Right, this week’s challenge. Write a 1,000 word story (give or take). Parameters? Go here and get four elements to include in your story. You get one week to write it, post it at your online space and drop a link in the comments. Easy right? Yeah. Genre doesn’t matter.

So get to writing!

My answer to the challenge I posted last week. I ended up with Hardboiled Space Opera, and this is the kind of thing I came up with. Over the wod limit and hardly my best work, but its also the most I’ve written recently, so there’s that I guess.

Malachi sat in the spaceport bar of Copernicus Station, a half-filled glass of chilled vodka in front of him. His smart glasses told him it was “morning,” but that didn’t mean much in a stable orbit around a gas giant being mined for hydrogen and helium. He blinked when his commlink chirped, and his virtual assistant popped up in front of him, a diminutive hologram named Clara who perched herself on the edge of the bar. She’d opted to go for the standard secretary look this morning, hair in a bun, horn rimmed glasses, skirt falling exactly at mid-thigh, the first few buttons on her blouse undone. He’d tried to adjust the settings so that she would appear the same every time, but either they were buried so far down in the system settings as to be impenetrable or she’d deliberately moved them to somewhere else in her operating system.

“Drinking this early?” Clara asked, peering at Malachi’s glass over her glasses.

“Early?” Malachi asked. “I’ve been up for… what,” he checked his heads-up display, “four hours already. It’s a mid-day aperitif.”

The bartender, a four-armed, vermilion skinned Karaxxian looked over at in his direction, but Malachi waved him off. He’d have to remember he was in a public space and pitch his voice accordingly given only he could see Clara and her voice was being piped directly to the subcutaneous speaker implanted behind his ear.

Clara sniffed. “If it weren’t for me, you’d be nothing more than a dissolute degenerate.”

Malachi regretted getting her the thesaurus upgrade, and not for the first time. “Yeah, yeah. So are you just going to bust my balls for having a drink?”

“Not at all. You have a client.”

Malachi blinked. “You couldn’t have led with that? So what’s the case?”

“Missing person. Client says she’s looking for her daughter.”

Malachi wrinkled his nose. “Isn’t that what station security is for?”

“According to her, she already went to them. They’re processing but… well, you know how it is,” she replied.

“Yeah, yeah.” He finished his drink. “Send me the details.

“Adriana Baraxan. Human. States that she is a pilot for an independent cargo hauler.”

“So a smuggler,” Malachi interjected. It wasn’t a judgement statement, only an observation.

“Probably,” Clara conceded.

“What does she want?”

“She didn’t state a reason. Says she’s only willing to discuss the case in detail in person. Maybe she doesn’t trust the station’s network security.”

“Huh.” Malachi scratched at the stubble on his chin. “So she’s smart. Okay. Let’s go see what she wants. Did she give a location?”

A map popped up on his overhead. He recognized it as leading to a green space with a great view of the planet they were orbiting. “Interesting. Public space, but with enough space to make it hard for someone to eavesdrop. Seems our client knows what she’s about.” Malachi nodded in professional approval. “When did she want to meet?”

“Fifteen minutes from now.”

Malachi swore under his breath. He’d have preferred a bit more time. Time to go back to his one room square of an apartment and change his clothes at least, if not take an actual shower. No joy there though. Instead, he tapped his device against the contact pad at the bar and tipped his bartender before stepping out into the thoroughfare outside. The park was a short walk away, easy to get to without having to hop on the maglev. The stations’ gravity was enough to keep him balanced, but he’d grown up on a terrestrial world. Looking up to see the void of space and the looming giant of the planet instead of blue sky always sent a shudder down his spine.

He arrived at the park with about five minutes to spare.

“So where’s the client?” he asked.

“Ah, of course. Here is her location.” A golden halo appeared over a woman sitting on a bench. Malachi approached from an angle where he would be clearly visible to her as he walked up, hands buried in his pockets. The woman had the pale, nearly translucent skin of someone who spent all her time in her space. He could tell, even though she was sitting down at the moment, that she’d be taller than him if she stood up, and her body would have the elongated look of a person unaccustomed to normal gravity. She wore simple enough clothing, black flight jacket over a blue high-necked shirt, black flight pants. She wore her dark hair close cropped and held a tablet on her lap, scrolling through… something. New feed maybe. Contract list more likely, if she was what she said she was.

