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Rick Wayne (Author)
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Books explode when handled properly
Books explode when handled properly

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Get your next favorite book for free: http://rickwayne.com
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FEAST OF SHADOWS - A full-course occult mystery from the casebook of an unexpected detective. (COMING SOON)

Bizarre and unexplainable events lead a group of strangers to the sanctum of an unlikely savior, a reclusive genius known only as an eccentric chef, who tricks and betrays them to a terrible choice: Renounce everything they love or watch in vain as an ancient adversary devours the earth.

"Don't read this book. It's full of magick and lies, beauty and food. It's delicious. Uncommon. Ghastly. Don't read this book."

http://rickwayne.com/#FeastofShadows

THE MINUS FACTION - A superpowered sci-fi serial in seven novella-length episodes. (Full series NOW AVAILABLE)

After being recruited by an enigmatic mastermind, four underdogs with extraordinary abilities stumble upon a plot to hack the human race -- and realize not all of them will survive.

"A unique brand of justice, morality, and heroism. Taut, thrilling entertainment."
"Crackles with energy and promise."

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M7KRU0Y/

FANTASMAGORIA - A mutant sci-fantasy crime noir adventure.

A mechanical gunslinger and a shape-shifting scoundrel must navigate an urban underworld of robots, dinosaurs, wereninjas, fairies, and radioactive assassins in order to avert a war, while far above the planet, a phantasmal apocalypse looms.

"The butt-kicking starts right on page one and just keeps on going at a relentless pace until the end."
"You won't say... 'I've read ten books with this same plot.' I guarantee it."

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IZ0XZH2/

I post fiction, pop art, music, and thought (sometimes NSFW).

When I am in Tokyo, I post on Japanese culture and modern life.
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I have to agree with Ms. Flanagan on this one. At 43, I didn't think I was all that old, but this reads like surreal interpretive dance to me. I don't get it.

I think Margaret Atwood is right. We're in the "terror and virtue" stage of the revolution. That suggests, unless a strong savior figure emerges, it will collapse by the end of the year, and lots of people on both sides will walk away jaded and skeptical.
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Every time I see a man in a turtleneck under a V-neck I think Cousin Eddie. Even in Japan, apparently.
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Today's the big day! A Hero's Birth, the final book in the Empire's Foundation trilogy, is available on Amazon! You can get it in e-book and paperback (I submitted A Noble's Quest to ACX for audiobook auditions, so maybe I'll have it in audiobook in the not too distant future).

The blurb and reviews for this book, plus links to all the stories in the series are available on my website, here:

https://prcreative.ca/ryan/?p=1630

Additionally, if you'd like to pick it up in person and get it signed, I'll be at GenreCon here in Guelph from February 9th-11th, and at Kitchener Comic Con on March 3rd and 4th. I just received an e-mail that the books have shipped, so I should have them long before the convention.
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I love art that implies a story.

This is by Wouter Gort. Look at those mutant heads! I wonder why he needs one.
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work by the wonderfully named Shahab Alizadeh
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Reminds me of something by +Lisa Cohen

artist credited in picture.
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I always thought "I had no idea what would happen next" was a compliment for an author, but apparently not everyone means it that way.
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Would a switch in narrators between installments turn you off the rest of an audiobook series?

This week I got an email asking if the later installments of THE MINUS FACTION were ever going to be available in audio. It stops at Episode Two because the narrator I was using had health trouble and then never came back to audiobooks. (I put out a call on ACX in early 2017, but no one auditioned. :\)

If I can find someone, I might add an audio note at the beginning of Episode Three like:
"For health and personal reasons, Matt Thurston was not available to record the remainder of the series."

Also, +Lisa Blair had a wonderful comment on one of +Ryan Toxopeus's posts on the subject of audiobooks that everyone should go read.
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The alligator man

I sprayed bleach solution over everything — just to be safe — before wiping it all down and throwing it in the dumpster behind the fried chicken chain. I stashed the clothes in my bag. I’d have to dump them elsewhere. Not that I expected a manhunt or anything, but you can’t be too careful. I walked briskly into the night down a quiet street in Queens and didn’t notice anything strange at all until the light reflected by the sidewalk under my feet seemed suddenly to get a little dimmer. Fearing someone was behind — which would’ve meant they’d snuck up on me without so much as a breath or shuffle — I spun.

