe even a jaunty grin.

I don’t know that I’d ever seen him this happy with himself.  Except, just maybe one time, in a distant, dusty mountain range when a couple hundred insurgents had been trying to kill me.

This is bad, this is really bad, I thought to myself.

The first thing I did was look over at my partner.  Special Investigator Amanda Ashburn was seated with the fence we were here in this particular crappy bar to meet.  Under other circumstances, we would have some kind of backup, both of us working for Colorado’s El Paso County Sherriff’s Department.

Unfortunately, we weren’t here on official business.  We had asked one of Amanda’s contacts in the Catholic Church to translate a list of names, they had asked us for a favor in return.  Something had been stolen from a church and a middleman had arranged to get it back.  The fence who had it was jumpy and the Church hadn’t wanted to set a precedent where they rewarded people for stealing from them, so they wanted us to acquire it and turn it over to them.

The fence in question had been looking for exits ever since Amanda sat down at the table with him.  His nervous darting glances had grown more frequent and I’d already had a sinking feeling as this had dragged on longer than a simple transaction should have taken.  Father Terrence, Amanda’s contact with the Church, had given us a substantial quantity of cash to buy the item back.  He hadn’t been too specific on what it was, just a small box, possibly locked, that was the prize.

I hadn’t dared ask what might have happened if someone had already opened the box and taken whatever was inside.  In just the past nine months, I’d seen all kinds of things that normal people would think were impossible.  There might be nothing in the box, the box might be what was valuable, or what was inside might be incredibly dangerous, melt-your-face-off like the Ark of the Covenant from the Indiana Jones movie.  At the time, it had seemed like a simple favor to go and pick it up.

Now I was wondering just how badly I’d screwed up by not asking for more information.

The supposed fence didn’t look like the typical scum-of-the-earth criminal type I would have imagined.  He was young, he wore trendy-looking sunglasses and designer jeans.  He had a gray hoodie up over his head and the sunglasses hid his eyes.  From this angle, I couldn’t get a good look at his face other than in profile in the shadows from his hoodie.

 I scoped out the room, not really certain what I was looking for, but knowing that there was something I’d missed.  The first thing I noticed was that the bartender’s entire demeanor was off.  Not only was he ignoring several patrons, but his attention was in the direction of my partner and the fence, rather than anywhere else.  No, not just there, but also on the far corner.

There was a group seated there, three men and two women.  They hadn’t stood out the first time I scoped out the room.  They looked similar enough to other bar patrons, except as I looked at them, their attention was focused anywhere and everywhere except on the table with my partner and the fence… or on me.  One was one her phone, another was reading a beer list.  The other three were ostensibly casually talking, but they all kept pausing as they talked, as if they weren’t keeping track of the conversation or weren’t focusing.

They were all remarkably fit and healthy for this sort of place, too.  Up north in the Springs, they could have passed for military, maybe, except for the fact that they all sported facial tattoos, which wasn’t allowed.  One of the women had some kind of spider web tattoo that ran up the side of her neck and onto her face with a remarkably life-like spider crawling up onto her cheek.

One of the men seemed to notice me looking at them and he said something in a low tone to the woman on her phone.  She didn’t look up, but I saw her say something in return.

Samael, the Archangel of Death, walked calmly over and sat down across from me, partially blocking my view.  “Ari.”

“Sam,” I tried to lean over to see around him, but in truly typical fashion, he managed to shift and block my view of the suspicious men and women without needing to move at all.  Sam outwardly looked rather plain.  He could have passed for my brother, if I wasn’t a family-less orphan, anyway.  To me he appeared tall, lean, with olive skin, blue eyes, and raven-black hair.  He looked to be dressed professionally, suit and tie, which should have stood out in a place like this.

I knew from experience that most people would be hard-pressed to realize there was someone at the table with me, and harder pressed to describe what that person looked like.  I also knew that his presence, like most of what he termed the preternatural, would distort electronic recording devices like security cameras and cell phones.

And, when he wanted to, his physical form could shift, despite his apparent size and stature, to be bigger or smaller or, in this case, to block my view of potential threats, just because it amused him.

“You seem happy,” I couldn’t help but begrudge him that.  The past few months had felt like everything and everyone were conspiring to irritate me.

“Some days I enjoy my job more than others,” Sam replied, just as I saw motion over by Amanda.  I looked over to see her set a black canvas duffle bag on the table and the fence reached down below the table and pulled something out of a similar black duffel bag.  His had a symbol of some kind on the side, it looked a bit like some kind of Japanese kanji, though I couldn’t see it well from where I sat.

