Q & A with Ichabod Brooks

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So, here are the questions and answers for the Ichabod Brooks Q&A.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  Enjoy the fun!

From C.S. Boyack: Ichabod, what experience do you have with the gnomes and their inventions?

I’m friends with a few gnomes who I go to for help on certain jobs.  Their inventions are a calculated risk, but only if they’re untested.  When I was starting out, I’d volunteer for testing jobs since I figured it was easy money and a good way to make friends with people smarter than myself.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve shied away from being a guinea pig.  So, I only use the things that my friends know will work and I convince them to stay nearby in case I need help.  Personally, I prefer magic artifacts and relics because they’re easier to control.  It’s just that some situations call for a solution that hasn’t been invented yet.

From Colin-Noel JohnsonFirst, if you had to chose another career, what would it be?

I’ve thought about this many times.  There are the obvious ones like soldier, wilderness guide, and whatever else involves traveling.  Those are too easy to pick because they’re nothing more than lateral moves from adventuring.  So, to go completely off the battered path, I’d become a baker.  It’s a little hobby now, but I’d be happy to make a career out of that.  Maybe it can be a retirement plan.


Second, have you ever been asked to join an important quest with famous heroes?

Surprisingly, I haven’t had the opportunity.  I’ve crossed paths with a few, but was never invited to join.  Part of it might be due to my use of contracts and having a reputation for doing jobs instead of questing for the heck of it.  Although, I could have been invited onto one and not realized it.  Once I pass on a job, I don’t really check in on it.


Third, do heroes run in your family?

No.  My mother made blankets and sheets while my father was a shepherd.  So, I grew up as a farmer before joining the local army.  Most of my ancestors have been farmers, crafters, and . . . bards.  There’s been a handful of those.  Honestly, it’s better this way because it means I’m hired for me and not for what someone in the family did.  Even better, I don’t have any enemies who I didn’t make myself.  Few things are more irritating than a person hating you because of what your great-great-great Uncle did to their great-great-great-great-great grandfather.


Fourth… what’s the best way to get a zombie out of a house? I’m stuck on the roof until you answer.

Since it sounds like there’s only one, you have the advantage of speed and agility.  Now, the easiest thing to do is climb back inside, grab a blunt object, and kill it.  Zombies aren’t stealthy, so you can hear it coming.  If you simply want it to leave then climb to the ground, get some rotten meat, and make a path out of the house.  Start it at the edge of a forest or wherever you want the zombie to go then make your way to the door.  Never start at the door because it might come out while you’re still preparing and follow without you realizing it.  Knock to draw its attention to the food.  That should cover it.

From Deby FredericksYou mention getting older and being a family man. Would you ever consider taking a more settled position such as captain of the watch?

It’s been suggested, but probably not.  When I settle down and retire, it’ll be the homestead for me.  No more excited, battles, monsters, and tales for the bards to sing about.  Just me and all the relaxing things I’ve wanted to do.  At least it will be if the joints and muscles aren’t a mess by then.

From L.Marie: Ichabod, do you have a favorite weapon(s)? If so what?

I don’t really have a favorite weapon because I need to take whatever I think will be good for the job.  My expertise is with the longbow, so that’s probably what I would consider my favorite.  Be rather silly to claim I love fire arrows, bring them on every job, and then get killed battling a lava monster.

How did you and your wife meet?

Going to have to be careful here because I don’t like giving the details when she’s not around.  I had done a job that resulted in her coming after me.  We fought, got into trouble that forced an alliance, and then had to spend three months surviving in the wild until we were found.  It was probably a year later that we ran into each other again and tried dating, which wasn’t easy given our careers.

Have you ever met a bard you actually liked? If so, who?

This is a common misconception.  I do finds bards obnoxious and pains in the neck, but I don’t truly despise them.  It isn’t like I get angry every time I run into a bard.  Most are okay and will stop singing about me if I ask.  It’s just that a handful of jerks have put me on edge about all of them.  There’s actually a bard or two that I go to for help if the job requires their skills.

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Indie Author Friday: Martin Allen #IndieAuthor #YA #Fantasy

Books and Such

It’s Friday again – and today Martin Allen is here with his extensive collection of multiple genre books.  Martin would like to be one of my favorite Avengers, and if any of you are looking for book reviews, he offers some ideas below.

An exploration of the perceived infallibility of DNA and Fingerprint Evidence as presented in UK Law. Until relatively recently there have been virtually no challenges to the reliability of these types of evidence. This title explores not only the cases that have challenged these evidential types in the UK but also persuasive authorities from overseas and expert opinions on their scientific validity as they are currently presented in the UK.

