Blood Games – Episode 8

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

MY HANDS WERE CLENCHED in fists as I watched the fire burn. People were sure to die just as they had during the Market Street and old Diggon headquarters bombings. It was with grim satisfaction that I thought of how I’d foiled Reed’s plans for Reading Market.

I wished I could have figured out his plan today and somehow stopped it. I was too limited in what I could do alone.

Reed had been going out of his way to minimize the death count but one person more would have been too much. There wouldn’t be just one death today. I feared dozens would lose their lives. I could see ambulances on the other side of the fire. 

It fanned the flames of my rage, making me wish I had Reed at hand so I could throttle him until he no longer breathed. He would use this fire just like he’d used all the other incidents to further cement the children to him and his cause.

Once I caught up to Margaret and Benji, it was going to be difficult to get them to recognize Reed had been behind all this death and mayhem. I doubted they ever would. They weren’t going to take that message from me.

What did Reed hope to gain from all this destruction? Why turn his focus to his own company? At first, I’d thought he’d just been trying to prove his value to Peck. After taking down the old Diggon headquarters and giving Peck a black eye for his refusal to turn over any information on me before the Reading Market incident, I’d decided he’d been trying to drive down the price of Diggon’s shares. He’d been successful for a time, but that was short lived because Spectrum downloads had shot to the top of the charts. 

It didn’t make any sense for Reed to target DataRader. I figured Reed was insane but had thought there would be a method to his madness.


Blood Games – Episode 7

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

AS I WALKED AWAY from Kris, I noticed that the people on the street seemed quieter than normal. I pulled out my smartphone which–was still on, even though I knew better–to see if Spectrum had noticed my presence and sent out an alert.

It had not. I was in the clear.

Most people were still talking while going about their business but they also kept looking about as if expecting something to happen.

It was a sign of our times that word of the threat had spread so quickly. It hadn’t been more than ten minutes since Jolene had walked in with the video, but it seemed everybody knew of it. Or had at least picked up on the increased tension of those around them.  

I passed a bench with people waiting for a bus, several of whom were viewing the video on a phone with the sound turned all the way up. Others had crowded in from all sides to see what it was about. As I looked away from them I tried to keep the fear from showing on my face but it was difficult.

There was little more than makeup, a few strips of latex, and a hat keeping me from being recognized.

I was surrounded by people who had a fresh image of my face in their mind. As I passed a man who stood with his back up against a light post I noticed he’d just opened the Spectrum app. He hadn’t looked at me so I figured I was in the clear, he was just checking.

Peck’s network of ears was growing exponentially because of the new threat.

Blood Games – Episode 6

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I WENT TO THE conference room door intent on getting out of the building as quick as possible. Why was Reed taking aim at his own company? He had just changed his strategy, and I needed to figure out why.

The statement from the fake me that DataRader had been naughty made me think Reed was about to aim a terrorist attack at his own company. It was a bold move that made me wonder about his motives.

I had assumed he had targeted Diggon to push down the price of their shares to leverage a better deal for the acquisition. Which made sense if they’d planned to pay him in stock.

He was upping the ante by attacking his own company. Was he trying to direct suspicion away from him? The thought resonated with me. If I were him, it was what I would do if somebody were getting close to figuring out what I was doing.

His efforts hadn’t worked on me. And I hadn’t even done him damage. That meant I might not be the only person who was on to him. If there were somebody else that suspected Reed, they’d hopefully be smart enough to see through the ruse.

Or maybe he’s trying to get some free publicity of his own? I wondered. I’d have to check the popularity of his FaceRec app. This could just be an effort to goose lackluster downloads.

I liked to think there was somebody else out there working on getting at Reed. If I could team up with such a person, we’d have a better chance of taking him down.

All I have to do is get close enough to put a bullet in his head, I thought as I grabbed the door handle. 

“Who’s behind this, Jake?” Kris asked, latching onto my arm and trying to pull me back into the room. I shook her off me. “I don’t know.”

“You have your suspicions,” Maxine said. It wasn’t a question.


Blood Games – Episode 5

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

KRIS GAVE ME A toothy smile that lacked even the hint of an apology for the deception. Not only that, she was enjoying the moment. Every single time she’d referred to her boss she had always acted as if she were speaking of a man. Even right before we’d come into this office, Kris had still been intent on maintaining the lie. I had noticed a slight hesitation but had thought it was nothing.

“You should have told me,” I muttered under my breath.

“What difference does it make?”

I frowned, looking her in the eyes. “How can I trust somebody who lies to me?”

