Jeff Thomason – Power Trip (a Wandering Koala tale)

Title: Power Trip (a Wandering Koala tale)

Author: Jeff Thomason

ISBN: 1-4563-3621-5

Page count: 234

Genre: Literary Science Fiction

Price: $15 Print; $4.69 eBook

 

Author Bio:

Jeff Thomason is the creator of the Cully Koala(TM) comic strip and the Wandering Koala(TM) tales. He has published one novel, illustrated two children’s books, provided covers for over a dozen titles, and written and drawn over a dozen comic books. This is his second novel.

Jeff’s dream has always been to be a rock star. Unfortunately, he can’t sing, he can’t dance, and he doesn’t look good in tight leather pants. So he decided to pursue his second dream and become a writer and artist.

When he isn’t working on his own creations, he also provides graphic design, web development, and illustrations for companies all over the country including Community Care; Southwest Specialty Foods, Inc.; World Prayer Room; Le Ritz Hotel & Suites; Big H Products, Inc; Galaxy Southwest; Mega Corporation; Members’ Auto Center; The Arizona Group; Jefferson School District 251; Double Your Decompression; the American Back Pain Association; the American Academy of Pediatrics; Playground Hound, LLC; the Idaho Perinatal Project; Gatsby’s Light Publications; and many others.

You can see more of his work at www.SkyFitsJeff.com.

 

Tell us about your book:

René thinks he’s hit the jackpot!

After six months of no luck following college, he finds the perfect job with excellent benefits at The Power Company doing what he graduated in.

But a newly hired manager has a mysterious agenda. Employees disappear with no warning, and René is caught in a massive explosion that leaves the city of 8 million without power during a record-breaking heat wave. Riots rage and fires burn as the city plunges into chaos, and René finds himself framed for sabotage.

Only the intervention of a silent wanderer can save him and the rest of the city from a deadly power trip.

 

How long did it take to write the book?

I’ve been working on it for two years. It started out as a 4-issue comic book mini-series, but after completing my first novel, I decided this one would work better as a novel, and it does.

 

What inspired you to write the book?

I’ve read a lot of business books like Blink, Outliers, Talent is Overrated, and Sway, and I’ve worked for several different companies in positions where I saw the inner workings. I was really interested in how ego caused so many people and businesses to fail. So I wrote a story that illustrates how that happens and how dire the consequences can be. Of course, to make an interesting story, I exaggerated slightly, but I was amazed at how little I had to make up and how much came from real life and real incidents.

 

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I started by brainstorming scenes and actions I thought would be interesting and then created a tight plot from that. I then hand wrote the first draft, then typed the second. I revised the manuscript several times and even hired an editor to go over it a couple of times. His input really helped improve the story. I then created nearly 20 original black & white illustrations and half a dozen digital paintings for the story, because I love pictures with stories.

 

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

I hope readers can see why things in the corporate world, or even government, happen and realize it isn’t one person that causes problems, but a whole bunch of individuals each pursuing their own agendas that causes the mess. I hope they will see some of the things they’re doing that contribute to problems and hopefully change them.

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

The print version is available from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and several other places. The eBook version is available for the Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, Android Devices, Sony eReader, and Kobo eReader in their respective stores. All eBook formats from Smashwords. Check out http://www.WanderingKoala.com/book02.php for a complete list and links.

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?

I loved Hardy Boys books growing up and wondered why there weren’t books like that for older readers, so I wrote one! Power Trip is an illustrated book featuring original color illustrations and black & white illustrations like the great classics from the 20th Century use to have.

http://www.WanderingKoala.com/book02.php

 

Excerpt from book:

Chapter Ten

Ray of Light

 

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, psychiatrist

 

When Carol left her home that afternoon to pick up her son from school and her daughter from daycare, she noticed her clock—which displayed indoor and outdoor temperature—read 123. She didn’t think much of it, because the number next to it was a comfortable 73. Plus, her SUV had a really good air conditioner.

