Patreon is Live: “Join Us”

P-my

It took me a while to convince myself of this.  But here it is, at 4:30am my time.  (Because I’m transitioning from night shifts to day shifts, and it’s not an easy task to manage with only 48 hours between work days!)

Are you familiar with Patreon?  I

t’s genius, really.  The old-world concept that artists were supported by patrons who pitched in to keep them producing paintings of plays instead of being stuck day-in and day-out working in the mill.  Hard to produce art when you have to work 50+ hours a week just to pay the bills.

It’s not for everybody and I feel shy and ashamed about asking for such a thing.  But if you’re willing, I won’t stop you…

Click here to check out my Patreon page and see what I have to offer, for as little as a dollar a month.

Also click there if you want to watch the ridiculous video of me babbling while sleep deprived…  it ain’t pretty.

Now, to bed!

New Superhero Fiction: Chapter 1

You may or may not be aware, but my newest is up for pre-order right now at these locations: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo!

Just the ebook for now, paperback coming later.

But how’s about a free sample first, eh?

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This is Secret Origins: Book One.  The SO trilogy will be all about the histories of some of the mainstream characters in my other Identity Crisis Universe books.  This book consists of a novella, a novelette, and a short story.  And I thought this weekend, I’d share the first two chapters of the cover story, “Masks” —

1

RED MANTIS

The nondescript grey van turned left, without signaling, and rolled lazily into an alleyway.

Another car followed from a distance: a small, red Prius with the headlights switched off.  It was a hybrid model, capable of prowling the streets nearly silent on battery power.  That’s what the driver told himself, at least.  Truthfully, the payments were kind of steep on a gym teacher’s salary in Mesa City, but he loved that car.

Tonight he wasn’t a gym teacher, though.  He was a superhero.

Red Mantis allowed ten seconds to pass after losing sight of the van.  Then he crept the Prius to within a block of the alley, gliding along the curb.

There was no other activity in sight.  It was past ten o’clock at night, after all, and this was a small business neighborhood.  There were no residents here.  No one to notice any suspicious activity.  No one to hear a young girl scream.

He eased to a stop, threw it in park, and turned off the engine.

From across the street, Mantis could see that the alley was flanked by a small adobe-faced shop on the left and a larger, dark building on the right.

Papito’s Tailor and Dry Cleaning was a square, one-story structure with a large, darkened front window.  The mechanical centipede of the rotating dry cleaner’s rack made an ominous shadow on the other side of the glass, but there was no obvious movement inside.

The other place was a much larger lodge hall, three stories of dark brick.  The Honorable Brotherhood of the Sunset Horizon, the sign read.  The lodge crest looked Native American in theme: a red semi-circle resting on a thick black line, irregular, like a brush stroke.  A falcon or hawk soared above and a sinuous snake crawled beneath.

“That even sounds like a cult,” Red Mantis mumbled to himself.  “Why hasn’t anyone looked into these guys?”  He peered over his steering wheel.  “Huh.  Maybe that’s why.”

A smaller sign read: “Food Pantry: Tuesdays 5-7pm” and “Bingo Night: Thursday at 7”.

Maybe I’m chasing the wrong suspicious van

He looked at his watch, its face spun around to the underside of his left wrist to allow for the rigid plastic brace that was strapped to his forearm.  The digital display read 10:14:49, alongside the time zone and his current pulse rate, which was an excited 92 and anticipating more.  (Let’s face it, the watch had probably cost more than he’d needed to spend, too.)

He’d now allowed twenty-seven seconds to pass since the van had left his sight.  Too long.

Without another second of hesitation, Caesar Hernandez—the Red Mantis—popped out of the driver’s seat, adjusted the crimson plates of his segmented combat armor, pulled the pointy-frilled mask down over his face, and burst into action.

The big cargo van idled in the alleyway, its side door ajar, brake lights casting a sinister crimson glare behind it.  Two figures in shiny green robes, like shapeless satin gowns, were struggling with a blanket-wrapped bundle between them.  Or rather, the bundle was struggling in their grip.  One emerald-cloaked cultist was backing away, the other was still inside the cargo hold.