Recondite is a number of abstract digital pieces combined into one collection. Each piece is an invocation of a particular mood or concept. The pieces are grouped according to the original source material into a number of…

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Protecting Bedlam: Now, It’s Personal Part 2

Previously on the latest tale of Cassidy & Lloyd.

(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doctor Dragovic wakes up with a few incoherent mumbles when Chris enters the lab and has his men strap the prisoners down. The man rubs at his temples, which appear swollen and have strange edges to them. Groping around his paper-covered desk for his glasses, the bald surgeon yawns and shakes his head clear. Reaching to his pocket for a pen, he finds the spectacles, which are dotted with bits of ink. With a tired sigh, he cleans them off while heading for a cabinet to grab a fresh notepad for his new test subjects. Pushing by the soldiers, Dragovic gets a cart full of tools and quietly drags them into position. It is not until he puts on his glasses and looks up that his eyes light up and his moustache twitches in glee. He hurries over to Lloyd and checks for the koi-shaped scar, his cold hands making the serial killer jump. Pulling out a tape measure, he wraps it around the other man’s head and jots down the size before grabbing a saw off the wall. As an afterthought, the excited doctor puts on gloves, mask, and apron to protect himself from any blood spray.

“It isn’t the time for that,” Chris states as he takes the saw away. Being a foot taller than his companion, he tries to loom over the other man, but receives a lazy yawn. “There will be plenty of time to do whatever you have planned. I want you to make sure these possible abominations are telling the truth. She claims to be a lesbian and he says he’s bi. I have my doubts about the man, but I’ve heard stories about her. Best to be sure. Don’t want to do a reverse enlightenment and create abominations.”

“I really wish you wouldn’t call them that,” Dragovic says in a soft voice. He walks over to Cassidy and takes a sniff of her breath while his hand presses her stomach. “These people are still people. Some neurons or brain matter might be acting up, but never forget that they are human. At least that’s one way to look at it. The other is that this is completely natural, but neither of us are interested in that. You want to fix them and I want to find out what makes them them. Please cuff these two and leave. I don’t want to do the examination with non-medical personnel watching. It would be too embarrassing for the subjects.”

“You treat them too nicely, doctor,” the warlord growls, handing his men four pairs of cuffs and the keys. He sends the soldiers away first, his instincts telling him that Cassidy and Lloyd should not be left unguarded. “I don’t like this. Both of these creatures are dangerous. Johnathan and Elaine Custer want them dead for a reason. Now that they’ve seen our secret operation, they could expose us to save their own skins. The Custers think we’re tending to injured soldiers. If they found out that we’re working on the enlightenment campaign, they’ll shut us down. You need me to stay here and make sure nothing goes wrong.”

The doctor stares at Chris while he unbuttons Cassidy’s pants, his fingers delicately holding the zipper. “I will have to strip this woman naked. Are you willing to stay here will I complete such an intimate examination? What about when I do the same to him? People might think you are into this kind of thing. Be even worse if I discovered that they are not abominations. Do you want to take that chance?”

Staring at Cassidy in disgust and horror, Chris storms out of the lab and returns only to slam the door shut. Licking his lips, Dragovic rushes over to Lloyd and runs his fingers over the serial killer’s head. Hearing struggling behind him, he turns to see that his other patient is trying fix her pants. Finding her grunts and the clanging cuffs annoying, the doctor goes to help her and sticks a cherry-flavored lollipop in her mouth to keep her quiet. Happily returning to his prized specimen, Dragovic takes a relaxing breath and nearly falls asleep in an attempt to savor the moment. When he jolts back to full consciousness, the man carefully goes about taking Lloyd’s measurements.

“I won’t be able to get your weight unless you can tell me,” Dragovic says while he picks up a hacksaw. He taps the tool against the handcuffs, but thinks better of it and goes back to his tape measure. “Chris Tanner has no idea what he’s doing. So much variety here and all of it comes from the brain. Most of what we are isn’t conscious. Did you know that? I had a theory that our dreams tell us more about us than our words, but I could never prove it. My hope here is to discover what makes people like your friend the way they are. There has to be a difference in the brain. After all, all of us have a slight difference in brains to some extent. When did you realize you liked women? The question is to her, not you.”

“I’m not going along with this,” Cassidy retorts, causing drool to flow out of the corner of her mouth. She does her best to speak around the lollipop until she gets annoyed and spits the candy out. “You don’t seem like a terrible person, doctor. Just curious and eccentric. Plenty of mad scientists around these parts. If you don’t like what Tanner is doing then release us and we’ll stop him.”