“Captain Baraxan?” Malachi didn’t offer to shake hands.

“Ahh. You must be the detective. Malachi, isn’t it?” She turned off the screen on her tablet and stood up. Like he’d guessed, he had to stare up a bit to meet her eyes. “Thank you for meeting with me.”

“Private investigator,” he corrected her. “What can I help you with?”

She flipped the tablet so that it was facing him. She touched the screen and an image popped up of an older man, graying temples, sagging jowls. One of his eyes was brown and the other a brass colored orb. “One of my partners has gone missing. I was able to track him down this far, but, well, the man has gone to ground. He owes me a considerable sum of money and I would like to have a rather involved discussion with him about it.”

Malachi snorted. “I’m sure you would. What’s his name?”

“Harrod.”

“Just Harrod?”

“We did business. That’s all. So do you think you can find him?”

“Clara?” Malachi asked, tapping his implant.

“Already on it boss.”

“Who’s Clara?” Baraxan asked.

“My not-so-silent partner,” Malachi replied.  “She helps with the leg work.”

Baraxan frowned. “Is that the woman I spoke to earlier?”

“Yeah, let’s go with that,” Malachi replied.

They stood, awkwardly, in the park, watching the space craft silently dock and depart as they drifted in high orbit above the swirling clouds of the giant planet planet below. Malachi had to repress the everyday panic of knowing that only a thin amount of material separate him from the vacuum of space, and that if any part of the delicate system failed, all he would have to look forward to was an agonizing death by asphyxiation as the oxygen levels depleted on the station.

“Okay, boss, I’ve got a hit on some of the public cameras,” Clara piped in his ear. “But you’re not going to like it.”

“Yeah?”

“He’s down in Yellow Sector.”

Malachi bit back a curse. “Any idea when he got on the station?”

“There’s no record of him in the public Customs reports,” Clara confirmed. “How ever he got on the station, it wasn’t through official channels.”

“Okay,” Malachi said, addressing the captain. “I’ve got a bead on where he is, but I’m going to have to go in and verify.”

Baraxan raised a delicately thin eyebrow. “Why’s that?”

“He’s in Yellow Sector. Think of it as the local bad neighborhood. There isn’t much in the way of video surveillance down there, which means he’s gone to ground. Someone looking like he does though… well, someone is bound to have seen him.”

“Very well. I shall accompany you.”

Malachi gave a short bark of a laugh, then realized she was being serious. “I don’t know that’s such a great idea,” he said. “Yellow Sector types can be a bit rough.”

The captain gave a small smile. “I’m not unused to the coarser types, detective. Lead on.”

Malachi felt the difference as he entered Yellow Sector. There were no outside view ports and more graffiti and the air felt closer, stuffier. He led, Captain Baraxan trailing behind. They’d stopped at his office so he could pick up his sidearm, an air compressed needle gun, the tips dipped in a paralytic. Nominally non-lethal, though a shot in the neck could lead to asphyxiation. He’d offered to give the captain a weapon, but she declined. He wondered if she concealed a weapon under her bulky jacket, but decided it would be impolite to inquire.

They entered the Cosmic Joke, a speakeasy run by an acquaintance of Malachi’s named Jules. Jules had the coal black skin and heavy, compact build of a Politanian… a denizen of a world known for its high gravity and brutal solar radiation. He waved at Malachi when he saw him enter. Captain Baraxan hung back, checking out one the holographic displays projected into the middle of the space.

“What’s with the navy with you?” Jules asked

“Huh?” Malachi asked.

“The spacer over there. You telling me she isn’t military?”

“Civilian captain,” Malachi corrected him.

Jules made a noise in the back of his throat. “Could have fooled me. All right, what can I do for you?”

“Looking for someone. Someone in particular.” He pulled up the image of Harrod, broadcast it on top of the bar. “Have you seen him?”

“Funny you should ask. He was here, what, two days ago? Said he had something to sell and was looking for a buyer.” While he spoke, Jules poured two glasses of chilled vodka and pushed one across to Malachi.

“You know what it was?” Malachi asked.

“No. He wasn’t asking me, which means it wasn’t drugs or booze.”

“Who was he talking to?”

“You know Warrix?” Jules asked.

“Yeah, I know him,” Malachi confirmed, before downing the rest of his vodka, a pleasant numbness spreading through him. “Wish I didn’t. Thanks Jules.”