It wasn’t a box.  At least, it wasn’t like any box I had ever seen.  It was some kind of big clay jar, about eighteen inches tall, maybe eight inches wide at the widest, and tapering at either end.  The fence set it on the table and it seemed to have far more weight than any object that size should, thumping on the table with a echoing thud that penetrated the far corners of the bar.

All conversation ceased.  The entire bar went still and I saw everyone’s attention had gone to the table.  The fence noticed and he scooped the jar back off the table and slid his chair back in a squeak that echoed through the still bar.  Amanda was looking at the jar in with confusion and curiosity.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” I muttered.

Sam’s smile widened, “Sometimes, Ari, you can be remarkably perceptive.”  He stood up from his chair, shrugged his shoulders a bit in a motion akin to a boxer preparing for a bout, and his next words made my stomach sink, “And here… we… go…”

Amanda reached out to try and stop the fence and then all hell broke loose.

***

Coming Soon: For the Love of Death

Hey everyone. Sorry for the long delay in updates, but I’m happy to announce that my next book, For the Love of Death, is coming soon! It’s the third book of the Angels of Death series. I’ve got it done, edited, a cover, and all the rest, so check back for more in the next couple of weeks!

I’ve also got some updates for the website and general news and I’ll go into that next week. That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Kal’s April 2021 Update

Hey everyone, we’re halfway through with April, but I’ve got some updates.

A Quiet Death, the sequel to In Death’s Shadow, is all done.  I’ll be dropping snippets and doing a cover reveal (and believe me, the cover is awesome) throughout the rest of the month.   The release date will be April 30th, so expect it soon!

I’m working on finishing The Star Engine, the seventh Shadow Space Chronicles book.  It’s been a long time since I last published in the series, but I’m really looking forward to getting this one out.  There are a lot of cool events happening there, plus it sets the ground for the future books in that universe.

Speaking of series that need more books, I’m looking to get out the fourth book of my epic fantasy series, the Eoriel Saga, in the near future.  I’m also outlining and prepping the next Children of Valor book, where I get to revisit Jiden Armstrong and see what she’s been up to while her brother has been having oh-so-much fun on Drakkus Prime.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Book Review: The Last Champion

There’s a lot of epic fantasy out there that feels dark, depressing, and populated by unpleasant characters who backstab one another for fun.  The Last Champion is not that kind of epic fantasy.

The titular Champion character is heroic.  The world he populates is under threat, the people he’s charged to protect are under threat, and he does his best to protect them.  Korr is a warrior who does what he does because he’s very, very good at it.  He’s a man who sticks to his customs and ways because that is all he has left, all he has to him, in an almost ronin-esque fashion that provides a gripping story.

There is plenty of action, plenty of character growth.  The characters are vivid, the scenery is epic in scale, and there’s so much potential in the setting that as a reader, I was always hoping for more looks at the greater world.  This really is epic fantasy, there’s a scope to the world that makes it feel big, feel populated, even though we only see a small part of the larger world.

It’s really rare that I can’t put a book down, but the story caught me and I read it in just a few hours.  My only complaint about the book is that it ended and I’ll have to wait on a sequel.  I highly recommend it.

Here’s a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/39Ar4ia

Kal’s 2019 Liberty Con Schedule

Hey everyone.  I’m going to be at Liberty Con this year, but I’ve  got a bit more narrow of a window, as I’ll only be there Saturday and Sunday.

Here’s my schedule:

Day Time Name of Event
Sat 10:00AM Autograph Session (MJ Allen, Buettner, Del Arroz, Spriggs)
Sat 02:00PM Critters
Sat 04:00PM Chris Kennedy Publishing – The Year Ahead
Sat 05:00PM Author’s / Artist’s Alley (S. Osborn, Spriggs, Swann)
Sat 08:00PM Reading: Cedar Sanderson & Kal Spriggs
Sat 09:00PM Seventh Seal Press & Rob Howell present the Chris Kennedy Publishing combined Room Party and Book Launch for Alabaster Noon
Sat 10:00PM New Voices in YA Science Fiction
Sun 10:00AM Kaffeeklatsch
Sun 12:00PM Author’s / Artist’s Alley (Duntemann, J. Hunter, Ibson, Spriggs, Weyand)
Sun 01:00PM Author’s Alley (Q. Allen, J. Hunter, Malone, Spriggs)

If you’re attending Liberty Con, I hope to see you there!

