Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fall from Grace by Richard Jackson

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As a Caster, Tyler uses cybernetic implants to broadcast his emotions and experiences to the viewers at home. He is living a life of action and adventure--until he loses his job. Now he must hustle illegal broadcasts and take odd jobs to survive.

When his agent is killed, Tyler is framed for the crime. With his only allies--an ex-cop turned criminal and a bartending medical student--Tyler is plunged into the middle of a mystery and comes face to face with the darker side of the broadcasting industry. Tyler soon learns there is much more for him to lose...and much farther to fall.

This book is approximately 154 pages (42000 words) long.


“I have a job you might be interested in,” Manny said.

It took all of Tyler’s willpower to stop himself from dancing a jig.

Manny offered Tyler a smile, one reserved only for someone who could make him money. “I know it’s been a while since you last worked. How are your implants?” the agent asked.

Tyler nodded. “They’re fine,” Manny probably knew what the answer to that question would be.

“And your training?” he asked.

“I’ve been sticking to my diet and exercise plan. I also keep busy so my skills don’t get rusty.”

“Good,” Manny said. The agent reached into his suit pocket for his notebook. He turned the page in the journal and started to rattle off details about the job as he jotted down some notes.

Tyler only half heard what his agent was saying. He had waited a long time to get back into the business after his show was cancelled and he was blacklisted. He could finally have his life back. No more busting his ass as a bar back or hustling quasi-legal castings.

Tyler’s moment of happiness was shattered along with the frosted glass door to Manny’s office. The invader filling the doorway was trouble. He held a strange looking device that resembled something out of an old Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon movie serial. Tyler threw himself down and to the side just as the dig man pulled the trigger of his ray gun.

There was no beam of light or anything Tyler could see. He felt the wave of heat and intolerable pain during the brief time he was in the thing’s line of fire.

Manny didn’t have the benefit of Tyler’s reflexes. The beam caught him full on. He shrieked like a lobster being dumped into a pot of boiling water.

Tyler snatched a paperweight off of the desk and hurled it at the intruder. It wasn’t the most aerodynamic object in the world but if flew true hitting the man in the side of the head. It didn’t stun the guy but it got the beam off of Manny. Tyler moved fast. He ducked quickly behind the couch Manny used to “audition” some talent.

Tyler heard the man walking. He waited right where he was at. It was his only play. Out in the open, Tyler didn’t have a chance. He wouldn’t be able to close the distance before the man focused his weapon on him. If the big man leaned over the couch or came around the side of it, Tyler would make him regret it.

The big man decided to break the stalemate. Tyler could hear him moving. “Come out or I’ll kill him,” he said.

“Sod off!” Tyler yelled before he could stop himself. He knew what would happen. The caster had heard a lot of threats. This guy wasn’t bluffing. He would kill Manny if he didn’t come out.

About Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson was born in New York City and raised in the Bronx. He has been writing off and on since high school. Over the years, he has held a variety of jobs and worked in a wide range of fields. It's given him a very diverse skill set which has come in handy on numerous occasions. His interests include the martial arts, costuming, travel, gaming and just having fun. He enjoys meeting people and talking to people with similar interests.

Interview with Richard Jackson

Being more of a Science Fiction fan myself I have to ask someone like yourself, who writes both Scifi and Fantasy, what interests you about each of the genres?

For me, science fiction is about what could be, even if it isn't all that plausible. Sometimes I see or hear something that gets me thinking. It could be a piece of technology, a scientific theory or an event that captures my attention. I like exploring the possibilities and answering that question. Sometimes, the answer is a story worth telling and sharing.

When it comes to writing fantasy, I ask myself 'what if' with magic and the supernatural playing a large role in things. I like to dream big and let my imagination run wild. The world building and story telling aspects appeal to me.

I am currently reading Feed by Mira Grant, nominated for a Hugo this year, which in part addresses a future vision of where blogs might play a part in comparison to traditional news/media. Fall from Grace mixes the cybernetics of Neuromancer with new media, do you see parallels between this and the way publishing has changed over the last 12 months?

I see a few parallels, some of which I didn't intend. I wrote Fall from Grace when I was busy querying agents and submitting short stories to magazines. The first ebooks were available for PDAs like the Palm Pilot. Writers were starting to post some of their stories for free on the internet and talking about electronic publishing. It got me thinking about what could be and the ways advances in technology can change the media. The other parallels involve the whole method of querying agents and the nature of the slush pile.

What made you decide to self publish?

I was on the verge of giving up. I had spent almost two years querying agents and submitting manuscripts to publishers with very little to show for it. No matter hungry you are, a steady diet of rejection letters will ruin your appetite. An agent gave me some feedback on my writing and encouraged me to keep writing. Later that month, a member of the Harlem Writer's Guild suggested I self publish. Back then, I had a very low opinion of self publishing. What changed my mind was an article I read on electronic publishing. I liked reading books on my PDA. It was convenient. When I heard how easy and inexpensive it was to publish books for the Kindle, I decided to take the plunge.

How do you find the juggling of being both publisher and writer? Would you like to give the publishing work to someone else to do?

There are a lot of things I like about being my own boss. You have complete control over your work and the flexibility to do things the way you want, when you want. The downside is that you have expenses to worry about and time management is very important. There's a lot of work involved with self-publishing such as marketing which can eat up a lot of time and money if you're not careful. There is also a steep learning curve. I've been self-publishing for a while now and I am still learning things.

I wouldn't mind having a publishers for some of my books and stories. There are things I don't like doing. While I enjoy talking with readers and other writers, I hate marketing and promoting my books. I really don't want to beat people over the head with my books, asking them to buy them. It also takes time away from writing. The same thing goes for editing and proofreading.

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