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Announcement: Where There’s Fire, by Cari Z.

Where There's FireQSFer Cari Z. has a new super villain book out:

Making a name for myself as a Villain in Panopolis is hard work. Six months ago, my boyfriend broke me out of jail. Now he’s spending most of his time defending our turf against other Villains he accidentally freed along with me. And my new psychic powers are not only impossible to control, but they’re also giving me migraines.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skills are improving every day, and Raul—aka the Mad Bombardier—and I have never been happier. That is, until my first solo job is interrupted by a mysterious woman who tells me that Raul has been kidnapped by a ruthless new Villain. The only way to free him is to do a job for Maggot, a man with scary ideas and an even scarier superpower.

I can’t go to the cops or a Hero for help. Odds are they wouldn’t listen to me anyway. If I fail, Raul will be killed. If I succeed, we’ll both be bound to a man who’ll stop at nothing to put Panopolis on the path to civil war.

It looks like the only way to win is to take out the competition.


Excerpt

SuperTruther here, bringing you the down and dirty on Heroes, Villains, and the people who love them. That last one would be us, guys, your humble blogger included. We’re the gaping maw that gobbles down everything we can get on our Super people. We’re the pushy paparazzi, we’re the Super fans, we’re the ones who buy anything with a pretty girl in a bulletproof leotard on the cover. We’re the fuel that keeps the powers that be churning out Supers, be they Hero or Villain. We aren’t the grist, maybe, and we’re not the guiding hands, but we sure as hell are powering that endless persona mill.

Are you happy, knowing that your conspicuous consumption makes people like the Nightmare? Or the Mad Bombardier? Or hell, look at Edward Dinges, so lately one of us, so quickly one of them. Think about your impact for a moment, people. Think really hard.

***

I’m not your standard, run-of-the-mill, evil-genius Villain.

By many standards I wasn’t a Villain at all, not yet. I didn’t have a pithy crowd-sourced nickname that made people shudder with fear when they heard it in the news—the reporters just called me Edward Dinges. I didn’t have a big, flashy power-slash-mutation-slash-disfigurement that made kids stare and adults avert their eyes. I didn’t carry a weapon. I didn’t run my mouth at the cops and intimidate crowds of people with a single word, or run the heists of the century and not get caught, and I didn’t—I especially didn’t—get into fights with Heroes. That would be asking for more trouble than I could handle, at this point.

But even though I was no Big Bad Villain like my boyfriend didn’t mean I was passive in the face of a problem. And being stalked, to my mind, certainly counted as problematic. This wasn’t the first time I’d been followed in the six months since I’d been broken out of Abbott’s Penitentiary—otherwise known as the Abattoir—in rather dramatic style, but it was certainly one of the most blatant. Fortunately, I wasn’t unprepared for this eventuality. You couldn’t live in this part of Panopolis, far from the glitz and cleanliness and heavily policed presence of downtown, without learning a few tricks.

This was my first stalking without having Raul with me, though, and for all my preparations, I was still nervous. My hands bunched in my pockets, fisting and relaxing as I tried to control my breathing, act casual, act natural. I could do this. I could take care of myself; I didn’t need Raul to rescue me. More importantly, I didn’t have a choice—there was no turning around at this point, no running back home where I could lock myself away. I had a meeting to get to that I couldn’t afford to miss. Not if I wanted to stay sane.

I walked a little farther along the broken sidewalk, head mostly covered by my hoodie as I listened for my stalker’s position. Only three or four meters back, he slowed down, then stopped and ducked aside altogether when I bent over to feign retying my shoe. Yep, he was the real deal. Fortunately, there was nobody else out on the sidewalk at one in the afternoon, all the people who lived in these tenement houses either at work, at school, or inside where it was marginally safer.

I reached into my pocket and then laid a tiny, weblike array of wires with a tiny battery in the center on the ground, before getting up and resuming my steady pace. I waited until I was almost positive my stalker was in the radius of the trap before I triggered it with a button on my key fob.

Hkt—” There was the telltale sound of someone’s throat closing up, followed closely by a noisy thud. I sighed, then turned around and walked back to where my erstwhile stalker had fallen, his body still convulsing from the effects of the static taser. It was one of Raul’s inventions, notable because he’d worked out a way to get the shock to travel through the insulated sole of a person’s shoe, and because it could be remotely operated. I waited for the shocker’s battery to run out to grab the little taser and put it away. Once I’d made sure the guy was breathing okay, I rolled him onto his stomach and zip-tied his hands together.

“Hey.” I turned him back onto his side so we could see each other’s faces. “Well, this is an awkward way to meet someone for the first time.” My voice shook from the nerves I couldn’t quite get over, but hopefully he was too out of it to notice.


Buy Links

Riptide Publishing: Click Here

Amazon: Click Here


Author Bio

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing then because what else are you going to do for entertainment with no electricity? She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers and even normal people sometimes.

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