“Yeah, no worries. On the house, okay? Just don’t get yourself dead.”

Malachi rubbed at the back of his head. “Yeah, wasn’t on my to do list, don’t worry.”

As he walked back over to Captain Baraxan, Clara piped up in his ear. “I don’t have to tell you what a catastrophically bad idea this is, do I?”

“Nope, you don’t. Got a pretty good idea already,” Malachi replied.

“You’re going to go through with it any way though aren’t you?”

“Yep.”

Clara ran through her new thesaurus, Malachi recognizing many of the terms as being synonyms for stubborn, stupid or both.

“Any luck?” Captain Baraxan asked.

“Your boy Harrod has been meeting with a local crime boss, name of Warrix. Anywhere else, he’d be small fry, but he’s a player here. We, uh, have a history.”

“Do I want to know?”

Malachi shrugged. “I might have shot him once. Okay, twice.”

“Hmm. Where can we find him?”

Malachi shook his head. “Are you sure you want to go through with this? I mean, I get that Harrod owes you money, but you can’t spend it if you’re dead.”

“Do you want out?” The captain stared hard at Malachi, and he realized she was weighing him, deciding what kind of person he was. To his surprise, he decided he cared.

“No,” he said, somewhat to his own surprise.

He led them out of the Cosmic Joke and down into the service tunnels that made up the bulk of Yellow Sector, passed the makeshift shelters and jury-rigged habitations of those poor souls who couldn’t quite afford either regular station housing or a ticket off. He knew where Warrix would be, down in a disused security station, surrounded by his men, secure in his territory. Warrix’s guards spotted them long before they got close, but no one challenged them, which means Warrix wanted to talk to them. Or wanted to personally kill them. Malachi figured it could go either way.

“Well, if it ain’t my least favorite detective,” Warrix boomed from his translator speaker mounted on his hover chair. The boar headed sapien was restricted to the chair, his spinal cord having been severed when Malachi shot him. “Got a lot of nerve coming down here.” The various degenerate scum that made up his court laughed and chuckled along with him.

“I’ve got business with you,” Captain Baraxan said, stepping forward. Malachi tried to pull her back but she flowed around his clumsy grasp, leaving him with nothing but air. “Man named Harrod. I’m looking for him.”

“Hey, Harrod, someone’s here to see you,” Warrix called out.

One of the men threw back the cloak he’d been wearing, an evil grin on his face, his brass eye gleaming in the low light.

“Hello, Captain. Me and Warrix here came to a bit of an understanding, see? So you and the detective can just walk on out of here.”

Captain Baraxan tilted her head to one side. Malachi wondered how big of a mistake he’d made. Then she moved.

A metallic ribbon dropped from the sleeve of her jacket and she flowed through the room. The ribbon sliced through the air, parting Harrod’s head from his body. Weapons were out and firing, and Malachi dived behind a column, keeping his head down as charged blasts ripped through the air. He spared a glance out, fully expecting to see the captain’s lifeless body, but the shots fired at her bounced off an invisible field, sparks flying up as the protective shield she wore deflected the attacks. Malachi saw Warrix trying to guide his chair out of the area, so he lined up a careful shot and caught him in the side of the neck. The chair careened to one side, nearly dumping its occupant on the ground before coming to a soft stop against a wall.

Most of Warrix’s people had the good sense to know when they were overwhelmed and fled the captain and her ribbon blade, and she had no interest in pursuing them. With the room cleared, she stooped down and collected something from Harrod’s body.

Malachi looked around at all of the bloodshed, feeling sick to his stomach and realizing he was at least partly to blame.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Captain Baraxan. Kilvarian Navy Intelligence. This scum,” she kicked Harrod’s corpse, “was attempting to sell stolen information.”

“What kind of information?” Malachi asked.

She turned and left the station, and Malachi knew he’d never get the answer he wanted.

Later, back at the Cosmic Joke, Jules tried to ask him what happened.

It took three vodkas to get the story out of him.

Right, welcome to the first of who knows how many flash fiction challenges. Rules are simple. Once a week I’ll post a challenge here. You then get one week to write and post a flash fiction piece at your online site. Leave a comment below to where it is so people can check it out.

This is, of course, shamelessly stolen from when Chuck Wendig ran these at terribleminds.com. I at least got a few pieces out of that.