She stepped thru the kitchen door leading into a cool garage. She clicked a button on her fob disarming the alarm then opened the door and climbed into the driver’s seat. A click of the remote and the garage door rolled up, letting in a blinding light. No worries—she had tinted windows and sunglasses. She backed out, preparing herself for the moderately heavy traffic she always battled at this time. But unless one of her kids had misbehaved at school or daycare (which they rarely did, because they liked to save the really big mischief for their parents), that would be the main source of stress for the day.

That was an hour and a half ago. That was before the power went out.

Now Carol sat in her SUV, air conditioning on full watching the temperature gauge rise and the fuel gauge fall. Instead of her usual 25-35 mile an hour pace, she was lucky to move 25 inches in an hour. Several people abandoned their cars, and she considered joining them but didn’t want her children in all that mayhem going on around them. No, she and her children were safer behind locked doors in a moving (sort of) vehicle.

She looked around at the terrible destruction on every side. If she didn’t know better, she would swear the riots had been going on for days. When people get together in mass, there seems to be no limit to what they can accomplish, as monuments from the past could attest: the Pyramids in Egypt and the Great Wall in China. Unfortunately, that same force could be turned towards less constructive ends, as Firebird was now witnessing.

“Mommy, I’m hot,” her daughter called from the backseat.

“I know, dear. I am too.”

“I’m bored. I want to go home.” Her daughter struggled against the straps of her car seat.

“I do too, honey, but the other cars aren’t moving so Mommy can’t move either.”

“Mommy, what are those men doing to our car?”

She checked the rear view mirror. A group of teens and post-teens in wife beaters and mustaches had surrounded the vehicle.

“Don’t worry about them, sweetheart. Mommy won’t let them hurt you.”

The ringleader tapped on her window. “Hola, Señora. Open the door, por favor.”

She gripped the steering wheel and looked forward. Her every instinct told her to call 911, but her brain reminded her the power was out, as was any chance of help arriving. Each passing second made her rethink her views on gun control as she wished she had something under the seat to protect her two children with.

One of the thugs lifted a crowbar into view, thrust it into the door seam, and started prying with a smile. Another hefted a brick above his head and stared straight into her eyes.

She knew what was coming. She knew nothing could stop it, but that didn’t stop her from praying for a miracle. She mouthed a silent ‘amen’ and the Wandering Koala landed on her hood, sais drawn.

The thug with a brick stepped back still holding the brick above his head. He looked to his numero uno for guidance.

The Wandering Koala backflipped off the hood and onto Hombre Crowbar, driving him to the ground. He side kicked Brick Boy cracking two ribs. Numero Uno waved, and two new bruisers appeared from behind the vehicle. One charged with a baseball bat and the other with a switchblade. The Wandering Koala ducked the bat and dodged the knife. His sai flashed thru the air and sent the blade flying into Numero Uno’s shoulder. He screamed and fell to the ground gripping the gash tightly so too much of himself wouldn’t spill on the ground. The Wandering Koala’s other sai drove thru the bat, covering the asphalt in a shower of splinters.

As quickly as her angel had come, he was gone. She said another silent prayer, this one of gratitude.

 

* * * * *

 

The Wandering Koala heard the whimpering of small children and scanned the area. They stood a few feet from an ice cream truck being rocked from side to side by a gang of twentysomethings. The driver sat in the cab shaking his fist and shouting words an ice cream man should not be using.

The truck finally landed on its side. One of the thugs pried the back door open and pulled out a box of push ups. He ripped the top off with his teeth and flung the treats to his buddies. The children’s mouths watered as they saw the lids come off and the ice cream appear. “Ice keam, ice keam,” one of the smaller tots called out.

“Go away you little $#@&. This here is DeShawn’s ice cream. If you ain’t one o’ his crew, you don’t get none.” He laughed. His cronies joined in.

He ate the frozen delight as loudly as he could. “Oh that was good. Mmmm. So refreshing on a hot day like this.” He opened his eyes and looked at the sobbing kids. “Would you like an ice cream? Would you?”

They brightened up.