 

Kal’s LTUE 2019 AAR

Hey everyone, here’s my AAR for LTUE 2019!  All in all, I had a great time and had the opportunities to both participate and observe some awesome panels on writing, art, book marketing, and more.   If you’re in the Western US, LTUE has got to be one of the better writing conventions you can attend.

There’s a lot of fantastic authors to meet, and enough information on just about any topic to not only help new authors, but to help experienced authors learn new things.

The people are friendly, the locale is awesome (Provo, Utah has some very scenic mountains), and it’s a great opportunity to network.

Most of my panels for the weekend were in the military science fiction theme, with panels on Rules of Engagement, Drones & Robots in Warfare, Rebellions & Revolutions, and two panels on Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.

I dragooned James Young into several of those panels, because a couple panelists weren’t able to show.  (Sorry James, there’s consequences for heckling from the crowd when I know who you are).  The ROE panel was fun, especially with Jim Curtis, Lee Modesitt, we got to cover a lot of history of ROE and do some extrapolation of what it might look like in the future.  For the Rebellions & Revolution panel, Jim Curtis and James Young’s knowledge of history meant that there were a lot of people in the audience taking notes to go look things up.

I really enjoyed the Drones & Robots in Warfare panel, with Jim Curtis & Larry Correia.  We ranged a bit further off topic into the areas of cyberwarfare, but that’s easy to understand given the topic.  It was particularly amusing to have people from the audience commenting afterwards about how scary all the potential is… that’s good writing ideas there!

As far as panels I attended, the panels on Surgery in Zero G was fantastic, with a lot of neat medical issues in microgravity being described by the panelists.  Doctor Nik Rao’s panel on Evolutionary Biology was awesome, especially as to how it relates to alien life we may encounter (or at least write about).

There were a few faces I wish I’d been able to see at the convention, people whose schedules didn’t line up or who didn’t get invited this year as panelists.  I really hope they get that latter part straightened out, as I felt there was a bit more emphasis on filling panels with people, rather than getting panelists who both show up and who are qualified.  But all in all, it was a fun convention and I hope to attend next year as well.

 

 

New Release: Dead Train: All Aboard

Dead Train: All Aboard is now available on Amazon.  You can find it here: https://amzn.to/2ycj324

It’s all aboard and full speed ahead because when the dead roam the Earth, no place is safe.

Civilization has fallen, brought low by a combination of war, terrorism, and by the restless dead rising in ever-greater numbers.  The world’s militaries fought until they ran out of bullets, but in the end, the cities were choked with bodies and the dead just kept on coming.

Captain Jack Zamora has put together a band of survivors who stay alive by staying on the move.  They’re fleeing the charnel-house remains of the East Coast, headed to survivor enclaves in the West, travelling on a jury-rigged train that’s held together by desperate hope and paid for in the blood of its defenders.
There’s one barrier for their train of survivors: the mighty Mississippi River. Someone or something has been destroying the bridges, trapping survivors on the east bank.  And survivor enclaves in the East are going dark, one by one.  There’s nowhere to go and the only set of train bridges left run through the ruins of St Louis.
Something waits for Jack and his people there, though.  Something ancient, something evil, and if Jack can’t find a way through, then his hope, his people, and their train will all die.

Kal’s October 2017 Forecast

October is here and with it, a new book published.  That’s right, in case you missed it, I just released Valor’s Calling, the second book of the Children of Valor series.  The feedback I’ve received from my alpha and beta readers has been really great, and I think you all are going to like it a lot.  In case you’re not reading the series, Valor’s Child (the first book) has been on the top 20 of its category for the past three months.

So what’s next?  Well, I’m putting together the next Shadow Space Chronicles book, but I’ve also had something else on my mind… or in my brain, possibly.  In fitting with the time of year, I’ve been stuck on zombies.  I’ve got the first book done and I’m shopping it around to a couple of publishers.  If they like it, you may see it sooner than you expect.

Coming at the end of the month, you can expect to see Prisoner of the Mind.  If you’re a fan of movies like Push, Carrie, and Firestarter, then you may well enjoy this story.  It’s a near-future setting in the Shadow Space universe that covers the origins of a variety of powerful psychic/psionic characters in the universe.  I’ll be publishing it near Halloween (Expect it around the 28th of October).

In the near future, I’m outlining the third Fenris book, and I plan to deliver that to the publisher before the end of the year.  I’m way behind on that one, but expect to see more from Mel and Fenris before too much longer.

I’m also working on a couple of other projects, including a steampunk novel, the next Renegades book, and the next Eoriel Saga book, and the third Children of Valor book.

Thanks for reading!