But the street was empty. A streetlight had failed further down. The road was silent and empty.

A few strides later, it happened again and I turned and saw a second lamp dim. Then almost immediately a third, closer still. It seemed as though some faraway control mechanism had rebooted — or perhaps the lights were going through a maintenance cycle and in a few moments, all would be reliably lit again.

I started walking again just as the fourth went dark behind me, and then the fifth over my head. I looked up just in time to see its orange coils fade and leave me in a cone of shadow. There was now a long gap in the lit street, as if someone had cut the light like a cake and removed a rectangular slice from the air. I got that prickly sensation then, like when you go into the basement by yourself. You know it isn’t rational, but you rush all the same. And I did. I started walking briskly. A couple times my stride turned to a brief trot. I made it up the stairs and through the sty and to the platform just in time to catch the next train, which was just as well because I was completely alone on the platform.

I was alone in the car as well. I couldn’t see anyone in the adjacent cars either, forward or back, which at that time of morning was more reassuring than eerie, and I took a seat and leaned my head back and shut my eyes — happy for once to be bathed in strong fluorescent light, free of eerie shadows and bright enough to keep me awake until my stop.

With my head back and eyes closed, I became vaguely aware that the ambient light around me had changed again.

I opened my eyes.

The second train car toward the rear was dark. It looked like all of them after that were as well. I couldn’t see any illumination except the passing lights of the tunnel.

Then the lights in the next car flickered and went dark.

I sat up.

The lights over my head stuttered and and made me blink just as a sharp-dressed black man stepped through the door, presumably to escape whatever malfunction had blinded the rear of the train. He was maybe 60 and very gaunt. He wore an expensive charcoal suit, and wore it well. It had gray pinstripes and looked tailored. His necktie was very narrow, almost completely straight, and it matched the color of the suit. He wore a brimmed hat with a satin sash and he walked with a fancy cane that tapped the floor with each step. His cuff links, belt, and shoes were all some kind of reptile hide — polished and shiny. He looked like a cross between a pimp and an undertaker.

“Miss,” he said to me, tipping his hat politely.

People don’t usually talk to each other on the train. But then, the two of us were the only ones within sight of each other. It almost seemed ruder for him not to acknowledge me, and I responded with a polite, tight-lipped smile.

He sat across from me, one seat down, and settled with a sigh like he’d been walking for hours. He took off his hat and set it on the seat next to him. He had hardly any hair left. What was left was gray-white.

He caught me looking at his boots.

“Alligator hide,” he said.

He had a mouthful of gold and yellow teeth, minus a couple that were missing. He pulled a handkerchief from his coat pocket and wiped something off the toe of his boot.

“Under-appreciated, if you ask me. It’s tough. But flexible. And gets downright soft over time.”

He had a throaty voice, not so much like a smoker as much as a man who’d spent his entire life shouting — an auctioneer perhaps, or a lounge singer.

“It’s certainly distinctive,” I said.

He nodded to me. “Just so.”

The shaft of his cane was solid black and lustrous, but I couldn’t tell if it was painted wood or obsidian. He held it loosely by the neck and rocked it back and forth. The tip was polished silver. The knob on top was a grinning skull.

The train slowed and he looked like he was going to get off. Then he stopped. He looked at me.

“This your stop?” he asked.

I shook my head. “Just a few more,” I said with a polite smile.

He sat back. “Then I’ll ride witcha.”

“Oh, you don’t have to do that.”

The train stopped and the doors opened, but my companion stayed put.

“I’m old fashioned,” he said in that throaty voice. “I know it ain’t popular. I know these days old men like me are supposed to let young ladies like yourself take care of themselves.” He shook his head. “But that’s not how I was raised.”

The movement of his jaw when he spoke pulled his skin taut over his skull, like there wasn’t much of anything underneath, like his skin was just as much a part of his clothes as the pinstripes.

I shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

The train started moving again and we sat in silence as it rocked back and forth over the tracks.

“Miss,” he said, leaning forward cautiously, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but are you okay?”

“Me?” I frowned. “I’m fine. Why?”