“Ok, here ya go.” He tossed his empty tube on the ground in front of them. One of the kids ran and picked it up. He pushed the stick until it popped out the top, but all the ice cream was gone. DeShawn and his buddies laughed so hard they could barely stand.

DeShawn wiped the tears from his eyes. “We’re probably crying harder than the little kiddies are, only their tears are tears of—”

A fist shattered his jaw and sent him diving nose first into melting asphalt, searing the side of his face.

His buddies stopped laughing.

The Wandering Koala spin kicked another one into the underbelly of the truck, right hooked a third off his feet and onto his back, and roundhoused the last goon into the waiting arms of Morpheus.

One of the little kids looked up at him. “Mister, are you a superhero?”

Kyle smiled, ruffled the boy’s hair, and shook his head ‘no’.

The driver finally managed to pull himself out the passenger’s side window. He dropped to the ground, rubbed his lower back with a grunt, and then looked at the damage.

“My truck is ruined. My entire inventory will spoil, and I have to pay for it. I’m ruined. So much for ever getting ahead.”

Kyle tapped him on the back. He turned around to a fat roll of dead presidents. He slipped the rubber band off and counted them. Now he was crying.

Kyle climbed into the back of the truck and came out with several tubs of ice cream and a box of cones.

Brent arrived just as the last cone was scooped. Kyle handed it to him.

“Wow. Thanks.” He licked it a couple of times then took a bite. After he swallowed the vanilla and orange goodness, he looked up and saw other grateful faces. “No cry for help is too small for you to hear, is it?” He took another bite. “But we can’t save the entire city one person at time. It’s too big.”

Kyle pointed in a northeasterly direction.

“The power plant? What can we do there?”

Kyle smiled.

“How did I know you were going to say that? Remember that little conversation we had yesterday? I’m a theoretical physicist and an accountant. I am not a mechanic, engineer, or jack-of-all-trades as you seem to be. My talent is in the theoretical on paper, not the practical in real life.”

A gunshot ended their discussion as the Wandering Koala took off to save another soul.

 

* * * * *

 

A wannabe rapper in a white jogging suit crashed thru the window of an electronics store.

“Look at this sweet-A TV! It’ll look sick in my crib. Soon the Hollywood reporters’ll be knocking on my door wanting to put my pimped out pad on TV.” He smiled showing off his low-budget grill.

He ran into someone standing in the street.

“Yo, yo, dog, you’re in my way, see. I mean, what the h—”

The shock set in almost instantly so he didn’t feel his grill scrape the lining of his mouth or his head hit the pavement.

The Wandering Koala caught the TV before it struck the ground and returned it to its proper place.

 

* * * * *

 

Three more shots came from the gun of a middle-aged Korean proprietor standing outside his gated shop trying to scare several looters away.

One of the bandits with greasy skin taunted, “Hey, Chop Suey, just walk away and no one gets hurt.”

The shopkeeper fired another warning shot in the air then leveled the gun at Greasy Skin’s forehead.

But two other thugs grabbed him from behind. One wrestled the gun out of his hand and pointed it at his temple. “Who has the gun now, Chow Mein?” asked one of the bruisers with garlic breath so rancid the owner nearly lost his lunch. They rammed him against the gate covering the front door.

“There are two ways we can do this, Chopsticks. One involves giving your front door a new coat of paint; I’m thinking a nice Japanese red.”

The other hoodlums chuckled.

“The second leaves you black and blue, but still able to open a new shop. Which will it be?”

The owner closed his eyes. He felt the metal lattice dig into his cheek and break the skin. His heart pounded like it wanted to jump out of his chest. He savored the sensations, because he knew he wouldn’t be feeling them—or anything else—for long.

He waited for the thunderclap that would put an end to his dreams of owning his own chain of shops.

But instead of thunder he heard thuds and what sounded like painful grunts. He couldn’t feel the hand on the back of his head anymore. He opened his eyes, turned around, and saw Garlic Breath in a chokehold and Greasy Skin on the ground next to another thug.

He opened his mouth to warn his red sweatshirted savior about a metal pipe above his head, but Red Hooded Sweatshirt must have sensed it somehow, because he dropped down leaving Greasy Skin to take the full force of the blow. He popped up and sent Slugger to join Little Nemo in Slumberland with a right hook.

