Tag Archives: Case Files of Justis Fearsson

SPELL BLIND Teaser #5!!

200SpellBlindSpell Blind, the first novel in my new series from Baen Books, The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, will be released the day after tomorrow. And in the meantime, here, for your enjoyment, is another teaser.

By the time I headed for the Z-ster, night had fallen and the moon
was up. It was well past a quarter full and bone white in a velvet sky.
And though we were still several days away from the full, I could
already feel it tugging at my mind, bending my thoughts, making me
shiver in spite of the warm air.

Describing the phasings to someone who wasn’t a weremyste was
like trying to describe color to someone who had been born blind.
Words weren’t adequate. The closest I’d heard anyone come to
getting it right was something my dad told me not long after my
mom died. We weren’t getting along at the time, and his grip on
reality, which had already become tenuous before Mom’s death, was
slipping fast. But what he told me then in anger still rang true to this
day.

“It’s like somebody reaches a hand into your stinkin’ brain,” he
said, “and swirls it around, making a mess of everything. The thoughts are still there—your sense of who you are and how the people around you fit into your life—but they’re scrambled. There’s no order, no time or space or story line. The boundaries disappear. Love and hate, rage and joy, fear and comfort—you can’t tell anymore where one ends and the next begins. And the worst part is, you know it’s happened—you know that it all made sense a short while before, and that now it’s gone. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.”

That was how it felt to me every time. You’d think after a couple
of hundred phasings—three days a month for half a lifetime—I’d get
used to it, or find some way to fight my way through. But each one
feels like the first. I’ve tried to brace myself, waiting for moonrise the
way I would a shot at a doctor’s office. It doesn’t do a damn bit of
good. As soon as the full moon appears on the horizon, I feel those
boundaries my dad talked about being sucked out of my mind.

That was the tug I felt now, with the moon shining down on me.
It wouldn’t happen until the end of the week, but already it was
reaching for me, testing my defenses and finding them as weak as
ever.

SPELL BLIND Teaser #4!!

200SpellBlindAnother day, another Spell Blind teaser. Spell Blind is the first book in my new series from Baen Books, The Case Files of Justis Fearsson. It comes out on January 6, just a few days from now! Enjoy this newest installment.

I hobbled into the alley, glancing down at my bloodied leg and
swearing loudly. Robby backed away from me until he bumped into
the scalloped steel door of an old garage. He pulled something from
his pocket and fumbled with it.

“Stay away from me!” he said, waving his hand at me. It took me
a moment to realize that he was holding a small knife.
I stopped and considered drawing my Glock, which was still in my
shoulder holster. I’m licensed to own it and Arizona law allows private citizens to carry a concealed weapon. And though I hadn’t been on the job in some time, I still felt more comfortable with a weapon at the ready. In this case though, I figured I’d learn more from Robby if I got him calmed down.

“Put the knife away, Robby. You don’t want to get hurt.”

“I said stay away!”

I started walking toward him again. “You really are an idiot, aren’t
you?”

In a way I hoped he would try to cut me. My leg was aching and I
was itching for an excuse to kick the crap out of him.

“I’m smarter than you think. I know that you guys want to nail me
for dealing, especially now that Claudia’s dead.” His eyes were darting from side to side, searching for any way out of the alley. He might well have been desperate enough to attack me.

“Who do you think you’re talking to? I’m not trying to pin
anything on anyone.”

“Bullshit, cop!”

“I’m no cop.” He started to argue, but I raised a finger to silence
him. “I was when I busted you, but I was kicked off the force a while
back.”

“Yeah, right. What for?”

I wasn’t about to tell him that. “I beat a perp to death.”

His eyes widened.

“Put the knife away, Robby. I just want to talk. I’m a PI now. A
private investigator,” I added, seeing his puzzled expression. “I’m
doing a little work for the Deegans, trying to figure out what happened to their daughter.”

Fear and uncertainty chased each other across his features.

“The cops are after me, though, right?”

“I honestly couldn’t tell you. They know you didn’t kill her. But
they also know that you deal, and that Claudia had drugs with her
when she died. Lots of the Blind Angel victims did,” I added, eyeing
him as I spoke the words.

Robby seemed to sag. The hand holding the knife fell to his side.
“Shit,” he muttered, eyes on the ground. I’m not sure that he heard
my last remark. “I didn’t do anything.”

“No? What about Jessie Tyler?”

His gaze snapped back to mine. “That was you today.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Throw another spell at me and I’ll break your
neck.”

SPELL BLIND Teaser #3!!

200SpellBlindHere’s the third installment in my series of pre-release teasers from Spell Blind, the first book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson. Enjoy!