“You sure? You’re not in a spot of trouble maybe?”

My face turned sour.

“It’s just,” he said, motioning to my bag on the seat next to me, “I couldn’t help but notice a ski mask there when I sat down just now.”

I closed the top by turning the handles over each other.

“Now, I know it wasn’t polite to look. But here you are on the late, late, late train.” He chuckled. Then he motioned to my head. “With a little bit of perspiration on your brow, and I thought — ”

“I was out,” I said. “At a club. It was hot.”

He eyed my bag.

“It was a costume party.”

“Odd month for costumes.”

“Newest summer craze,” I said. “All the cool kids are doing it.” I looked around the empty car and wondered how rude it would be if I changed seats.

He smiled in understanding, sat back, and crossed his legs, which revealed more of his fancy boots. There were skulls and flowers in the stitching near the top. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“What makes you say that?”

“Your accent.” He twirled his cane in his right hand. “Very faint. If you was older, I’d say you’d been here awhile. But you young yet, which means you worked hard at it — putting the past behind you. How’d you do it? Wait. Lemme guess. Lots of American TV.”

“Deadly, but effective,” I joked. I turned my face toward the front of the train to signal the end of polite conversation.

“But just there under the surface.” He pointed the skull knob toward me and made wave shapes with it in the air. “There’s a little something else. Like how you say ‘rubbish.’”

I scowled again and thought back over the conversation. Had I said rubbish?

“Here they say ‘trash,’” he explained. “And it’s not ‘flat.’ It’s ‘apartment.’”

My brow stayed knit. “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

“My guess, you’re from Hong Kong.” he said. “What brings you to New York?

Only he didn’t say that part in English. He said it in perfect Hong Kong Cantonese.

I mean, perfect.

I stared. Call me racist, but there’s just something terribly incongruous about a black man speaking Chinese like a native. He had no accent. None.

“School,” I answered. I glanced to the route map above the car doors and confirmed there were just two more stops.

We were quiet a few more moments as the train slowed and the next station was announced. I wondered if I should hop off.

He must have saw it on my face because he sat back and relaxed considerably. “Oh, don’t mind me. I didn’t mean nothing by it.”

I watched the doors open.

I watched them close again.

The train started moving, and we rocked with it for another minute or so.

“It’s just really something,” he said softly. “After all these years.”

I didn’t look at him. It was way late and I’d been rushing on my feet for hours. I was tired and I just wanted to get home.

“You should know I ain’t never met the man, ’cept once in passing. Like this.” He moved the cane back and forth between us.

I got up and stood by the door. It didn’t seem like he wanted to hurt me. It seemed like he was just old and lonely. But I was ready to bolt just in case.

The old man brushed lint off his suit pants like he was annoyed. He replaced his hat on his head. He took out his handkerchief again and polished the silver skull at the top of his cane. Then he stood and faced me.

He seemed taller then, like the tip of his hat was brushing the ceiling. He brandished the cane. “But here he thinks he can come into my house . . . And take what’s mine.”

The conductor announced the next stop and I felt the train slowing. I gripped the bar by the door with two hands. The lights in the car flickered. The ones in the rear cars all returned and suddenly everything was a little brighter. Then it was too bright.

“You tell him,” he said to me. “You tell him when you see him that I’m ready. And don’t you think for one damned second that that thing” — he jabbed the tip of his cane at me suddenly, at my side — “will protect you.”

I flinched, but it was unnecessary. The rounded silver tip stopped dead at my skin as if striking the walls of the train. I thought — but couldn’t be sure — that I even heard the clink of metal.

I was freaking as the train squeaked to a stop. I was practically bouncing up and down for the doors to open. When they finally did, I made right for the stairs. I only glanced back once.

The old man had removed his hat with one hand. He swung it wide and bowed to me formally.

“See you real soon,” he called.

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I’m posting the chapters of my forthcoming urban paranormal mystery in order until the book is released in early 2018. You can start reading in order here:
https://rickwayneauthor.wordpress.com/2017/12/05/i-saw-my-first-dead-body-the-summer-we-moved-to-atlanta/

Share this! Or sign up here to be notified when the book is released: http://rickwayne.com/#FeastofShadows

cover image by Matthew Griffin
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