Profile: Guerra

Guerra is the wildcard in my upcoming novella, “Rise or Die.” He’s a seventeen-year-old warlord in conflict-ravaged Brazil, forged in the crucible of deadly asymmetric warfare since he was four years old. He’s got more bonafide combat hours than most soldiers ever see in a lifetime. Now there’s two separate groups chasing each other through the territory he controls, a band of art thieves and the Brazilian military units chasing them. Aren’t they going to be surprised when they meet Guerra?

By the way, Guerra means “War” in Portuguese.

As an exercise, I often start off by writing a profile for each major character in a story. Here’s the profile for Guerra, a dangerous, homegrown warlord. He’s 17 years old, 5’6″ and 125 pounds.


Guerra

Profile: GuerraI don’t remember my parents. I was maybe four when a war band killed my village. What I remember most was the heat and the tears and the screams and the smell of cooking meat. They burned everything and then they took me and some of the other children, maybe ten or twelve of us, with them into the jungle. I did what I was told to do, because that was how you survived.

None of the others from my village lived more than a year. They weren’t tough enough. Me, I took my first life before I was five. Turns out, I was good at killing. Really good.

Knives. Guns. It didn’t matter. If I could lift it, I could kill with it.

But it was like I saw things different from everyone else. Enemies don’t just walk in front of your gun, especially if they got guns, too. You got to arrange for them to be where you want them. I was good at that, too. Really good.

I’m not a child no more. I’m too dangerous. I’m a threat to the ones above me. In the jungle, you kill threats. I want to live, but I got to become something else to do it. I got people depending on me now.

I’ll paint the jungle red with blood if I have to.

It’s rise or die.

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Monday Mashup: Doc Savage vs. Terminator

Doc Savage vs. Terminator Today’s mashup is a fake book cover featuring the inimitable pulp hero, Doc Savage, vs. the Terminator, from the famous movie franchise.

Doc Savage was featured in his own magazine in the 1930s and 1940s, a response to a similar magazine featuring the Shadow. All of the Doc Savage stories were later reprinted by Bantam in the 1960s and 1970s (when I encountered them). More novels have been sporadically published in the years since the Bantam reprintings.

Doc Savage is a heroic figure of a man, trained since birth to be extraordinary, both mentally and physically. From his headquarters in the Empire State Building, He fights crime with the help of an oddball crew of five unusual men.

The Terminator, of course, was sent back in time at the behest of Skynet, an Artifical Intelligence that decides to use time travel to eliminate its enemies.

Wouldn’t it be cool if Doc Savage, the so-called Man of Bronze, fought against the Terminator? I’d certainly buy that book.

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Profile: Carlitos Paiva

Carlitos Paiva is the villain in my upcoming novella, “Rise or Die.” In 2214, he and his hand-picked unit are military advisors in Brazil during a long, long civil war. Unfortunately, he’s working for the losing side. His employer, General Diego, needs his help in arranging a strategic exit to a luxurious life in exile funded by a cache of stolen artwork. However, somebody is trying to steal that cache from both Paiva and Diego. That’s a bad idea.

As an exercise, I often start off by writing a profile for each major character in a story. Here’s the profile for Carlitos Paiva, international mercenary and military advisor. He’s 42 years old, 5’9″, 217 pounds and has close-crapped black hair and a salt-and-pepper beard.


Carlitos Paiva

Profile: Carlitos PaivaI just follow the money. I’ve got some specialized skills that are in high demand. The downside is I have to travel to some of the most God-forsaken spots on this planet to exercise them. Like Brazil in the middle of their damned civil war.

You can call me a mercenary, if it makes you feel better.

Security services, corporate extraction, tactical decommissioning, military consulting—I provide whatever the client needs. I’ve got a team that I regularly work with and a boatload of mil-grade gear, plus I can field larger units with sufficient lead time for recruiting and training. It’s a profitable, albeit dangerous business, but one that I’m well prepared for thanks to my military experience.

One big score, though, could push me over the top.

I’m good, but the years are catching up. Tech only makes up for so much. One big payday and I’m running Paiva Security Services from a corner office somewhere. Living the high life and sending others into the field and raking in money without personal risk. This thing in Brazil could be just the ticket.

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The Whispering Voice

Khalish, the God of the Forlorn Hope I just finished a new short story, around 6400 words, called “The Whispering Voice.” I’m submitting it for the anthology, “Second Round: A Return to the Ur-Bar,” edited by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray (wish me luck). It’s a sequel to the original anthology, “After Hours: Tales from the Ur-Bar,” which appeared in 2011 from DAW Books, by the same editors.

The Ur-Bar is a magical bar that appears in different cities throughout history, with Gilgamesh, the legendary warrior king, as the eternal bartender. He’s cursed by the gods, having achieved immortality but remaining trapped within the confines of the bar.