Neither was prepared for the stout, muscular man in red plastic armor who came sprinting into the alley in a wide-curved arc, heading right for them.

The Red Mantis came hurtling through a haze of scarlet-lit exhaust fumes and ploughed straight into the cultist standing on the ground.  The villain was blasted off his feet and thrown to the asphalt.  Thanks to his armor and mastery of balance, Mantis bounced off his victim and near-perfectly replaced him, catching his end of the blanketed burden.

Something squirmed and kicked inside, bound by hooked bungee cords.  The prisoner was petite, not much more than five-feet tall and little over a hundred pounds.

The man on the other end of the bundle stood paralyzed, hunched over in the van, shocked by the sudden transposition he’d just witnessed.  Mantis shoved the writhing thing between them, forcing the second cultist backward and feeding all three of them back into the vehicle.  The cultist—a brown-skinned man with a black scrunchie for a headband—stood with mouth agape and eyes wide in surprise.  His hands unconsciously fumbled with the human bundle as it slipped away from him and folded up on the van floor.

Two red-plated fists struck his bulging eyes shut and slammed him against the van’s opposite hatch.  Mantis then hugged and flung the man bodily.  The thug nearly cleared the prisoner on the floor and rolled against the extended van’s rear doors.

“It’s all in the hips!” Mantis bragged, panting.

He snapped toward the driver’s seat.  (His unexpected speed in the ring had always been Caesar’s greatest asset.)  A third villain, the wheelman, sat half-turned around, arm wrapped around the headrest, hipster glasses mismatched with his heavy Cheech and Chong style mustache.  Just as he opened his yap to fling out a string of curses, Red Mantis’s thick hands slapped onto either side of his head.  He squeezed and pulled simultaneously, jerking the driver half out of his seat.

The Spanish obscenities came fast and loud as the driver tried to wrestle with the forearms that had arrested his face, but he found gripping the irregular arm guards problematic.

Mantis pulled again with his full weight, dragging the now screaming hipster cultist into the cargo space.  He let go with his left hand, only to bring it back with a vengeance.

The blanket-bound captive screamed too, the high-pitched wail of a teenaged girl—Mantis had stepped on her.  The van’s hold was big, but not that big.  Collateral damage was unavoidable when fighting outnumbered in a confined space.

Then the entire world came unhinged: the van was moving!

“The brake!” Mantis realized aloud, spitting the words into the wheelman’s face, as if it were his fault he was no longer standing on it.

Selective darkness moved beyond the windshield as the headlights probed the walls on either side of the alley.

Mantis climbed on top of the kneeling driver and dove between the seats—but found that his broad shoulders with their (perhaps overly ornate) armored plates couldn’t squeeze through.  His head poked into the cab and came to an abrupt stop.

Just in time to see someone new appear in the headlamps.

Mantis gasped.  This headlong tumble into chaos was all happening too fast.

A figure stood before the runaway vehicle, buttoned-up in a trench coat with an old-style fedora on his head.  His hands flashed up as if to somehow stop the two tons of rolling steel.

“Move!” Mantis roared.

But the man only had time to stare up at him.

Half a second later, he was under the van.

Mantis froze.  Hunched over, shoulders pressed between the headrests, too stunned now to act.  The momentum of his attack had been broken and someone had just been run down by the errant vehicle, thanks to his rash, thoughtless assault on the driver.

If he was real.  Did he even have a face? 

In that flash of panic, as the figure had glanced up just before disappearing beneath the van’s nose, Caesar’s eyes had been convinced that there was no face in the V formed by the raincoat’s up-turned collar; nothing at all beneath that archaic hat brim.

His weight jostled as bodies moved behind and beneath him in the chaotic cargo hold.

The van continued to idle further down the alley’s throat, picking up speed.

Hands clawed at Mantis from behind.  Both cultists came at him again—were already on top of him.  The black scrunchie headband, swollen eyes, the hipster glasses, a bloodied nose.

Three men became entangled in a very tight melee, all on top of the poor girl bound in a blanket on the hard steel floor.

Have to end this quickly, he thought.