So for this week’s challenge: the sub-genre smashup. Pick (or randomly decide) one sub-genre from each list. Your goal is to create a complete story out of the result. Let’s say 2k words, max. Deadline is 12 pm Eastern Time, 3/28.

Good luck!

Sub-Genres

Category 1:

  1. Weird West
  2. BDSM
  3. Grimdark
  4. sword-and-planet
  5. Jungle adventure
  6. Occult
  7. Body Horror
  8. Southern Gothic
  9. Hard-boiled
  10. Paranormal Romance

Category 2:

  1. Alternate History
  2. Cyberpunk
  3. Space Opera
  4. Cosmic Horror
  5. Diesel Punk
  6. Espionage
  7. Heist
  8. Ghost story
  9. Military sci-fi
  10. Superhero

Final word – feel free to tag back to this post and share it around with anyone you think might be interested.

EconoClash Review #5 edited by J.D. Graves

ECR 5 continues its crusade to bring cheap, quality thrills to the masses, throwing a smorgasbord of genres and writers into a blender and straining it out into a pint glass. Overall, I found the issue entertaining and at the level I’ve come to expect from editor J.D. Graves. I should also mention that I’ve had a story published by ECR in the past and I occasionally grace the ECR page with reviews.

“California Communion” by Cynthia Ward is a weird bit of sci-fi about a teenager stoner who ends up getting abducted by aliens… and discovers that they get drunk off water. Which makes Earth the equivalent of a free keg for passing aliens. The protagonist’s chemical predilections leaves it open as to whether the events of the story actually occurred or were the fevered imaginings of an altered state of consciousness. Either way, the dialogue and the narration is entertaining in and of itself.

“Silo” by Cameron Mount. Okay, so I read this piece a few years back when Cameron was still developing it, and it still gives me the creeps now. The thought of being shut underground, away from all human contact, and the only thing standing between the world as it is now and nuclear Armageddon is me not screwing up. Ahem. Yeah. There’s enough in this story to leave the reader questioning how much the narrator was imagining, and how much there was going on outside of his head. Either way, it makes a good cautionary tale regarding nuclear weapons and who we put in charge of them.

“Mr. Muffin” by E.F. Sweetman is a woman PI recounting one of the first cases she ever took on… that of a missing cat. Only the case quickly snowballs, and our intrepid detective finds herself in over her head and dealing with a pair of serial killers. The biggest strike against this story, for me, was the framing device. You already know the main character survives the events of the story which always sucks a bit of the tension out of a piece for me. That said, the actual narration is fantastic and the characters more than memorable. Sweetman always finds a way to entertain and this story is no different.

“The Retcon” by R. Daniel Lester is a great piece of sci-fi noir with a premise I didn’t expect. The main character has a unique skill set to delve into other people’s memories, to tease out what they know. Only the particular job he’s on is a personal one, as he dives into the memories of someone who once encountered his estranged daughter. I remain impressed by the world-building and setup that’s accomplished in such a short piece, but even more so with its emotional weight and gravitas.

“Luck be a Bullet” by Aeryn Rudel follows a hit man’s up and downs over the course of a night a his luck changes as often as hands over a long night of cards. If there’s any big take away from the story is that it doesn’t matter how good or bad your luck is during the course of things, but what the balance is at the end of the night. The big downside to the piece is that the characters come across as fairly stock for the genre: the bloodthirsty gangster, the talkative hitman with nerves of steel… The set-up is okay, but I didn’t read anything truly innovative or different in this story.

“The Bridesmaid” by David Rachels – what do you do with a no good nephew who wants to prove that he can be somebody in organized crime, but is probably more trouble than he’s worth. Well, why not send him off to try and kill someone who, in all likelihood, would get to him first? That’s the sordid tale of Lucien, a hapless assassin so pitiful he couldn’t even kill himself right. This is definitely a story who like their humor black as Turkish coffee.

“Hell Yeah!” by Die Booth – while an entertaining story, the overall premise didn’t quite work for me. A bunch of teens are able to make a wish, and they end up wishing for pizza anytime, anywhere they want. From that simple wish grows an entire pizza empire, only there’s a catch. It turns out the pizza is a trick from Hell, and anyone who partakes ends up damned. While it is an interesting idea, it ignores the whole concept of free will and well, taking a bite of pizza shouldn’t negate a lifetime of good works. Yes, I realize I ended up overthinking this story, but it still bothers me.