The Korean owner looked at Red Hooded Sweatshirt suspiciously. He was sure the only reason the new guy had beat up the other hoodlums was to keep the loot all to himself. He looked around for his gun but couldn’t see it. Maybe Garlic Breath was laying on it. He dove to the ground and flipped him over. It wasn’t there. He looked up. It was in the new guy’s hand, but the barrel wasn’t pointed at him but away from him with the handle towards him. Was the new guy handing him back his gun? He couldn’t be. It had to be a trick. No one helped anyone in this city—certainly not a stranger—and certainly not in a mess like this. Not even a madman would be so insane. What was his angle?

“Hold up a minute, *huh*,” Brent said coming around the corner. He bent over, putting one hand against the building and the other on his knee. “Can I get another bottle of  *huh* water? This heat is killing me. And can we *huh* stop for a minute and rest? Not all of us have the endurance of a triathlete.”

Kyle threw the gun to its owner. The shopkeeper caught it but kept his eye on Kyle as he took off his backpack and handed Brent a bottle covered in water droplets. He chugged it down in one gulp.

“Oh, that is so good. How many more do you have in there? Should we be rationing them?”

Kyle smiled and shook his head.

Brent looked up at the unsure shop owner. “Would you like a cold drink of water? I can’t imagine you’ve had one for a while.”

Kyle tossed him a bottle. He caught it with one hand, keeping the other on his gun. He brought it up to his eyes so he could examine it without taking his sights off the other two. He unscrewed the cap and sniffed it. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a lot of poisons were colorless and odorless. He searched Kyle’s eyes for any sign of deception but saw only perfect calm.

“How do you keep the water so cold?” Brent asked. “Do you have a refrigerator in there? And how come it still looks half full? I swear you’ve pulled at least a dozen bottles out for me. And aren’t you thirsty, or do you stop and drink when I’m not looking so I’ll think you’re superhuman?”

The shopkeeper sniffed the water again then dipped his tongue in. Didn’t taste like poison either.

Brent stood up. “It’s just water, but I can’t blame you for being suspicious. I probably would be too.” He threw his empty bottle in the garbage, and then turned to his friend. “Ok, I’m ready for round 12 or 29 or 120. I’ve lost count.”

Kyle and Brent turned and continued on their way. The shop owner watched them go. When they were about 50 feet away, he took a sip of the water. Oh, it tasted good. He’d been dying for something like that for hours, but couldn’t leave his shop. He shouted to the shrinking figures, “감사합니다,” which was Korean for thank you.

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John Whelan-Curtin – The Way: Genesis

Title: The Way: Genesis

Author: John Whelan-Curtin

Page count: Ebook…

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Price: $3.49

 

Author Bio:

I have been writing for as long as I can remember.  I currently like in a cottage in Ireland with my fiancée and a small army of pets.

 

Tell us about your book:

The book is a little tough to break down.  The story follows Gray, the main character.  As the story opens Gray is the adopted son of Noah, the crime-boss of all crime-bosses.  Gray has a single passion in life: trying to find the man who killed his brother so he can take revenge.  From there his life completely falls apart as he discovers conspiracy after conspiracy that he is the centre of.  His whole sense of reality begins to shatter as he descends into a world of vampires, strange powers and the most ancient conspiracies.

To those who are a bored with the vampire genre, this is not a vampire novel.  They do feature strongly in the story, but the book is not about them.

 

How long did it take to write the book?

That’s a tough one, how long does it actually take to write a book?  The click-clacking at the keyboard part only took about six weeks and maybe another two weeks for editing.  The idea and planning for the entire series has been in the works for years now.

 

What inspired you to write the book?

There are so many great books out there, both traditionally and indie, that it’s become almost impossible to pick up readers without providing something entirely new.  The Way series is the product of actually recycling plans I had for more than six different series and combing the best elements from each of them to produce what I hope is a completely new and exciting story.

 

Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?

