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Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Deleted Scene from Caught

One of the issues I had with the last draft of Caught was the scope was too big for the size of the book.  Like most writers, my story tends to grow in the telling.  I fall in love with characters, so I want to give them more air time.  The problem this creates is the reader then wants more time.  Dom and Kira are, quite frankly, awesome.  They’ll be featured in Caught’s sequel, which I plan to begin writing some time next year.  The problem is, as awesome as they are, it’s not their book.  They’re secondary characters in this portion of the trilogy.

Just because a scene isn’t right for a book doesn’t mean it’s not great content though.  This is cannon. It may be a little rough, as it’s from a draft of the book, it did happen.  I just had to pull this out to limit the viewpoints in the book and help the book flow better.

This used to be in Chapter 8.  A special operations team is about to assault a rouge military compound.  Kira and Dom are the other half of the team.  There’s a scene break here, which jumps forward in time.  The other two members of the team are doing cool stuff.  That part is still (probably) going to make it into the book.  There aren’t any real spoilers here, so no worries.  It just allows me to present to you some part of the book I’m still hoping to put out in a few months.

Caught

From her and Dom’s position to the south of the warehouse, Kira took slow, regular breaths.  Looking through the night-vision scope of her PSG-1 sniper rifle, she had the north tower’s look-out lined up.  Dom, working as her spotter, helped her set up.  She knew her M-4 would be just to her left.  Dom was good like that.  Once you told him how you wanted a weapon to work and how you wanted it placed, Dom made it that way every time.  Now it was just the minor miracle of hitting her target just before the EMP went off.

“Fifteen seconds,”Dom whispered.  “Four knots, coming west.”

She gave her target a little room to the left to account for the wind.  Focusing her thoughts, she lightly squeezed the trigger.  Five seconds.  Press…press…press..pr-POP!  She saw the spray of red mist flow out from her target just as she heard the rifle fire.

“Hit,”Dom said matter of factly as he flipped off his scope

“Go dark,”she whispered over the radio, turning off her scope.

She only just managed to turn it off before a blue light blossomed from the north.  It wasn’t overly large.  From her vantage point, it looked about the size of a basketball.  That gave her about one minute to take down one more target.  No pressure.

They had worked out her targets ahead of time, and Dom was already giving her wind velocity.  “Three knots coming west.”

She turned her scope back on and scanned east to her nearest target, who was already making his way down the steps.  He reacted quickly, which was smart.  Leading her target and adjusting for wind, she put him down before he could reach the platform between his tower and the ground.

“Hit,”Dom said again.  He had a way of making the most impressive feat sound like something any cross-eyed 2-year-old could do.

The compound exploded with activity.  There were no alarms, which meant Brandon’s little toy had worked, but that didn’t keep the company guarding the place from reacting.  They’d planned for it.  The general was nothing if not prepared.  Too much to hope they’d have an easy time of it.

They scurried toward exits, probably trying to mobilize the Humvees parked a few hundred yards from the compound.

“Go,”She said.

“Moving,”Dom barked as he grabbed up his gear, his own M-4 and her PSG-1, and ran east.

Kira switched over to her M-4 and used short, controlled, bursts to provide Dom enough cover fire to move to his secondary position.  It was up to Steve and Brandon to infiltrate the perimeter.  She and Dom would do what they could from their positions.

*  *  *

Something, in Dom’s opinion, was wrong.  Oh sure there were plenty of decently trained corrupted traitors dying in the team’s containment zone, but not enough.  Not that Dom was anxious to kill.  He had switched over to the PSG-1, and one man trying to reach the east tower died in Dom’s sights a moment before the bastard could climb behind a M-240-B machine gun.

No, it wasn’t that he wasn’t killing enough.  It was the fact that there weren’t enough men reacting to the assault to account for an entire company. “East side clear,”he barked into his headset.

“South side clear,”Kira said.

“Go,”he replied.