Luckily, this was his element.  Little did the cultists know that Caesar Hernandez was even more adept at ground work than slugfest.  His days in the MMA circuits had made him a consummate grappler.  Even tangling with two men at once wasn’t much of a challenge when his opponents were untrained in the arts.

He wrapped one flailing arm—he didn’t know whose—against his own shin and pulled.  Something snapped audibly, followed by a howl of pain.  The scrunchie curled to one side, no longer a threat.

Boom!  The van—and their world—suddenly crashed to a violent halt.

The dogpile of bodies lurched forward.

Mantis found himself near the bottom now, with a whimpering lump beneath the small of his back, a hand wedged against his throat, and gritted teeth growling above him.  He heard the click of a switch blade and saw the van’s pale internal light glistening off the thin plane of steel.

“You’re dead, muchacho,” Hipster Chong snarled.  He stabbed down to pierce the would-be hero’s heart, but the strike was blunted by his sturdy plastic armor.

Finally good for something!  The thought blurted across his mind, but his relief was short-lived.

The blade dragged itself across his red chest plate, dropped a quarter-inch off the edge, and found nothing but cloth backing to protect the sternum beneath.  The gap between plates was little more than thick elastic.  The chink in his Red Mantis armor.

A toothy grin split wide beneath the fogged lenses and their thick, black frame.

Every muscle in Mantis’s body exploded in an effort to escape, but they failed to free him.  His burst of motion managed only an inch of disruption.  Not enough to save him from the knife that was about to splinter through his breastbone.

The girl squirmed under him.  Once he was dead, there’d be no one to save her.

Suddenly, two gloved hands appeared on either side of Hipster Chong’s sweaty, wild expression.  Ten fingers curled around his ears and yanked him backward.

He disappeared with a yelp.

Mantis shot up into a sitting position.

Outside the van, Hipster Chong was stabbing wildly at a trench coated figure who now had the thug in a sleeper hold.  The knife landed several vicious points right into the man’s face, but he never blinked.

In fact, he had no eyes.  Nor any other features.  The head beneath the hat brim was smooth, blank.

He had no face at all.

* * *

Chapter 2 up tomorrow!

 

New Superhero Trio for Pre-Order

MASKS, book one of the Secret Origins series, is now up for preorder!  Order now and get the ebook on launch day, which is May 2nd.

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A doomsday cult has risen in Mesa City. 

Signs of the Never-Ending Serpent haunt alleyways and nightmares, and the police seem powerless to stop it.  Medicine Man and Coyote stood against them and Coyote paid the ultimate price.  Her partner hasn’t been seen since.  Gone off the deep end, they say.

Is there no one who can save us from the End of Days?

Red Mantis doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he’s no stranger to combat.  And the mysterious Shadow Puppet appears impervious to death and everywhere at once.  But when faced with the true horrors of the Never-Ending Serpent, will these rookie saviors prove friends or foes?

Nakai and Nizoni Proudtree are Native American kids growing up on the wrong side of Mesa City, where it’s not cool to root for superheroes.  No wonder: the patron cape of the neighborhood is currently on a rampage.  Probably not a good idea to steal his car, then, even if it is for the right reasons…

Masks is a triple play of action, adventure, and pure pulpy fun.  Combining the classic conventions of the genre with gritty new twists, this trio of superheroic tales is sure to please comic book fans young and old.  The featured story “Medicine Man” also earned an honorable mention from the Writers of the Future Contest.  

Pre-order it on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo.

“But why do we have to wait until May 2nd?”

For one thing, pre-ordering is a great way to give a new book a little shot in the arm come publishing day.  All those pre-orders count as sales for that one release day, which helps it jump forward into a more noticeable algorithm on the retail sites.

For another, that day would be my Grandma Jones’s birthday, if she hadn’t just passed away a few weeks ago.  (There’s also a brief dedication in the book for her.)

Cowl_Cover_Ebook_miniMay 2nd also happens to be the release date for Hiding Behind the Cowl, a multi-author anthology of superhero tales that features my novella Secret Identities, which will actually become book two in the Secret Origins series!  So if you want a jump on the next background story planned for my Identity Crisis Universe, that’s the way to go!

