Other Side Of The Line
Ranger Clarence Stoneburner returns spirited away children to their parents on earth. The kids who come back with mermaid tales are the lucky ones. Horror stories are what Clarence is supposed to prevent.
When an ex-Ranger abducts his new girlfriend's son and whisks him to a violent world, Clarence will have to cross lines and portals to find him.
A Portal Surveillance Agency short story, Other Side Of The Line is available in Kyanite Press Volume 1, Issue 3:
Commanding The Swarm
A.I. scientist Silvan Rathe’s robotic bees could be the catalysts that end the famines devouring America. Creating a better world for his son Ian means reviving farmland that climate change decimated, and pollinating crops that haven’t had pollinators since Colony Collapse devastated honeybees.
Silvan’s swarm hooks the attention of Vansen Tharius, an ex-marine who spearheads the Primacy, a rising tyrant nation-state who committed atrocities during the First Asset War in Europe. To control the swarm and the diminishing food supply, Vansen will seize any advantage he can, including Silvan’s son, who helped program the swarm.
Now Silvan must leave his lab and navigate the Second Asset War. Out of shape and out of his element, he must cling to his humanity and sense of humor in this undulating landscape of deceit and death in order to scour the Primacy’s darkest corners and find Ian before his life is lost forever.
The Reaper's Replacement
The Reaper could really put a brain out with that scythe of his. It harvests the human souls that feed Hell’s demons, so when the slimy-clawed Stygian murders The Reaper and tries to steal the scythe, Reap’s bodyguard Ava goes a little nutso. Without the scythe and a responsible someone to wield it, Hell would starve and Earth would be flooded with moaning, groaning souls.
Ava is not the demon for the job, unless that job is slamming Sin & Tonics with her angel with benefits. Laying low at her favorite bar only makes her, it, and her bartender angel into The Stygian’s targets. Ava doesn’t want The Stygian hounding her through Hell’s Eight Circles-we don’t talk about the Ninth-just because she deduced one of The Reaper’s other bodyguards backstabbed her and got The Reaper wrecked.
A responsible demon would avenge Reap’s death. Someone with their shit together would stop The Stygian’s engineered war between humanity and demonity. A war he designed to give him power over Earth and Hell the moment he gets his claws on that scythe. All Hell’s got is Ava, her angel with benefits, and a goof-nugget demon with deadly arcade money. Saving Hell’s got to be someone else’s job, right?
The Magician's Ales
Bartender Ryne Clayten can't prove his sister was murdered by the CEO of America's favorite pub chain. Alchemy that brews beers and distills liquor isn't a cause of death that the justice system recognizes.
CEO Lawrence Grant saved alchemy and brought it into the modern age. He couldn't have killed Ryne's sister, and he's got every right to systematically wreck Ryne's life-to the full extent of the law-for these false accusations.
Now that Grant's forced Ryne out of business school, Ryne seeks out Craft alchemy to turn it against the CEO. He brews his own ales with it. He finds he loves the alchemy that Grant used to end his sister's life. In Ryne's hands, the Craft could bring relief and enrichment to the public.
Ryne works with ATF agents, digs up old evidence around the Midwest, and seeks records to prove to the country that alchemy is prevalent and poisoning thousands because of Grant's actions. If he does prove Grant's guilt by the judge's deadline, he'd risk alchemy being outlawed.
Grant knows that his business wouldn't be the only thing ruined if alchemy becomes illegal. He'll make sure Ryne and his family aren't watching too closely the next time they share a drink together.
Works In Progress:
Sight Askew - A wizardly hobo and a magic-starved witch's road trip through an ever-dark cityscape turns into a deadly mind game and a deadlier race. All because a once-exiled queen sets her sights on a hostile takeover of the city's light industry.
The witches with the spells to bring light to every corner of the world might be a hobo's only hope at being free enough to finish the road trip, if they don't become the queen's method of seeing everything and enforcing her bloody rule first.
The Eye In The Dark - Cynergy is ruining Curtis Crane's junior year. He used to hit hair metal concerts with his neighbor and best friend Janet until this modern magic barged into 1982 and caused him crippling migraines.
When a Cynergist ex-con tries to murder Curtis's father-a beloved beat cop-Curtis uses his own Cynergy to save him. That's how a team of obsessed scientists track him down and try to turn the young-and-future-officer Curtis into their prototype Cynergist hunter.
Curtis can't hunt the ex-con stalking his family and protect Janet and his future career at the same time. It's not the Cynergy that makes you choose. It's the people using it to take everything from you. Whether they mean to or not.
Blog Stories: The Reaper's Case Notes
The Reaper's been sifting through his memories, hunting for what he really wants. Harvesting Earth's souls leaves him with little time to wield a pen in place of his iconic scythe. His demon bodyguard Ava Vasaga has got the magic and martial arts skills to defend him from thieves who want his scythe, but can she help The Reaper piece together the mysteries in his past? Hell would starve for souls and Earth would be flooded with them if they fail.
Their battles for Hell's soul hide secrets you might miss if you don't read The Reaper's Case Notes!
Each Case is a three-episode short story stuffed with snark, martial arts, historical fantasy, and nuggets of Hellish wisdom as Ava & The Reaper romp through soul-strewn Earth and a modern Hell that blends Dante with drunk demons.
You know the best thing about strong antagonists?
They make the heroine better.
Find out the difference between a villain and an antagonist. Listen to a blend of writing tips and geekery and learn how to piece together an antagonist that hooks readers and makes your main character get out of the comfort zone.
The League Of Villains Podcast - Keep It Evil!
The Grind is one of the many demons your favorite writer constantly battles with in order to bring more books into the world.
You gotta battle it too. Get confident. You can reach that writing goal.
Check out the link for a guest blog on the fabulous Developmental Editor Haley Sulich's site: Write Plan
Jabe Stafford has asserted his right to be identified as the author of these works.