Switching back to his M-4, Dom kept his scope to his eye scanning the area.  He heard Kira’s footsteps as she passed him.  He started laying short controlled bursts of fire anywhere he saw potential threats.  Kira dove behind a barrel.  She raised up a hand, four slender fingers straight up.  He stayed in position and continued his cover as she reloaded.  She started shooting in the blink of an eye.  The woman worked weapons faster than anyone on the team, except for himself of course.  He couldn’t actually see her blue eyes, but he felt her wink at him.  She’d tease a man in the middle of armageddon.

He reloaded his own M-4 and moved to her position.  The large thirty-gallon barrel looked fairly small, unless you needed it for cover.  Filled with rocks, it made as good a place to hunker down behind as any.

“I know.  There’s not enough man power-out there,”Kira said.

Dom opened his mouth to suggest she see where the rest of the enemy company was, but she cut him off.

“Steve said no Delta Techs.”

That was the end of that.  Nothing to do but continue the plan.  Step three:  Infiltrate the east side and flank the enemy.  “Moving!”Dom shouted.  He heard her resume her cover fire moments before bringing his rifle to his shoulder and charging to the base of the large metal swinging gate that marked the compound’s entrance.  Suddenly, a rumble erupted from the largest building in the compound.  It had a lot of square footage, but it was too low to the ground to be a hangar in Dom’s opinion.  Flames burst out of what few windows the building had.

Dom reacted on instinct, ripping off his ocular to keep the night vision from blinding him in the blast.  He instinctively stepped to the side to cover Kira.  She shoved him back.

“I’m fine,”she barked.  Oh she didn’t like the idea of any man protecting her, even with actual bullets flying and the possibility that she might be blinded by the explosion.  “My eye is closed, Breach.  I’ll switch the damn thing off in a moment.”

Dom began laying fire down.  The rest of what Dom was sure comprised the enemy company began charging out of every exit in the building.  Go to work!  he told himself.  Everyone had their skills, but Dom was, in fact, the best at this.  He literally put every one of the team’s weapons together, and he could use every one better than any other team member.

Dom put a .556 round into one asshole’s forehead before thumbing his selector lever to Full using fully-automatic fire to keep the bastards suppressed.  It was horrible.  The plan was perfect for any normal company.  But what asshole would order his company to burn the building down before they could secure their exit?  What morons would actually follow that insane order?

Caught is anticipated to be released in the fall of 2016

Interview with C.L. Schneider

Cover Reveal and Interview with C.L. Schneider

Not to long ago, I was slipping along the fiberoptic pathways of the interverse and came upon a cover that stopped me cold in my high-speed tracks.  It was a stunning image of a man who knelt while holding a crown of stones.

I complimented the image.  The author tweeted back.  I liked the cover so much, I decided to give the book a try.  This is a habit of mine going back a few years.  Since then, Cindy and I have become friends.  I read Magic Price, and posted a review here not too long ago.  I’m glad I found her and her book when I did, as book three is days away.  I hate waiting for sequels, and having a new series to read gives me motivation in a lot of ways.  In celebration, she’s shared her cover with me to show off, and also took the time to answer a few questions.

I review books.  I’ve said before I only tend to read authors I like.  I don’t hyperbolize, and I don’t promote authors I don’t think well of.  Cindy’s world is expansive, creative, and, most importantly to me, filled with compelling, proactive characters.  It is with great pride I present to you the cover for Magic Borne, the final book in the Crown of Stones Trilogy.

Cover Reveal Magic-Borne

Interview with Author C.L. Schneider

1) Now that the trilogy is over, what are your feelings? 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel accomplished. Yet, ending The Crown of Stones trilogy has also been very bittersweet. I admit I teared up a few times while I was writing this last book of the trilogy. These characters have been a part of my life for a long time. I know them as well as I know myself, which made writing their dialogue not only feel effortless, but incredibly fun. At the time same time, I need to move on. There are many other worlds out there waiting for me to create and explore. The closer I get to the release of Magic-Borne, the more I can’t wait to sink my teeth into something completely different.

