Get in Your Headspace

After a hectic 2018 (for good reasons, mostly), I’m finally catching up.  I have a few new ones coming out in the next month or two, and here’s the first of them: Headspace.

Blurb:

Thanks to a vaccine called headspace, violent crime is a thing of the past. Headspace doesn’t prevent violent thoughts, it prevents you from acting on them. There hasn’t been a murder in nearly 50 years.

Gone are the days when cops carried guns. Gone are the days when law enforcement was trained to deal with heinous crimes. In the year 2109, cops are nothing more than glorified therapists, trained to handle conflict with words rather than actions.

Headspace ensures no conflict will result in violence. 

Until now…

Officer Marcus Hardy is the closest thing that Omaha Metro Crisis Management has to a homicide detective. When he’s called out to investigate the murder of a prominent neuroscientist, it quickly becomes clear that he and his department are ill-equipped to handle the situation.

The robot-phobic Hardy is partnered with a human-like android, a “shorty,” and they begin a race against time to find the killer before he can kill again.

Their investigation leads them to Mind Drop, a biotech company that specializes in preserving memories by uploading them to the cloud and making them accessible via an implanted memory prosthesis. The company’s motto is simple: People don’t have to forget.

When Mind Drop’s reclusive CEO refuses to cooperate, Hardy begins to suspect that the murder may be connected to something vastly more sinister than he had imagined, a secret that the company will do anything to protect.

In a future where a man-made vaccine limits free will, Hardy discovers that nothing can overcome human nature for long.

Available now on Amazon.  Hope you enjoy it.  Now that that’s out of the way, how are things with all of you?  Any big plans now that the year is drawing to a close?  Anything on the horizon?  Hope you all had a great turkey day!

 

She Wore A Pretty Mask

SheWoreAPrettyMaskShe Wore A Pretty Mask is now available on Amazon.

No novel (at least in my experience) is easy to write.  Mind you, there are the glorious days when things flow smoothly, when chapters seem to magically write themselves, but there are others (and the odds are in their favor) when it can be a real slog…when no matter how much homework you’ve done, no matter how clearly you can see the images in your head, the images stubbornly resist translation.

Usually the ideas are the easy part.  It’s the turning them into a story and putting the words on the page that’s the struggle.  The daily goal I set for myself is 1500 words.  It isn’t often that I’m able to surpass that quota.  But it happens.  Sometimes.  Rarely.  On busy days, I’ll settle for 1000.  Not ideal, but I can live with that.  Anything less than that…I get cranky.  It ruins the rest of the day.  I’ve worked on several novels where every sentence is like giving birth to a baby elephant…stop, start, stop, start, repeat, and maybe after half an hour I’ve managed 100 words, and those last 900 to go before I can reach happiness seem to be a million miles away.

That’s the extreme.  I usually fall somewhere in the middle.  The good days and the bad ones.  But I usually make my 1000 to 1500 word quota.  It’s really the only way to work.  If you start cutting yourself slack, things only tend to get worse.

She Wore A Pretty Mask fell into the mostly good day category.  There were struggles, but I managed to find the words.  What turned out to be difficult on this one occurred before my fingers ever touched the keys.  The idea itself was the roadblock.  More specifically, developing the idea was the painstaking part of the process.  I let it stew for a while.  I knew the idea could work, but that I had to be careful with the execution.  One false move and things could go in the crapper.

So, stuck as I was, I did what I often do at times like that – I reached out to my friend Mikko Piekkala.  Mig has been a good friend of mine for the last 20 years.  There have been times that we’ve fallen out of touch for years at a time, but when we pick up a conversation again, it seems like it’s only been a couple of hours.  I told him about my idea, and we batted it around for a while, attacked it from different angles, Mig serving as my sounding board, making suggestions, and usually by the time we’re finished, I’ve decided on the path I want to take.

(Mig – Thanks for that, old friend).

Anyway, I made it.  It’s out there.  I hope you enjoy it. – JWB

Here’s the blurb:

When evil invades the sleepy little town of Crater Lake, Iowa, a rookie sheriff goes on the hunt for a serial killer who is murdering young girls by staking them through the heart and decapitating them. But that’s not all – before killing them, he first drains their blood.

After enlisting the help of a female FBI profiler, Sheriff Nathan Murphy begins a descent into darkness as the investigation leads them down a trail of the supernatural. They soon discover they may not be dealing with something human at all, for their suspect may be far older and far more dangerous.

The first victim may be the key to unraveling the mystery. A girl whose death doesn’t fit the killer’s M.O. A girl who is pulled out of the lake with a strange mask covering her face.

What is the killer’s connection with the Unknown Girl of the Seine? Are they chasing a serial killer or a vampire? Whichever it is, Nathan knows one thing for certain…they are hunting a monster.

 

 

Optimal Outcome – $0.99 in this universe

optimal-outcome-650x1000In this universe, you can pick up a digital copy of Optimal Outcome for only $0.99 for the next 6 days (in alternate worlds, it’s still selling for $2.99).  Get it on Amazon.

1999…Hugh Talbot was on top of the world. A child prodigy, he graduated high school at fifteen, dropped out of UC Berkeley at seventeen, and started an online company poised to make millions…until the dotcom bubble burst.

Fifteen years later, Hugh has sold the company for peanuts, squandered all the money, and struggles to co-parent his estranged fourteen year old daughter. He works as a janitor, but that hasn’t stopped him from holding onto the past, perpetually searching for the Next Big Thing.

Salvation comes in the form of a mysterious phone call. The caller offers Hugh an opportunity he can’t refuse: a top secret project that requires extensive travel, and if he completes the job, he will walk away a millionaire.

Hugh is given a window into the past. He soon realizes that the past comes in many versions, that every decision carries life-altering consequences, and that true love never dies.

But now that he can look into the past, the question is, can he change it?