Friday, August 1, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday #24 - Contessa

Contessa
Pieces of Earth drifting into space. A scene Contessa was accustomed to, and yet still alarmed by. The sounds of war had died out, leaving in its place an eerie silence that she didn’t realize she had ever known. As the Dark Army fled, leaving Earth nearly uninhabitable and scorched by war and soaked in blood, Contessa struggled with a desire to stowaway on one of the Master Vet ships she had seen them leave on. It would have been a serendipitous opportunity to infiltrate the enemy ranks and possibly find a way of sabotaging them.

Instead, she decided to stay here on the planet she was birthed on. She knew there were pockets of people residing underground, in caves, and in some of the cities that were fortunate enough to still be standing after the war. She was uncertain as to whether or not she would join up with others. She had grown warm to the idea of being on her own. It made things easier. She had no family. Her mother, father, and sister died in the war. The only friend – rather acquaintance – she had lived in Akoron to the east.

Contessa stretched her arms into the air, her eyes scanning the valley below the cliff she sat on. Her thick black overcoat did its job of keeping her warm against the harsh wind that blew through the area. It was a wind that had appeared once the war ended days earlier, and hadn’t quit since then. She rubbed her gloved hands across her thighs, grateful for the long pants she had been able to scavenge out of a nearby shack. The two corpses she found in the shack had died in each other’s arms in the bed of the master room. The pants had been covered in light blotches of blood, but running water in the shack’s bathtub allowed Contessa to wash them as clean as they would ever be in this post-war world.

A white blur crossed the dark sky in front of her. She let out a relieved sigh and put her arm out as the white dove fluttered to her and landed on her wrist. The bird’s blue eyes always alarmed her with their vibrancy. She took the small scroll from the carrier case around the bird’s neck and flicked her wrist, sending the bird off on its way back to Akoron.

Before reading the note, Contessa stared out at the valley once more, her spirit screaming at her, scolding her for not hitching a ride on one of the Dark Army’s ships. If she had done so, she could have found out where they had gone to after destroying her precious planet. Instead, she decided to stay grounded on Earth, grounded on a scorched planet that was as barren as her own womb.

She unfurled the small scroll: Akoron has fallen due to civil war. We are heading to Eradi to the west. See you there.

Contessa sighed and stared up into the dark sky. If the Dark Army hadn’t already destroyed everything, now the rest of humanity had to begin bickering and arguing with one another over the crumbs. It was pathetic. Too pathetic.

She dropped the scroll over the edge of the cliff and watched as it coasted downward into darkness and vanished. Loner it is, she thought. Loner it is.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The LZR Project - Episode #6 Now Available!

Episode #6 is now available for download in PDF format for your reading pleasure, and best of all, it's only $1 for those not on a series subscription! Check out the official web page for links to individual episodes. Want to subscribe to The LZR Project and only pay once to get a new episode each and every Wednesday - and catch up on back episodes? Head to https://gumroad.com/products/LqzG for more information.

In their pursuit of Enera's most notorious hacker, David Corbin and the rest of the Lazerblades find more than they bargained for in the form of a mysterious rogue sniper.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday #23 - Imprisoned

Today's piece, Imprisoned, is derived from two different things. One, I have been wanting to write a zombie-type piece for a while now. And two, I started playing the Alpha version of The Dead Linger on Steam. The second time I tried the game, I spawned inside of a prison full of zombies. So there, you have it. Enjoy!

Imprisoned
The smell is the first thing to hit me. Not light. Not the pain in many of my extremities. But the smell. A combination of rotting flesh and burnt wood. I’m not sure what is causing that smell, but I’m almost certain it is what has woken me from the darkness.

At first, I am not able to open my eyes. I reach my right hand up to my eyelids and find them coated in a sticky substance of which I am certain is blood. I lick my fingers and apply sputum to my sealed eyes. When the blood is wiped away, I try to open them again. Slowly. Flickers of light sneak in through the darkness. As soon as my eyes are opened wide, I see the debris around me: large chunks of cement, metal bars, and small pockets of fire here and there.

My arms and legs are spotted in blood. I am able to stand, but my left leg is sore. I wonder if the cement debris collapsed on me at some point. I realize I am in a very small room – a prison cell, indicative of the bars in front of me.

What am I doing in a prison? What caused this damage?

On the other side of my cell door is a mob of beings that look human but are shuffling around in various directions, as if they are brain dead and inattentive. They flood the open area between my cell and the others. We must be in a barracks of some sort. Each individual is clothed in rags that look shredded and torn from whatever caused this damage. Most are male, but there are a few females in the bunch. Only a few. The skin of these strange beings is whiter than snow, and they each have a black stripe down the center of their face.