The vision began as a thin gray swirl, like a wisp of smoke
embedded in the glass. Another appeared, and a third. Soon there
were a least a dozen of them chasing one another across the mirror,
reminding me of children skating on a frozen pond. The center of the
image began to glow, faintly at first, then brighter, until I could make
out the oranges and blacks and pale yellows of embers in a dying fire. And then a hand emerged from the cinders. It might have been dark red, the color of blood, but it was silhouetted against that burning glow. It wasn’t taloned or deformed. It appeared to be a normal hand, long-fingered perhaps, but ordinary except for its color. Still, I knew immediately that it was . . . wrong; that it didn’t belong here. For one thing, those wisps of gray smoke acted as though they were afraid of it. They kept as far from the hand as possible; when it moved, they did as well, matching its motion so as to keep their distance.

This continued for a while, the threads of smoke and the hand
gliding over the embers, until suddenly the hand seized the strands of gray, capturing all of them in one lightning quick sweep across the
mirror. The hand gripped them, the wisps of smoke appearing to
writhe in its grasp. When at last the dark fingers opened again, what
was left of the gray strands scattered like ash. And when those
remnants touched the embers, they flared so brilliantly that I had to
shield my eyes. By the time I looked at the mirror again, the image
was gone. All that was left was the inverted reflection of my office.
The runemyste was watching me.

“What the hell was that, Namid?”

“What did you see?”

“You know perfectly well what I saw. You always know. What did
it mean?”

“What do you think it meant?”

I shoved the mirror off my lap and stood too quickly; my vision
swimming.

“Damn you, Namid! Can’t you answer a simple question? Just
once?”

“This is as much a part of your training as the summoning of that
image. Scrying is more than seeing. Scrying is understanding what
you see.”

I hated it when he was right.

This was what made scrying so frustrating. The images came to me
easily. Even Namid, who was a miser when it came to compliments,
had once told me that the visions I summoned from my scrying stone
were unusually vivid. Interpreting them, though, was another matter. Scryings were never clear or unambiguous. Rather they were shadows, portents, hints at the future. Frankly, they were a pain in the butt.

“I don’t know,” I said, beginning to pace the room. “That hand
bothered me.”

“It should.”

I halted, surprised by the response. This was as close to a hint as he
was ever likely to offer.

“Why, Namid? What does the hand mean?”

Before he could answer, the phone rang. Neither of us moved, and
it rang again.

SPELL BLIND Teaser #2!!

200SpellBlindHere’s the second Spell Blind teaser. The book drops on January 6 from Baen. The sequel, His Father’s Eyes will be released in August. Enjoy! And happy New Year!

A cold prickling on the back of my neck—premonition, or instinct
honed by years on the force—made me pull out my weapon. I eased
toward the door, holding the pistol in front of me. I also released the
spell, felt the warding settle over me like a blanket. I reached the door, stepped past it so that I could swing it open and enter the garage in one quick motion. That was the plan, anyway. I had forgotten about that vanishing money from Jessie’s account and the possibility that she was with a myste. Stupid of me. And nearly fatal.

As soon as I flung the door open, I sensed the spell. It wasn’t
particularly strong, but it was an assailing spell—an attack—and
whoever cast it had aimed it at me. I braced myself, hoped the warding would hold. It did, but the spell—it felt like an impact attack, meant, no doubt, to seem like I had been hit with a two-by-four—was strong enough to stagger me and to make the doorway shake. By the time I was moving forward again, I could hear footsteps retreating toward the front of the garage.

I followed, Glock ready, the power for a second spell already
building inside me. This time I planned to cast an assailing spell of my
own. I hate it when people use magic against me; makes me want to
get even.

I hadn’t taken five steps, before I slowed, then halted. The smell
would have been enough to get my attention—feces, urine, vomit,
sweat, fear, desperation—there could have been a body rotting in here.

It was hard to tell.

But what I saw was every bit as bad. Worse, really. At least twenty
college-age kids lay sprawled over the filthy cement floor, most of
them unconscious. At least half of them were emaciated, their cheeks sunken, as if they’d been prisoners in this hell-hole for months. Others—the newcomers, most likely—might have been marginally healthier. But all of them wore stained, tattered clothing; all of them looked like they hadn’t bathed in weeks or longer.

I spotted Jessie Tyler right away, but I couldn’t help wondering
how many of these other kids didn’t have anyone searching for them.
I heard a loud crash at the front of the shop. Another glance at
Jessie convinced me she wasn’t going anywhere. I eased forward,
gripping my weapon with both hands, considering what spell I ought
to use. Assailing spells worked best with a precise target. I didn’t have one, at least not yet, and I didn’t want to hurt one of those kids.
Unfortunately, the myste I was stalking didn’t have my scruples.
Again, I felt the spell as soon as he cast it—the air was electric with
magic. I sensed the heat before I saw the wave of flame rolling toward me. I backpedaled, scared, but also unwilling to ward myself and leave the kids to roast. Fire spells are rudimentary magic, but this myste, whoever he was, had poured serious power into this one.