“Oh, I don’t really care what he does with my discoveries,” the doctor admits as he cuts away Lloyd’s shirt. He pulls out a camera to take pictures of the scars, his attention lingering on one above the man’s heart. “Amazing that you survived what looks like a deep stab wound to the chest. Much older than the rest. Although, I’m more concerned with your brain. I need to contact a psychologist that I know and get her to speak with you. There must be a lot of information you can share about being insane before the collapse and continuing to be so in the aftermath. Sadly, that means I can’t get into your brain for a few days. Oh, I so want to crack open your skull and take a look. Maybe I can convince Chris to transfer you to my other office. I have all I need to get a scan and it’s less of a trip for my friend. Not to mention I would have an assistant since Reuben stayed home again today.”

“Can we please go back to you not caring about what Captain Creepy does with your discoveries?” Lloyd asks, his leg stretching toward the tool cart. He curses when the doctor moves everything back into the corner. “Probably wasn’t sanitary anyway. As I was saying, I would think a professional like yourself would be upset that your work is being used for sinister purposes. You don’t seem like a bad guy. The pursuit of knowledge is great, but it’s tainted by the corruption of the findings. Haven’t we learned anything from that old guy with a whip fetish or the one where the monster either talks or grunts?”

Stretching his arms and yawning, Dragovic drags his chair close enough that he can still reach out and touch Lloyd. “It is a shame, but it always happens. I have no control over what people do with what I discover. Once the knowledge is made public, it’s no longer my property and I move on to the next mystery. For example, I have uncovered that the difference in the brain of something like your friend is the same as it would be between you and I. That doesn’t mean I will let her go. Perhaps scanning her and another while in the act would give me more information, but Chris would never allow it. Not unless I give him a reason why such a thing would help him with his goals.”

The sound of rattling handcuffs causes Dragovic to spin around in his chair, his eyes remaining slits as he watches Cassidy slipping out of one of the bonds. He calmly gets up and heads for his desk while the mercenary finishes getting free. The man’s back is turned, but he sees Lloyd’s reflection in a mirror, the serial killer signaling for his friend to make a run for the door. With a syringe in his hand, Dragovic calmly moves his chair out of the way while Cassidy makes her move. The doctor sprints across the room and gets behind the mercenary before she realizes what is going on. He stabs her in the thigh and injects the mild anesthetic, which makes the woman groggy. Keeping an eye on her face, he takes her by the wrist to lead her to the table and check her pulse. Hoisting Cassidy back into place, he locks her back up and goes to look for an orange-colored bandage.

“It was a quick estimate for the dosage, but I’m sure she’ll be fine in an hour,” Dragovic explains while he checks the mercenary’s eyes. Realizing that he needs to have some measurements for her, he lazily gets his tape measure. “Haven’t had to run like that since I was running late at an airport. Baggage claim was a mess. Now, what are we going to do? I need my friend here to help, so I can’t cut you open. Perhaps I can make a hole and get a peek inside your skull.”

“Why are you so obsessed with my brain?” Lloyd blurts out, lifting his right leg toward his face. Using his teeth, he pulls a needle out of his shin and goes about picking his cuffs. “I came prepared this time. Didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Though, I did worry it would get stuck in there with all the jogging. Probably shouldn’t do the leg next time since I think I pulled something. Not in the good way that makes some gods cry and others grab popcorn. Now, about my question.”

“I want to learn about madness,” the doctor admits, a syringe already in his hand. Making sure there is no threat of an air bubble, he gently moves Lloyd’s head and jabs the needle into a vein. “Your brain must hold so many secrets. Do monsters like you have missing parts or are some bigger than others? Will your brain look normal, but there is something off with the fluid or the nerves? Maybe your skull is too small, so the pressure causes you to commit horrible acts for pleasure. It’s even possible that none of this is true. More importantly, can it be reversed? So many people are plagued by the madness that you accepted long before the collapse. In fact, you have blossomed in this world. This is why I’ll tell Chris that you’re like your friend. I refuse to let such a perfect specimen be taken away. Sleep well and we will see each other soon for more discoveries.”

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Requiem for the Status Quo, on #LisaBurton Radio

Entertaining Stories

“Hello, caller. You’re on the air with Lisa Burton. What can we do for you today?”

“I don’t think I’ve met you, Lisa, this is Patrick Quinn, can you please put my daughter, Colleen, on the phone?”

“Sorry, Patrick I think you’ve got the wrong number. I’m actually a radio talk-show host, Lisa the robot girl.”

“Robot girl? What can I do for you?”

“Well, Patrick, you called me and I’m glad you did. Now that we’re on the air, what would you like to talk about?”

“If I had my druthers, I’d like to talk about and to Connie. She’s my wife. She died a few years ago. Let me tell you about her … did you say your name is Laura?”

“Close, it’s Lisa.”