I spot one of them staring at me from the center of the crowd. His eyes are glazed in a pearl white. He makes a clicking sound with his tongue and the others suddenly turn their attention toward me. All of the males, anyway. The females keep shuffling around, oblivious to the world around them.

The ones that have noticed me shuffle to my cell door, grab hold of the bars, and began pulling on them. They are not strong enough to destroy this protective cage I am in. I glance around me and find a large chunk of cement which I lift into my hand. I see a set of keys sticking out of the lock of my cell door. I quickly grab them to keep them away from these strangers.

The grim realization suddenly hits me: I either stay in here – protected from whatever these beings are, or I open my cell door and fight through them to get out of this place.

How long until hunger sets in? How long until help arrives? Is there anyone left in this place who hasn’t been turned into one of these things?

I shove the key back into the cell door…

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The LZR Project - Episode #5 Now Available!

Episode #5 is now available for download in PDF format for your reading pleasure, and best of all, it's only $1 for those not on a series subscription! Check out the official web page for links to individual episodes. Want to subscribe to The LZR Project and only pay once to get a new episode each and every Wednesday (and catch up on back episodes)? Head to https://gumroad.com/products/LqzG for more information.

After destroying the Corolex gang - and losing her brother in the process - Ridley Grant thought the city of Lysallis was safe from their malevolence. In this episode, all of that changes when the ghosts of her past return to exact vengeance upon her.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flash Fiction Friday #22 - Solitude

Today's FFF piece didn't seem too compelling once I finished writing it and read it over, however, I can see that it's more of a character sketch and plot idea than it is a full-blown story. After watching the season finale of 24: Live Another Day, I felt compelled to write out a sketch of a character much like Jack Bauer, someone who has nothing and nobody left and who is captured by his enemies and left with little to no hope. I'm not sure how this FFF piece branched from that intention to a plot about a full-blown plague epidemic but I'll take it.

Solitude
“Solitude is man’s greatest comfort, yet can also be man’s greatest nemesis.”
 
I read that quote many months ago. It was in a book…no, a magazine article on the human brain and the effects of solitude and its connections to insanity. I was waiting in the doctor office for Claire. She was there to get a checkup on an infection that had manifested in her lungs. The doctor office was busy that day. I complained to her later that it was too busy, but now I would welcome that busyness with open arms and pursed lips.
 
These shackles have cut and bruised my wrists. Mildew fills the air – and my lungs – making it hard to breathe normally. I haven’t eaten in days – too many to count – and I am ravished. The water they bring me is simply a collection of the condensation from the pipes that run through this compound. Aside from the guard who brings me that water, I haven’t seen another living soul in this place since I woke here. Where here is.
 
Memories come back to me in painful flashes of light and color, but I can’t seem to recollect exactly what brought me here. When the plague attacked New Haven, Claire and I were packing up to move West toward Lockly. We weren’t able to leave before Claire died. I found out – too late – that the infection in her lungs had been spurred on by the Rack Plague, and I could do nothing to save her.
 
I fled the city, taking what few supplies I could transport in our small sedan. I made it into the Wastelands and set up camp at the base of Mt. Sel. I grieved Claire’s death for days. I almost killed myself, but resolved to do what I could to survive. It’s what Claire would want. It’s the only reason I haven’t killed myself in this place.
 
I was going to leave my camp, to head further West and hopefully reach Lockly, but…I can’t remember…bandits, maybe, ambushed me. I remember men with cloth over their mouths. I remember guns. I remember the smell of sweat and urine. Everything after that is shrouded in darkness in the recesses of my mind. I woke up here, chained to the floor, half naked and starving.
 
There is nothing left for me except for the memory of Claire and that hideous plague. I wish I knew where it came from, what caused it, and how to stop it. It swept through the continent within a matter of weeks. I have no idea how I escaped its clutches.
 
Come to think of it, I haven’t seen the guard in a day or two. I haven’t seen anyone in a day or two. I’ve only seen the beam of sunlight which pours through the dirty window and shines light across me, bathing me in warmth, for a time each day.
 
Has the plague reached here into the depths of hell?

(Click the Flash Fiction Fridays link at the top of the page to read past pieces!)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Brand New Expired Reality Covers!

After months of hard work, I'm pleased to reveal the brand new cover designs for the three books in my Expired Reality series. These new covers will be showing up on Amazon and other sites over the course of the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for them. The interiors of these books have been slightly altered as well, mainly in terms of font design. You'll also notice that the name of the novella, Picture Perfect, has been reverted to its original title: Drather's Story.