 2) What is your dream reaction from anyone who reads this book?

My goal is to make my readers feel; the good and the bad. I want them to ‘get’ my characters, even if they don’t like them or agree with their decisions. My dream reaction would be for my readers to ride a roller coaster of emotions as they furiously turn the pages. I want them to suffer the worse book hangover ever!

3) Now that this trilogy is over, what’s next for you?

Up next for me is my current work in progress, Nite Fire, an urban fantasy told from the POV of a shapeshifter named Dahlia Nite. Dahlia is a lyrriken, a hybrid species born of a human woman and a male dragon in human form. She’s capable of shifting from human to a reptilian, dragon-like form, complete with scales and fire. The story involves spontaneous combustion, travel between parallel worlds, mythical creatures, retro-cognition, psychic abilities, genetic experiments, serial murder, revenge, secrets, friendship, betrayal, loss, blood, sex, and yes, dragons. Nite Fire is for adults, so expect mature themes (if you’ve read Crown of Stones, you’ll have an idea of what to expect from me in that department). I’m aiming for three books in the Nite Fire series, but that may change depending on how the story unfolds as I move forward with the draft. I’m hoping for a winter 2017 release.

4) What would you say was the best part about working on this trilogy?

I would have to say that worldbuilding was one of the best parts of writing this trilogy. It was wonderful to form all those realms and craft all that history. Taking the flaws and accomplishments of each realm and interweaving them together was a lot of fun. Mirra’kelan is a world I’m proud of. I think it has a lot of potential for future stories.

5) What are you going to miss the most about it?

I’m going to miss my characters tremendously. I love spending my days with them, watching them grow, and being able to experience the story through their eyes. One of the hardest parts of moving onto a new project has been letting go of the characters I knew so well. I’m going to miss hearing their voices in my head. Though, something tells me they won’t all stay quiet for long ☺

6) Of all of your plot-lines which was your favorite and why?

That’s a hard one. Anything revolving around Ian’s Shinree enemy (who shall remain nameless to avoid spoilers) was a great plot-line to write. But I think I my favorite overall would be the eldring. When the eldring appear in the first book, you learn a decent amount about them, but so much more is unveiled throughout the trilogy; the truth of what they are, their role in the history of Mirra’kelan (and its future), their impact on the overall plot, and on Ian. I love how that whole plot-line played out.

7) Through this trilogy, how would you say you’ve grown as an author?

I’ve learned a lot since that first draft of Magic-price, and I think each book has taught me something different. Magic-Price took me the longest to write. It went through many revisions, and I feel like my knowledge of the craft of writing grew after each one. I think one of the most important things I learned during that time was not to over-explain. I had to learn to trust, not only the strength of my readers’ imagination, but my ability to paint clear pictures for them. I learned that not everything in my head (or my character’s head) needed to be on the page. Writing the subsequent books took far less time and far fewer revisions. Going from one into two, my grasp of pesky grammar and punctuation issues, unnecessary dialogue, and the nuance of foreshadowing improved. With three, I just got out of the way and let my characters do all the work. They knew what they were doing by that point anyway.

8) Crown of Stones was your first project. Were you worried about starting your career as an author with a trilogy? Why/why not?

I wasn’t worried, but I knew it was a gamble. I read how new authors are encouraged to write stand-alone stories. They should be under 100k words, and they should never ben in first person. I didn’t listen to any of it. I wasn’t trying to be a rebel. I simply told the story of Ian Troy the way it needed to be told. I didn’t stress over word count or series length, and I never considered writing it anything but first person. With first person, I can slip right into my character’s head. I feel what they feel, and put it on the page. It’s just how I write. Besides, I think it’s less of a risk with my chosen genre. Epic fantasies and trilogies just go together.