“Service with a Smile” by Adam Furman – a thoroughly disgusting PI is hired by the court to track down an individual. Yeah, that’s the framework, but the story dives straight into the transgressively absurd, working hard to shock the reader out of a sense of normalcy. For the most part it works, but, to be honest, I felt very little for any of the characters involved, though a few stand out moments in the narrative did entertain more than I necessarily thought they would.

“The Sleep-Tights” by Aristo Couvras is a creepy little horror story about a pandemic that strikes only when people fall asleep. Everyone goes to dramatic lengths to keep awake as the only known link between people disappearing is that it happens when they fall asleep. Finally, it is discovered that the true culprits are bed bugs on steroids who are pulling full grown people into the fabric they are infesting. Couvras manages the impressive task of telling a full cycle story in the short format where are other writers might have left the actual conclusion in the air. Probably not a story to read right before you drift off though.

“Aid and Comfort” by J. Manfred Weischel was the story I was least impressed with in this outing from ECR. It’s post alien invasion and the humans and the aliens are learning to try to get along. One Rillian ends up holed up in a human household and an attempt is made at integrating the alien, only it all goes horribly, horribly wrong. The writing in this felt heavy handed and awkward, and a key piece of the story relies on what is an overextended poop joke. Sorry, ECR, but it might be cheap but it didn’t give me a thrill.

The issue is available via Down & Out Books as well as Amazon.

Hellcrafter (Kendra Temples: The Demonic Diaries Book 2) by [Harms, Eve]

HELLCRAFTER is the sequel to 2018’s THE SECRET NAME by horror writer Eve Harms. As a result, this review contains spoilers for the first book. You’ve been warned. I did receive an ARC of this book for free for the purpose of giving an honest review.

HELLCRAFTER picks up where THE SECRET NAME leaves off, as Kendra Temples finds herself jobless and near broke after she inadvertently let an evil spirit named Mhaqal out in to the world, but at least she has her boyfriend Carlos, so something is going right. She takes a job at a float spa, which is comprised of sensory deprivation tanks that people can rent to get away from the world. One of the perks of her job is she can use the tank so long as it’s not taking time away from her other work and it’s not interfering with a client.

There’s a slight hitch, though, in that she tends to psychically project into a hellscape when she goes into the tank. There, she discovers that her former boyfriend (now deceased) is trapped there, skinless, with only a goat headed humanoid for a companion. What follows is Kendra’s quest to save her ex-boyfriend while trying to balance work and her relationship with her new boyfriend. It involves her going back to the house where all the trouble originated and digging deeper into the occult. Eve Harms does a fair amount of work detailing the djinn that inhabit the prison, and there are enough twists to keep the reader going.

Like the first book, HELLCRAFTER is constructed of a series of blog posts, so Kendra fully takes advantage of breaking the fourth wall to address the audience directly. While the more relaxed and casual tone works for the most part, it makes some of the action set pieces more questionable. Plus, the reader has to determine if the action is really what is happening or if Kendra is deliberately exaggerating her life and fabricating the more exotic details. Finally, since it is a series of posts, unless they suddenly cease (or another narrator somehow takes over) some of the narrative tension is lost because you know she has to survive to write the story.

All that said, HELLCRAFTER is a quick and enjoyable horror romp with a nice splatter of gore.

It is currently available for preorder at Amazon and is releasing February 12.

4 out of 5 stars.

A new noir piece of mine is up at The Dark City Crime and Mystery Magazine and is also available at Amazon in print and kindle. This is the second piece of mine they’ve published. The first can be found here.

I’d say its a departure for me, but well, my writing has been a bit all over the map recently. As for what I’m working on now, I’m part way through a short story featuring Ariadna. This would be the third story featuring her, the first two having appeared in Pulp Modern. It’s a no magic sword slinging adventure. I’ve also been chipping away at the Liam the Black novel. Hopefully I’ll be able to give progress updates as those happen.

So Broadswords and Blasters is dead. At least for the foreseeable future. Why? A lot of reasons, but the amount of time and money Cameron and I were pouring into it, and the relative lack of return we were seeing on it was draining. From most objective standards, our experiment to launch a New Pulp magazine was a glorious failure. Even with our shoestring budget, we didn’t quite break even. We didn’t win any awards[1]. Hell, we weren’t even nominated for any to the best of my knowledge.