“Let me tell you, Lisa, that wife of mine was a firecracker, she sure kept me on my toes but a few years ago…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – #Memoir – What Did I Do? by Chuck Jackson

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Welcome to another author who is joining the bookstore. Chuck Jackson shares his story of child abuse at the hands of his parents and also the damning statistics that identify that little has changed in the last fifty years. What Did I Do was published on July 4th and is a memoir that lifts the veil of secrecy about not just the American family but the Universal family.

About What Did I Do?

The veil of secrecy over the American family prevails and the covertness of child abuse continues. According to the National Children’s Alliance, approximately 700,000 (683,000 in 2015) children are abused each year. Child Protective Service (CPS) reports they investigate 3.4 million children and place them under the care of the CPS. These are frightening statistics attesting that child abuse is not in decline, but rather the opposite.

Child abuse or child maltreatment is physical, sexual, or psychological…

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The Mysterious Mrs. Brooks

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In an earlier post, I brought up that Ichabod’s wife is mentioned in conversation, but never makes an appearance.  That isn’t to say she’s a total mystery in The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks.  You get a sense of her background, the relationship, and her reputation without her showing up.  She’s always been a factor in the stories without being involved, especially if you see that she’s mentioned in his contract/sign.  Now, there are a few reasons this works out even though the idea came about by accident.  I was still trying to decide on having her appear or not, but never found the right spot.  Part of this is because I was considering giving her a short story collection if people took to her as well as they did with Ichabod.  Still a possibility, but I also get the sense that the story she shows up in would be the last one written for her husband.  So, what are the benefits of the mysterious Mrs. Brooks?

  1. It adds a little fun and mystery to the entire collection.  You can piece together a lot about her from Ichabod’s conversations and other hints that are introduced throughout the stories.  Think of it like searching for Easter Eggs in a movie or video game.  Just a few nods to paint a picture of the woman who is considered the legendary Ichabod Brooks’ equal.  It’s almost like a puzzle, but one that you can only put together once since the fun ends as soon as she’s out of the shadows.
  2. This helps to create a division of work and home life for Ichabod.  We see and talk about this mentality a lot in real life.  You don’t want to bring your work home and you don’t want to bring your home problems to work.  By having his family remain off-screen, the separation remains more palpable and physical.  There’s a line in Ichabod’s life that divides his two worlds and having them crossover could cause a mess.  This is a worry that all of us can relate to in a way.
  3. Mrs. Brooks’s mystery helps to reinforce the idea that she works darker jobs than her husband.  There are hints that she’s been a soldier, mercenary, and assassin.  At the very least, her career path is a combination of all three.  This requires that she avoid the high profile reputation that Ichabod has.  She can be well-known within her circles, but an assassin or spy that is famous will find it harder to get the job done.  It’s a very big difference between her and her husband, which also makes one wonder how they met.  Not to mention if there’s a moral division between them.
  4. I get time to figure out who she is because even I’m not sure.  Over the course of the stories, I add pieces to his wife that weren’t there before.  Every adventure that Ichabod has helps me decide on the woman that can match him.  Whether it be thinking of how she would do it differently or mentioning that he’s using a tool she gave him, it helps to slowly paint the picture.  That way, I can be sure of what I’m working with when she does make an appearance.
  5. Ichabod and his wife could run the risk of overshadowing each other.  I do fear that her showing up will take away from him being the protagonist.  Just like if I gave her a collection, I’d keep Ichabod out of it.  Both feel like they have strong personalities, but I get the sense that his wife is the more aggressive one.

So, will Mrs. Brooks ever appear or even get a first name?  That really depends on how well thinks go for the books.  I’d love to do more collections with Ichabod since I have more stories that didn’t get into this one.  Techinally, I could keep him going forever and then branch off to stories with his wife.  Anyway, this will be part of another post.

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Swift Six Character Interview – Fairchild #Sci-fi #Bundle

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Swift Six Character Interview

Character Name (Lady Danielle Cooper) Fairchild

Which book/world do you live in? Fairchild by Blaze Ward

Tell us about yourself:

I just want to fly, man. Nothing else. That adrenaline rush of free-jumping from 20,000 meters with nothing but a bodysuit and thermals, racing to capture a flag fifty kilometres away.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

I suppose my greatest strength is that drive. It got me out of my father’s house, and out from under his thumb. If he cut me off, I have friends, and we’ll have far grander adventures than anyone sitting in a boring corporate boardroom.

Weakness? The darkness. It’s in me. Deep. Infecting my dreams and my days. Sometimes, it gets so close that ending it would only take a few ounces of pressure on a trigger.

Name three important people/creatures/institutions in your world (such as lovers, pets, government…

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