Why would Kris do this? Had she thought I’d be less likely to come if I’d known she worked for a woman? I hadn’t wanted to come at all, it wouldn’t have mattered if her boss was a circus monkey who flipped pancakes. 

“Don’t be angry with her, Jake,” the woman said. “Kris did as I wanted. There are reasons for the deception, I assure you. She was following orders.”

I shook my head, not sure what to say or even what to think.

“I don’t like being lied to. False pretenses don’t sit well with me.”

The woman smiled. “I wanted to force you to come in. Kris talked me out of it.”

“Smart,” I said. “You would have had to disarm me. That’s when I’m at my most dangerous.”

Kris kicked my foot, and I caught her muttering something about pointless macho bravado. That had nothing to do with it. I was telling the truth. Put me in a corner, and my claws came out. Lucky for them I still had my weapons. And they hadn’t tried to take them away.



Blood Games – Episode 4

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

THE SILENCE IN THE car became awkward while I decided how to respond to Kris’ demand. I wasn’t surprised she was using my current situation as leverage but I could have avoided it altogether. It had been a mistake to get into her car but I’d been presented with an easy option. I’d taken it before I had a chance to consider all the consequences.

The driver looked at me in the rearview mirror, trying to gauge my reaction to her words. He had blonde hair and was pushing fifty. The muscles of his arms bulged when he turned the wheel. He had thirty pounds on me.

I checked behind us to make sure we weren’t being followed. Everything had happened so quickly that I’d expected to see a black Suburban behind us.

“Do you have real plates on this truck?” I asked. “Are they going to track you?”

“Don’t worry, Jake. We’re not a fly by night organization.” She gave me a wry smile. “You weren’t able to track me, were you?”

If I would have known you would take advantage of me, I thought, I would have tried much harder. My attempts to follow her had not been thorough. I’d done it to see how well she protected herself as much as anything.  

I spent several minutes focusing on my breathing to keep my anger at bay, it was swarming in my chest like a hive of bees that had just been kicked over. Most of it wasn’t directed at Kris. A portion was aimed at myself but the rest was for Reed and how close his people had come to me.

Still, after everything that had happened, he was trying to persuade me to join him. It didn’t make any sense; especially, considering how he was using fake videos of me to manipulate public opinion.

New Series Announcement and Cover Reveal

The time has come to reveal the new series I teased in my most recent newsletter: Dead Man’s War, featuring the first novel, Dead Man’s Game!

Dead Man’s Game will be published on May 23, 2019.

Stay tuned. As we get closer I will share sample chapters.

Blood Games – Episode 3

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

IT SEEMED AS THOUGH an eternity passed while I considered how to respond to the cop’s order, but it wasn’t more than a second or two. I wouldn’t say I’d become used to walking past police officers, but my disguises had allowed me to do that multiple times.

Part of my hesitation was because I was surprised he’d stopped me. He had his hand on his holstered pistol but hadn’t yet removed it. Perhaps he didn’t have a reason to suspect me and was just being cautious. 

I dropped my bag and raised my hands. My heartbeat thudded inside my chest, and sweat trickled down the small of my back, but I thought I was doing a skillful job of keeping it all from reflecting on my face.

“What’s wrong, officer?” I allowed a little bit my alarm to creep into my voice but stamped down the rest. A regular citizen in this situation would be concerned, but he hadn’t pulled a gun or made any accusations. “Is everything okay?” I nodded to the bag. “Please feel free to look inside. I’ve got nothing to hide, just headed home from work.”

Nothing but my disguises, pistols, a grenade, and the ammo to go with it, I thought. If the cop did decide to go through it, I’d have to respond quickly. Even with my newly found boundaries, I wasn’t going to hurt innocent people. If I couldn’t hold myself to that, then I was no better than Peck or Reed.

“Can you remove your sunglasses?” he asked.

I did and gave him a weak smile, trying to look non-threatening. Goofy even. He shook his head. “Okay, you can go.”

I had expected him to take my picture and submit it to FaceRec.

“You don’t want a look in my bag?” I made no move to pick it up, making sure to sell it.

“Negative. Be careful, we have a known terrorist in the area. You see anything suspicious, give us a call.” He left before I could respond.

I allowed a small smile to creep onto my face as he disappeared into the park. The makeup may have been a pain, but this made it all worth it. As soon as I could, I would duck into another restroom, and make a few subtle changes to my face. I wore a long sleeve shirt, so if I took off my jacket, I wouldn’t look out of place in the cold.

Wanting nothing more than to run, I forced myself down to a fast walk. The officer had said a terrorist was in the area so a quick pace away was what an average person would do.

I snorted. An average person would run, but I didn’t want to risk it.