And yet.

This past month, with the announcement of our closing, showed that what we did mattered to a number of people. We were the first paid publication (hey, you could buy a burrito at least) for a number of writers. For others, we gave them a confidence boost when they needed it. I’m sure a few people stuck around for our social media feeds (okay, by that I mean Twitter, because I ignored Facebook for the most part), including our allegedly legendary Follow Fridays where I tried to highlight our contributing writers, fellow publications, and friends of the mag. We worked hard to be apolitical in a time where everything is political (how much we upheld the status quo is probably up for debate, but it isn’t one we’re all that interested in having).

We did succeed in one aspect. Our goal, from day one, was to publish action-adventure stories. We weren’t interested in avant-garde structures or allegories or Big Idea stories. We still managed to get stories featuring morally complex characters, plots that tended toward shades of gray as opposed to black and white, and damn if we didn’t get some stories that made us laugh and others that brought a tear to the eye. If there was one big failing, it was that we didn’t get enough readers exposed to the great writing going on in the indie scene and that will be my biggest regret.

So what’s next? For me, at least, it is chipping away at a fantasy novel featuring Liam the Black (a short story featuring Liam is set to be published some time this year by Kzine). I’ve already got stories in upcoming issues of The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine, Econoclash Review[2], and Cirsova.

It’s working on more short stories for more markets. It’s reading more. Reviewing more. It’s submitting more places than I did the year before. I should also finish this[3].

Anyway, that’s my year set out now that we’re one half of one twelfth through the year.

None of us getting younger, you know?


[1] We did come in 3rd place among Fiction Magazines in the Critter Poll of 2019.

[2] Now an imprint of Down & Out Books

[3] Seriously, me? 2017? I know at least one person was enjoying it.

With a Bang: Issue 12 Release

Posted: January 13, 2020 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

Cover Image of Issue 12

Issue 12 will be the final issue of Broadswords and Blasters for the foreseeable future. Both editors are old enough to know that never is a really long time, so we aren’t permanently closing the door on it ever coming back, but we both acknowledged earlier this year that we were starting to get burnt out on the endeavor. We wanted to end while it was still fun and entertaining instead of trying to drive it down into dust. When will we be back? We can say with all honesty: We don’t know.

That said, we decided to go out in style with a tremendous double issue to celebrate three years of awesome New Pulp fiction. Because why go out with a whimper when you can go out with a bang?

J. Rohr returns to Broadswords and Blasters (he was last seen in issue 5)…

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Broadswords and Blasters

I’ve been a fan of Star Wars for as long as I can remember, but I’ve actually never been a fan of the Expanded Universe books and shows. Maybe it’s my character flaw, but nothing outside of the self-contained movie series has ever really captured my attention. I mean, I’ve read the Admiral Thrawn books and some of the New Jedi Order. The book Kenobi was decent enough, as have been some of the short story collections, but even those didn’t excite me the way the original trilogy did. People kept telling me to watch the CGI cartoons like Clone Wars and Rebels, but I can’t stand that kind of animation outside of video games. And, yes, I’ve played a lot of the games, but again they are sort of stored in a separate vault in my brain, alongside the tabletop RPG versions. They’re fun, but if they didn’t…

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Pulp Consumption: Storyhack #4

Posted: December 30, 2019 in Uncategorized

Broadswords and Blasters

Storyhack continues to put out an extremely professional looking magazine, and issue 4 is no exception. Each story comes with an internal illustration, and the external artwork leaves no doubt as to what the magazine is about. It is highly recommend for people who want action-adventure in their stories, but are less concerned with stories fitting within a certain genre as editor Bryce Beattie tends to pull from all conventions… so long as there is action to be had.

StoryHack Action & Adventure, Issue Four by [Beattie, Bryce, Blaylock, Sidney, Hart, Spencer, Restrick, Jason, Barrows, Brandon, Burnett, Misha, Frost, Julie, Mollison, Jon, Olsen, John, Mincemeyer, Damascus]

HawkeMoon by Sidney Blaylock, Jr. A king has been assassinated, so the captain of the royal guard goes in search of the one master assassin who was responsible… only it turns out she wasn’t the one behind it. This story is memorable for its characters, but even more so for the ultimate villain of the piece, The Scarecrow King.” I wished the setting had been a bit more developed than it…

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