First up, here’s the table of contents for More Scary Kisses, the paranormal-romance anthology that’s going to include my Sword of Darcy.
Second, the latest Applied Science story, The Mind That Wanted the World, is now up at Big Pulp. This one I had a great deal of fun with: My first shot within the series at a ruthless, world-conquering villain (so far my bad guys have been fairly unambitious).
I established in earlier drafts of Brain From Outer Space that the “Synthetic Man” case (as I called it at the time) had been a big one for Gwen and Steve. The villain plays a large role in the plot of the novel, so turning the events into one of the Applied Science stories seemed an obvious choice. After all, I’d fleshed out quite a bit of the plot … so I thought.
As usual, when it came to actually writing the thing out, things got more complicated. It’s easy to say, looking back, that Gwen picked up the clues to the bad guy, but now I had to figure out what they were.
I’d also decided to tie the villain in to the sabotage scheme in Blood and Steel, and the black market ring in Hidden Faces, so I had to work all of that in. Plus, that meant it was only a few months after Steve and Dani met, so I wanted to update the relationship.
I also wanted to do something that would convey the outdated attitudes toward rape they had back in the era, so that became one of my early scenes (Steve, fortunately, dislikes rapists as much as every other kind of bully—Gwen’s a lot less sympathetic).
Unfortunately, I kept running into problems, the big one being the Synthetic Man was a kind of naive innocent, an emotional infant, reluctant to hurt anyone—the classic lab-created artificial being. It just didn’t work.
So I flipped it. He’s not an infant, he’s a teenager, a really obnoxious one. He dislikes his creator, loves pushing people around and he has the strength and power to do it.
A few more drafts (cutting back some of the villain’s exposition speech, for instance) and it all fell together. Or so I hope. See what you think.