Endangered Memories - an Expired Reality novel

















Lost Birth - an Expired Reality novel


















Drather's Story - an Expired Reality novella

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The LZR Project - Episode #4 Now Available!

Episode #4 is now available for download in PDF format for your reading pleasure, and best of all, it's only $1 for those not on a series subscription! Check out the official web page for links to individual episodes. Want to subscribe to The LZR Project and only pay once to get a new episode each and every Wednesday (and catch up on back episodes)? Head to https://gumroad.com/products/LqzG for more information.

In this episode, Carrie Green wakes up in a hospital, injured from a battle with Mr. Big. With David Corbin by her side, things don't seem to bad - until an unwelcome guest decides to pay her a visit.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 11, 2014

July Update

Flash Fiction Fridays will resume next week. I apologize that I've been postponing FFF, but I've been buried in projects these past few weeks, and I'm finally able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Aside from The Crossover Alliance Anthology which I am putting together, I also have The LZR Project, new cover designs, and some web design work I have been tinkering with.

With that being said, here's a quick update on what I've been working on lately and some of what you can expect in the coming weeks:

The LZR Project - 
My short story mini-series, The LZR Project, is off and running. The LZR Project tells the story of how the Lazerblades (heroes from my Expired Reality series) partnered with the Enera government to capture the criminal mastermind, Mr. Big. A new digital episode in the series is released each and every Wednesday for only $1 per episode. A subscription is also available for $30 for those of you who want to pay once and receive an emailed download link each week. You can grab the first episode of the series for free too to see if it is something that interests you. Check out the official web page for more info.

New Covers And Reformatted Digital Files - 
In the coming weeks I will be pushing out newly formatted digital files of all my books. Changes made to these files include various spelling and typo corrections, and a linked table of contents for each book to make them easier to navigate on your electronic reading device.

Along with the newly formatted files, I also have brand spanking new cover designs for all books in my Expired Reality series - Endangered Memories, Lost Birth, and Drather's Story (currently titled Picture Perfect). In case you missed it, here's a sneak peek at the general layout of Endangered Memories' new cover. This is not the final version, but will give you an idea of the direction I am moving in -


















The Crossover Alliance - 
The Crossover Alliance is a website/community for readers and writers of edgy Christian speculative fiction (the genre I write in). Originally started as a social network of sorts, I have since transferred the Alliance to a static website - www.thecrossoveralliance.com - and am in the process of building out a forum which will go live this coming week. The website will soon feature a showcase of various works that fall within this genre from many different authors. If you would like your work featured in the Showcase, drop me a line (dna (at) davidnalderman.com) and show me what you've got. 

In the next month or so The Crossover Alliance Anthology will be showing its face. The Anthology is a collection of various short stories from authors who specialize in edgy Christian speculative fiction. I am especially excited about this project because I've read each of the stories that will be included in this project and...wow...that's all I can say. You'll be blown away, I guarantee it!

Email Newsletter - 
In case you didn't know, I have an email newsletter I try to put out each month or so. In it I detail the various projects I am working on. If you'd like to sign up, please head to http://eepurl.com/vBIZT and drop me your email address.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The LZR Project - Episode #3 Now Available!

Episode #3 is now available for download in PDF format for your reading pleasure, and best of all, it's only $1 for those not on a series subscription! Check out the official web page for links to individual episodes. Want to subscribe to The LZR Project and only pay once to get a new episode each and every Wednesday (and catch up on back episodes)? Head to https://gumroad.com/products/LqzG for more information.

In this episode, David Corbin and Ridley Grant head to the Moorvaine Health Institute to check on Scarlet Rogue. But will David's search for the truth uncover more than he's ready to see?

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The LZR Project Series Subscription Now Available!

So, after tinkering with Gumroad (the site on which I host The LZR Project), I have finally figured out a way to offer up a subscription system for my short story series.

I was originally going to take advantage of Gumroad's actual subscription system, but they don't offer weekly subscriptions -  only monthly, tri-monthly, and yearly. I tried to put together a yearly subscription, but those who subscribe in the middle of the year would not have access to older episodes because of the way the system is set up. I contacted support, and they gave me a great workaround. Now you can pay one fee ($30), have access to all back episodes of The LZR Project, and be emailed with a download link when each subsequent episode comes out. There will be 40 episodes in all, and a new one will be released each and every Wednesday until the series comes to an end.

Here is the link to the subscription page for those interested in this subscription option - https://gumroad.com/products/LqzG

You can still grab each episode individually, if you choose to do so, through this link - http://www.davidnalderman.com/#!the-lzr-project/c1npk