To look into pre-ordering HBTC on Amazon, click here.

April Fools Book Sale — No, Really!

Maybe it’s that I’m sleep deprived and delirious.  Or maybe I’m just trying to see how many people are paying attention.

But if you browse my ebooks, find one (or more) that you like, and Paypal me 50% of the normal price, I’ll send it to your email address.

Easy, right?

My Paypal link is: https://www.paypal.me/JDBrink

Don’t mind the guy in the Viking helmet.  He’s more trustworthy than your average banker!

You can either include the details in the Paypal message with your payment, and/or email me directly at jdbrink(at)brinkschaostheory(dot)com.

Let’s make this offer good all through the month of April, shall we???

So, in summary:

Paypal or email me NOW through April 30th and get any of my ebooks HALF OFF, directly from the author himself. 

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Final Week for Giveaway

oneeyedjacksThis is the last week to sign up for a free ebook copy of the urban fantasy, crime-noir novel One-Eyed Jacks.

If you’re an Amazon customer, it’s really just a matter of clicking a button.

Well, probably more than one click, but the mouse does most of the work.

The only catch is that you follow me via Amazon, which I believe means you’ll just get a notice once in a while that I’ve put out something new.  That’s it!  Easy-peasy!

Click here to go there now and check it out!

Urban Fantasy Giveaway: One-Eyed Jacks Are Wild

oneeyedjacks

Click this very line to enter an Amazon giveaway!

I’ve got TEN ebook copies of One-Eyed Jacks lined up to go.  Simply follow the link, click the button to follow me on Amazon (meaning you’ll get an email from Amazon when I have new releases, stuff like that), and then sit back and relax.

Ten winners will be drawn from all entrants on February 1st.  And then, well… if you’re one of the lucky ten, you’ll have yourself a free ebook.  Easy as that!

Clock’s ticking.  Draw your lucky card right now.  You’ve got nothing to lose!

The End of Circus Sale: 99-Cent Ebooks

I originally (just days ago) called this the “End of Civilization” sale, before the actual election results.

Now, in the aftermath of the election, you may or may not think that first title is appropriate.  Either way, I prefer not to offend anyone’s political sensibilities.

But we can all agree that no matter who you voted for, we’re all just really damn glad the Most Ridiculous Show on Earth is finally over!  So I’m changing the name, but not the deal.

For a limited time,

EVERY J. D. BRINK TITLE WILL BE $0.99. 

(Unless it’s already free, and a few are!)

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You can find them all on Amazon and anywhere else you find books!  Try these links, and if you’re fave spot is not one of these big ones, try the Fugitive Fiction button farm or your favorite web-dimension directly.  (Be aware that some websites may be slower to catch up to the price change than others.)

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

Fugitive Fiction button farm

Treat them like Pokemon: collect them all while they’re cheap!  And once you’ve read them, if you don’t mind, spend a couple of minutes tracing back where you found it and leave a quick review.  Or you could drop one on Goodreads.  Good or bad, a review is great for your fellow readers, and for the author too!

Election Results: The End of Civilization Sale!

With the election finally (finally!) coming around the bend, we can see Armageddon closing fast.  As such, I figured it was time to throw an End of Civilization Sale! 

For a limited time,

EVERY J. D. BRINK TITLE WILL BE $0.99. 

(Unless it’s already free, and a few are!)

 

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You can find them all on Amazon and anywhere else you find books!  Try these links, and if you’re fave spot is not one of these big ones, try the Fugitive Fiction button farm or your favorite web-dimension directly.  (Be aware that some websites may be slower to catch up to the price change than others.)

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

Fugitive Fiction button farm

All I ask in return is that you get out there and vote!  (Notice I haven’t said anything about which candidate—the way this thing is going, we’re doomed either way…)

Well, I might also ask that once you’ve read one of my books or stories, that you stop back where you found it, or on Goodreads, and leave a quick review.  Good or bad, a review would really help me out!  And other readers, too.

 

Free Halloween Horror Story

Just a reminder: my short-short story Mime is always available for free!  That includes now, during the spookiest time of the year.