The temperature in the garage jumped twenty degrees. The skin on my face and hands flushed, like I’d been sitting way too close to a
campfire.

The flames were almost on top of me when I cast my spell. Three
elements, because that was how spells worked: the kids and myself,
the fire, and a wall of magic in between. I recited the elements to
myself three times, allowing the magic to build inside me. On the third repetition, I released it, the way I would a held breath.
The barrier winked into view and then shuddered as the attack
hit it. But like my earlier warding, it held. That wall of flame passed
over without burning any of us. There was nothing I could do,
though, to keep the guy’s magic from setting everything else in the
garage on fire.

SPELL BLIND Teaser #1!

200SpellBlindSo the release of  Spell Blind (book I of the Case Files of Justis Fearsson) is just a few days off — January 6, from Baen Books — and I haven’t even offered a teaser yet!!  Time to rectify that. This is the opening. More to come . . .

Ask most people to point at the moon, and they’ll lift their gaze
skyward, trying to locate it. Ask the same of a weremyste like me, and we don’t have to search for it. We know where it is. Always, and precisely. As it waxes full, we can feel it robbing us of our sanity and enhancing the strength of our magic. Like ocean tides, our minds and our runecraft are subject to its pull.

I was on the interstate cutting across the outskirts of Phoenix, and
already I could feel the moon tugging at my thoughts, subtle and light, but as insistent as a curious child. Three hours before today’s
moonrise, nearly a week before it would wax full, and its touch was as real to me as the leather steering wheel against my palms, the rush of the morning desert air on my face and neck.

I sensed the reservoir of power within me responding to its caress,
like water to gravity. And I felt as well the madman lurking inside my
head, coaxing the moon toward full, desperate to be free again.
I had five days.

And in the meantime, I had work to do.

Work for me means investigating. Once it meant being a detective
for the Phoenix Police Department, but those days are gone. I was on the job for six years and eight months. The day I turned in my badge was, next to the day twenty years ago when my mother died, the worst of my life. Still, when I look in the mirror, I see a cop, a detective. I’ve heard it said among cops that once you’re on the job, you’re never really off. Some things are like that, they’ll tell you. Some things get in your blood and that’s it. You’re never the same.

A New Year’s Post at Magical Words

I have a post up today at Magical Words — another in what I am calling the Unofficial Winter 2014-15 Spell Blind Blog Tour.  The post is called “Taking Stock and Taking Risks,” and it is about the closing of this year and some of my goals for 2015. You can find the post here. I hope you enjoy it, and I wish you all a wonderful New Year.

SPELL BLIND is Now Available for E-Readers!!

Some of you have already contacted me about this, and I have noticed it on several bookseller sites:  The hardcover edition of Spell Blind, the first book in my new series, The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, will be published by Baen Books on January 6, 2015 — a week from tomorrow.  But the electronic version of the book is already available.  That’s right, if you read your books on a Kindle or a Nook or a Kobo (like me) or any other e-reader, you can start in on this new adventure right now! I’m not sure why this is the case, but I’m not going to argue about it.  So download the book today, and enjoy!

A Pair of Posts Up Today

Today on the unofficial Spell Blind Winter 2014-15 Blog Tour, I have two posts up. The first can be found at the Magical Words blogsite. It’s a pretty light-hearted post  — a list of holiday superlatives (best holiday movie, best gift I’ve ever received and given — that sort of thing).  It’s meant to be fun and will, I hope, prompt others to offer similar lists in the comments section. The Magical Words post can be found here.

The second post is at the SFNovelists blogsite and it is about the new series I have coming out from Baen — the Case Files of Justis Fearsson. The Fearsson books are the first that I have set in the contemporary world, and writing in this world is quite different from setting a novel in a created world, or even a historical setting. The SFNovelists post touches on some of those differences and can be found here.

I hope you enjoy them both, and I wish all of you a wonderful holiday and a happy and successful 2015.

A Magical Words Post on Point of View

Today’s  post, the latest in the unofficial Spell Blind Winter 2014-15 Blog Tour, can be found at the Magical Words blog site. The post discusses point of view, and for those who know me this comes as no surprise. I happen to believe that point of view is one of the most important narrative tools a writer has at his/her disposal. Specifically, the post looks at the choices we make with regard to point of view and voice, and how those choices shape a project and are also shaped by the project.  You can find the post here. I hope you enjoy it.

“Long Nights Moon” is Live at Baen.Com

“Long Nights Moon,” the first published short story (or fiction of any sort for that matter) in the Justis Fearsson universe is up and available at Baen.com.  This holiday themed short story takes place before the action described in Spell Blind, Book I in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, which will be released by Baen Books on January 6, 2015. I had a great time writing this story and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I hope you enjoy it. The story can be found here.

And just a note, the first line should read: “December’s full moon is known among some of the tribal peoples of North America as the Cold Moon, or the Long Nights Moon.”