Blood Games – Episode 2

This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

THE RAIN HAD SUBSIDED to a sprinkle and the thunderstorm had disappeared. I’d lost count of the number of blocks I’d gone, but the rough weather had been working for me, keeping people more interested in where they were going than who they were passing. The change meant it was time to do something about my disguise. I’d been lucky to have made it so far but my window had closed.

The loss of time would hurt but I didn’t see a way around it.

Gritting my teeth, I stopped in a mall bathroom. When I looked in the mirror, I wasn’t surprised to see my disguise had washed away.

Lucky indeed, I thought.  

I checked over my shoulder, half expecting a squad of cops to follow me in. Seconds ticked by while nothing happened. I shook my head and tried to force away my paranoia. Unfortunately, it did little to lessen the tension I felt in my chest.

Muttering, I used a paper towel to dry the rainwater from my face, wiping off the last remnants of my disguise. I’d just started on a new one when somebody entered the bathroom. I hid my face and went as calmly as I could into a stall, acting like I’d already been headed in that direction.

Had he recognized me?

I half-expected him to leave without using the facilities. I’d be right behind him if he did.

When he settled into a stall, I suppressed a sound of exasperation. I had hoped he’d be quick and leave me alone again in the bathroom.

Blood Games – Episode 1


This week’s episode features a chapter from Blood Games, Jake Ramsey Book #3, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

LIGHTNING TORE THROUGH THE sky, and it was followed by thunder. I wiped the rain off my face, squinting as I ran towards the cab Ronald Essler had just disappeared into. My messenger bag bounced off my back and slid against my waist. Using an elbow I pushed it back into place.

A man stepped in front of me and I was unable to keep from colliding into him, so I put my shoulder down and barreled into his side. He went careening into the crowd with a shout of indignation but I was already beyond him.

Others turned to look.

“Move!” I said to a black woman with short hair.

“You!” She said. “You’re that terrorist.”

Cursing, I touched the latex on my face and discovered it had come free. I tossed it to the side. I’d been holding onto hope that the rain hadn’t washed away my disguise, so much for that.

I pushed my way past her without speaking, hoping she’d let it go but knowing it wasn’t likely. She had plenty of tools to report my presence. It seemed like everybody had one of those Spectrum apps installed on their phone since Reading Market.

How was I supposed to know the whole thing had been caught on camera? Not the kids, of course, or any of the audio, just me shooting Sam.

In cold blood.

I’d do it again, given the opportunity. I just regretted the whole world had seen me do it. DataRader had used the release of the video to announce FaceRec, their facial recognition product that connected to any video feed. It came equipped with Wi-Fi and would pass any alerts into DataRader’s monitoring system. Reading Market had been part of a beta test, and Sam had been a member of the DataRader team which responded to an alert about my presence.

Or so the story went.

Reed had made the announcement himself, tones all somber, his eyes burning with the desire for justice. It had made great television, and he’d had free press coverage for days. Their stock had gone through the roof. Diggon had managed to save some face, but investors hadn’t liked the risk the fake me posed and had been selling it off, even though Spectrum was being downloaded in record numbers. It was at the top of the charts on all platforms. Before long I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere in the country and not have somebody’s phone listening for me.

Dark Spectrum – Episode 29

This week’s episode features a chapter from Dark Spectrum, Jake Ramsey Book #2, the first book Black Brick is available as a free ebook from most ebook vendors. Here is an excerpt from the show:

I FROZE, SHIFTING MY pistol behind my back so it wasn’t obvious to the children I was armed. I had expected to find kids who’d lost their way and had planned to usher them after Deon.

Margaret and Benji were the last people I’d expected to find here. I’d never considered Reed would already be putting them into the field.

Even Beltran hadn’t put us into anything live until after each of us had turned eighteen, a fact I’d never thought about until now. Now that I’d come face to face with Benji and Margaret, I wondered what else Reed might be capable of doing. If he could send children into harm’s way…

The two were talking and didn’t look up at me. They both wore bulky jackets that had plenty of room to hide any number of weapons.

I swore under my breath and was about to step out of view when Margaret looked up. She stopped Benji with an arm. He followed her eyes to me. I was surprised to see recognition on both their faces. First Sam and now them.

How had they known it was me?

Despite all my precautions, DataRader had still somehow managed to track me. This was more than just Spectrum. Perhaps they knew where I lived or they had cameras with facial recognition technology all over the city. I was going to have to make some significant changes.

Benji muttered something I couldn’t make out but neither was surprised to see me. Despite the apparent fear on both their faces, they both looked to be considering what they should do.

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