Crime-noir meets ghost-horror in this flash fiction story.

Mobster thugs Pauli and Mouse come across a street clown late at night who seems to know more than he’s telling.  Maybe too much.

But you know the best thing about killing a mime?  No one hears him scream.

Then again, by the time this story is over, it won’t be him screaming.

This flash fiction story is also featured in Eating in the Underworld.

Find it FREE on: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.


You can also revisit my rather Halloween flavored story Moondance at CrimsonStreets.com, an e-zine of modern pulp fiction and it’s always free to read.

Also now free, but not necessarily Halloweenie, is The Quest, a fantasy novel that also happens to be part one of the Tarnish Trilogy.

Praised for its unique storytelling, engaging detail, and heart-felt characters, Tarnish stands alone in the annals of fantasy fiction.

Everyone knows the stories of the Colors Three.  That trio of adventurers who traveled the breadth of these realms in the post-war years, stalking the traitorous Crescent Moons and bringing justice to those downtrodden left in the Dread Duke’s wake.

Tavern masters have been spinning those tales for ten years.  Ian the Black and Trevor the Red are ten years older.  More so, for the warrior’s life is a hard one.  And Gregor the Golden?  Most likely dead along a mountain pass, in search of more glory than any mortal man needs.

Who, then, will defend Redfield when evil rises from the Blood Marsh?

Billy Cole is the sixteen-springs-old son of Ian the Black.  Maybe older.  Being the heir of a legend is a heavy burden to bear.  And though “Billy Strong Back” is used to hard labor, it takes more than strength to become a man.  And more than a sword to become a hero.

You can find it here (the audiobook, btw, is not free): Amazon, AudibleB&N, iBooks, KoboSmashwords, & more.

Evolution of a Book Cover

A quick museum display on how the final (as in final, like I’m not making more changes, I swear) cover for One-Eyed Jacks came about.  (You know, that urban fantasy, crime-noir novel that’s up for pre-order right now…)

So it started with a sketch I made for what I was looking for.  Then I had to find an artist with much more talent than myself to make that sketched-out dream come true.

Years ago (2010, maybe?), my friend Dan Michael drew these two possible plans as further developments of the drawing I sent him at that time.  But, alas, 2010 wasn’t Jack’s year.

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Jump ahead to this year, 2016.  I sent a new drawing with more Asian flare–the skeleton wore a samurai helmet–to Henry Ponciano, who had already done a fabulous job on the cover for my book Invasion.  He sent me three sketches to pick from:

henrysketches You can guess which I ultimately went with, though it wasn’t an easy decision!  He then worked that up to this png image, which has no background (as per my request):

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Now, way back in the day, I used to have some talents for the visual arts.  Like in high school.  Maybe a little in college still, but since then…  If you don’t use it, you lose it, right?  So now I suck.  But I still like to try.  So I started playing with Henry’s awesome image and I came up with these book covers.  Well, these and at least a dozen others, of multiple fonts, colors, and styles, but these two I called “done”.

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The one on the left has a great texture to it, but as Dan pointed out (still acting as a design consultant), it’s so rough that as an actual playing card, you’d never be able to shuffle it into the deck–it’d rub all the other cards the wrong way.  So I softened that a bit.  Then I changed fonts to make it look more like handwriting on an actual playing card, which I kind of liked.

Dan was working on this version (which I really like!) when my wife finished the one below:
what-i-got-from-dan

In the midst of all this, my wife America decided she’d better help me out before I pushed out a could-have-been-awesome book cover with my own less-than-awesome design skills. So she put her considerable talents to use for me (*cough-cough-finally!-cough*) and produced the cool cover you see here.  And in a relatively short amount of time, too.  This is the cover now published by Fugitive Fiction:

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I’ve actually skipped a few evolutionary steps here, but you get the idea.  There isn’t a huge difference from one to the next on the whole, but the overall effect of each is quite different.

To pre-order the ebook now at a reduced price (now through October 31st), click one of the links below:

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

If you’re reading this after Halloween, 2016, you can still use these links to find the book at its normal price, which is $4.99 (US).