Each story has to feature the Ur-Bar in some significant fashion. My story explains what happens when a woman with an insoluble problem meets the long forgotten, has-been god of forlorn hopes.

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Foreclosure

Here’s a Halloween story called “Foreclosure,” which was created according to some very exacting microfiction rules. It tells a complete Halloween story in just 101 words, including the title.

Foreclosure: A Halloween Story in Just 101 Words

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Profile: Emily Dunkirk

Emily Dunkirk is the lead character in my upcoming novella, “Rise or Die.” In 2214, she’s an art curator working for the Monumentalists, an international organization devoted to rescuing the world’s lost and stolen artworks. The organization is a successor to the Monuments Men Foundation, originally formed in World War II to find and preserve artwork stolen by the Nazis.

She’s leading a dangerous mission to rescue the One World Exhibit, a traveling art exhibition promoting world peace that had gone missing thirty-two yard before in Brazil upon the advent of World War III and the Time of Troubles that followed.

As an exercise, I often start off by writing a profile for each major character in a story. Here’s the profile for Emily Dunkirk, the leader of the mission. She’s 34 years old, 5’8″, 130 pounds and has long brown hair.


Emily Dunkirk

Profile: Emily Dunkirk I think I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember. I came by it naturally. My father was a museum director and my mother was a graphic artist with a passion for Renaissance paintings. She’d always talk about famous paintings as if they were people, like they spoke to her, made her feel new emotions, showed her the world in different ways. Her favorite painting was the Mona Lisa, so one day I asked if I could see it.

She got this strange expression on her face. Then she told me that I could see a picture of it, but not the real thing. The real painting had been destroyed in the Paris Flash, a mini-nuclear bomb that had destroyed much of that city when I was just a baby. I recall being devastated, like something beautiful, and profound, had been expunged from the world.

For a long time after that, I was determined to become an artist. A painter, of course. But, though I had many talents, alas, painting was not one of them. At least not at the level I aspired to reach.

I found myself majoring in Art History in college. If I couldn’t be an artist, then at least I could choose a career that would leave me surrounded by fine art. I envisioned a future in which I might come to work in museums like my father. I certainly had the aptitude, and the connections.

Then I was invited to do restoration work on a batch of paintings that had been rescued by the Monumentalist Foundation. The paintings had disappeared, like thousands of other works of fine art, during the Third World War (really, more of a global meltdown) and the lengthy Time of Troubles that had followed it. The Monumentalists had followed the trail and retrieved the stolen paintings (and some statues), but so many more works were still missing.

That was really the start of it all. I knew the Mona Lisa was gone, but there so many other works that could still be rescued. I knew I had to help somehow. And that’s basically how I ended up more than a thousand miles up the Amazon and in the middle of Brazil’s unending civl war.

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Three Hoarsemen Interview

The Three Hoarsemen Podcast Donna Royston, Martin Wilsey and I were interviewed a week ago for Episode 44 of the Three Hoarsemen podcast. We got to discuss our anthology, Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders, in our various roles as editors or, in Marty’s case, as the publisher (Tannhauser Press) of the volume.

Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders We had a lot of fun being interviewed. We got to talk about the anthology, our other works, Tannhauser Press and a few other subjects. The podcast is an hour and forty-two minutes long. If you want to skip forward to our interview, we’re at the 1:07:48 mark.

I especially liked their name for the episode. Since they also discussed the movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, earlier in the podcast, the title they chose was: “Fantastic Defenders of the Guardians of the Galaxy.”

I think that has a nice ring to it.

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Selected as Ebook Deal by SF Signal

SF Signal: Ebook Deal Hey, this is awesome! My new anthology, Worlds Enough: Fantastic Defenders, has been selected and publicized as an SF Signal Ebook Deal. How cool is that?

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Zombie Anthology

Whispers of the ApocI’ve been invited to participate in a new zombie anthology called Whispers of the Apoc, edited by Martin Wilsey. I’m even consulting on the bible for the anthology, because one of Marty’s goals is for the anthology to share a common, consistent background.

For more details on the anthology, check out the notice on Marty’s blog. The book is being published through Tannhauser Press.

For me, well, that short-circuited my (crazy) plan to publish a zombie story in installments on my web site (see Manhattan Zombies, which I’m renaming as SkyriZe). Getting paid trumps free installments on my blog. Um, sorry.

So, bring on the zombie apocalypse!

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The Good Book

Wooohooo! My novelette The Good Book is being published in May by Tannhauser Press, in both print and ebook formats. The full wraparound cover appears below:

The Good Book by David Keener

The print layout and ebook were done by Worlds Enough. The cover was done by Don Anderson, based on an unattributed, public domain photograph.

Note: (5/12/17) This book is now available on Amazon in both print and ebook formats.

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