Daemon, my steampunk fantasy, is almost ready for release, probably this weekend. The cover is done, the rewrites are done. All that’s needed is one more pass on zoom out to look for misspellings and grammatical errors that I might have missed. Word does a pretty good job of outlining those, red for misspellings, blue and green for what it considers mistakes of grammar. Of course I don’t always agree with it. Some words are spelled just fine, the spelling that I want. Some grammatical errors or words it thinks are mistakes are just what I want. But it still helps to find those easily missed mistakes. Then it’s convert the document to HTML, then run through Kindlegen to convert to Mobi, and a last check on Kindle Previewer. That last is extremely important. You would be surprised how many little errors that seem to hide out in Word just jump out at you in previewer. And it also makes sure the document is formatted properly. I usually have to make changes in Word and reformat for Mobi between three and six times before all the little formatting errors are taken out, I hope.
Daemon was written in 2010, one of my attempts to write something that might be in demand with publishers. Steampunk is very popular right now, and I had an idea I thought would fit perfectly with the setting of a society using turn of the century (that’s 19th to 20th for those who don’t know) technology. I sent it to ten agents earlier this year and got the normal form letter response from eight of them, with two form letters that stated they would get in touch within two months if they liked it. Sick of the whole process of submission, I decided to publish myself and skip the other 40 agents on my submission list. I’ve about given up on agents anyway. It may be self pub from now on. If they want me, they can contact me.
Daemon is the story of a world in which the magic used by society is killing the planet. There are maybe a million square miles of arable land and about sixty million people left on the planet. Shadows, the negative forms of the animals that used to exist on the planet, stalk the dark, a menace to all. The living world must be lit up every night, which takes energy. The world is caught in a spiral that can only end with the death of everything. But Daemon Corporation, the big dog in this small world, has come up with a solution. Only it has released something deadly on the world, something that cannot be stopped. Jude Parkinson, a forensics mage who communes with the newly dead to solve murders, is the only man who can stop Daemon Corp. I really like this novel, and think it is one of my best in terms of characters and storyline. A very dark subject with a hopeful ending. I hope that it does well as a self pub. If not, then it will be joined by many other works in the coming years. Daemon will be available at Amazon and Smashwords for the sum of $0.99, certainly more than worth the price. And now for the promised excerpt.
Jude closed his eyes for a moment, squeezing the tears through his shut lids. A wracking sob threatened to escape his throat as he was almost overwhelmed by the sorrow that his beloved pet had been destroyed so cruelly. Sorrow turned to anger, and anger to rage in a moment. He opened his eyes, and swore bloody murder to whomever had committed the atrocity.
He heard voices coming from the apartment as soon as he got his own emotions under control. Barely under control. He was about to reach for the knob and let himself into the apartment when he heard footsteps running toward him along the hall.
“There he is,” yelled one of the two men who came at him. “He’s out here,” yelled the other.
Jude heard movement in the apartment, and knew that the men had him trapped, or thought they did.
What he hoped was that the men thought they were trying to trap a police detective, and one who might have the powers of a forensics mage. From the way they approached him he didn’t think they had been told of his Army career. And even though he had technically been in intelligence, the Army made sure to train anyone in their service who had any tidbit of magical power in some offensive and defensive applications of that power. And they had used him to command an infantry platoon during the riots that had erupted over the sudden increase of the dead lands, those years ago.
Anger gave power. Jude turned and projected all of his anger into the spell he had said as he entered the building, only leaving the triggering word off, saying it now. He pushed his left hand forward, sending a ball of force toward the men. The distortion of the air showed that ball in motion, and the two men tried to slow themselves, to fire their weapons, to do too much at once, all too late. The ball of force hit them at leg height, throwing them into the air to hit the ceiling and fall heavily back to the floor. They lay there groaning, not moving otherwise.
Jude raised the pistol in his right hand as he was flinging the spell, cocking the hammer and firing a round off into the door. He continued to fire as he pulled his second pistol out of his belt holster with his left hand, then went into an alternating fire with both pistols until the hammer on the gun in his right hand clicked on a spent cylinder. He continued to fire the final three rounds from his left hand pistol into the door. A quick move shoved both pistols into their holsters. He then reached behind his back at the belt line and withdrew the two small automatics, at the same time kicking the door inward.
The door swung in to reveal three men who had all been caught in the line of fire. He recognized one, at least by face, as a man who had been at the Daemon Corp building. That one was gasping out his life with two big blood spots on his shirt. Another lay silent on the floor, sightless eyes looking up with a neat hole between them. The third coughed on the floor, a hole in his stomach, trying to pull himself to his feet and defend himself against Jude. Jude shot him through the shoulder with the .32 auto and walked over to him, kicking the man’s gun away. His anger got the better of him and he put a bullet through the man’s left eye. He then backtracked into the hallway and shot each of the two men trying to get back to their feet twice through the heads.
Returning to the apartment he looked at his cat, nailed to the door. One of his bullets had gone through the cat, tearing a big hole through its abdomen. He felt a sense of guilt, as if he had added to the desecration of the animal. He knew that was nonsense, but he still felt it, and it brought the anger back up. He stormed into the apartment and looked down on the man he had recognized, the only one of the quintet still among the living.
“Who sent you?” he growled, glaring at the man. “Daemon? Stark? Who sent you?”
“I ain’t telling you squat,” said the man through gritted teeth.
“Yes you are,” said Jude, raising his pistol and shooting the man through the head. The thug jerked once as the bullet blasted through the front of his skull, then lay still, his own releasing bowels adding to the odor of the room.