I do have a writing routine, or at least I try.  What I find actually happens is that I will get into some real momentum.  When that happens I’ll spend every free minute working on the existing project.  My upcoming novelette, Harry’s Story, was put together in the space of two or three days from conception to completion.

 

What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

An unquenchable desire to buy everything else I write?

 

Where can we go to buy your book?

Amazon, smashwords and a host of other platforms.  Kindle users can get the book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Way-Genesis-ebook/dp/B005H7LO1K  , and everyone else can find a format that will suit their ereader here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/81142 .

 

Any other links or info you’d like to share?
My blog will probably be fully up and running by the time you read this, and you might like to take a peek.  It might also be worth your while checking out my other books

 

Excerpt from book:

Chapter 13

The vampire was looking at me.  He was dressed as the other biker’s had been a few nights ago.  This one seemed different, though.  Less something… I suppose he would best be described as less sentient.  He just stood and looked at me as though I represented some special kind of curiosity.

“You…” he said, almost entranced, “your blood can fill me.”

Well, I didn’t really need to hear any more.  I levelled my pistol at him and the gun roared three times.  Blood erupted from the creature chest but it didn’t even budge from the impact.  Van Helsing groaned at its feet.

The beast looked at me a moment longer and then launched itself forward, almost flying more than leaping.  I gasped and fired again.  This time the gun erupted and a column of fire leapt from the barrel.  It struck the monster when it was only feet from me and the entire creature exploded.

I stood, perplexed, stunned and awed as pieces of gore struck the ground all around me.

Van Helsing staggered to his feet and fixed me with his now bleary eyes, “you know the way youngster?”

I had no words no give him but my confusion seemed to answer him.

“Not to worry, we’d best get moving.  Do you have car keys for me youngster?”

Still dumbfounded I fumbled for the keys to the Lamborghini.  He swept them from my hand and took me by the shoulder.  When we were at the end of the alley he put both hands of my shoulders and told me to stay put.  He ran back to corpses and when he returned to me they were ablaze.

“Alright youngster let’s go.”

Perhaps an hour had passed before I came to my senses.  I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car.  We were parked in, of all places, the parking lot of a Wal-Mart.  Van Helsing was sedately rolling a cigarette in the driver’s seat.

“What was that?” I asked, finally.

“That, youngster, was the first of many moments for you, I think.  Besides the whole saving of my life that you just accomplished I think it would be best for both you and I that I share some knowledge with you.  Ask me straight questions and I will give you straight answers.”

“Are… are vampires real?”

Van Helsing looked at me for a moment and lit the cigarette, “I said ask straight questions youngster, not stupid ones.  Of course they’re real, don’t tell me you’re blind as well as clueless.”

“Did… did they kill my brother?”

“Well I can’t tell you that, boy.  You’d best hope they killed him because if they didn’t you might meet him again and you don’t look like you have the steel to blow your own brother apart.”

I looked at him and didn’t speak for a moment, “what did I do to that last one?”

“Well youngster, that’s not really a straight question.  I think I’m not the best man to be explaining that to you.  I know the way, but not so well as others do.  I can put you in touch with someone who can teach you more.”

“Please” I muttered, “please do.”

Van Helsing shook his head, “not yet youngster.  You have a little contemplating to do first.  You have some learning to do of your own.  Here.”

He gave me a card that had a landline number scrawled on it.

“You call that number and the lady on the other end of the line can arrange for us to meet again.  I think I had best leave you.  You’ll be safe now.”

I stared at him as he slid the door open, “why can’t you explain what happened with my gun, with the fire?”

“Ah youngster, I can’t, truly I can’t.  I don’t know the way well enough to explain it to another.  I have a friend who can.  I know it is difficult for you now, the world is changing before your eyes.  But don’t worry, you’ll find a teacher just like I did.”

I shook my dazed brain in my dazed head and looked at him, “who teaches things like this?  I need to know more.”

Van Helsing smiled, “that’s good.  And you will.  I know a man who can help you learn.  I learned from another, but he doesn’t take students any more.  A giant of a man by the name of Noah.”

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