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The Wælcyries Murders

December 27, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  2 Comments

What’s that novel I finished about, anyway?

Good question.

Here’s the draft hook I came up with:

It’s been thirty-seven years, a war and over two decades of marriage since Investigator Lexus Toulouse graduated from high school, but someone murdered a wælcyrie, and the scant clue leads Lexus to go undercover at the Pacific Northwest’s premier pre-vocational school. Nano regeneration gave her the body of a teenage girl, now she needs to play the part and act like one.

She quickly finds out Portland’s Rosehill Learning and Analytics is dramatically different than her prior experience. The kids are smarter, more mature and the parents are richer. Despite her growing attachment to the teens and faculty, the burning need to solve the crime eats away at her carefully built cover. Her honor, her agency’s reputation and even her new virtue is on the line, for killing a wælcyrie, a member of an already dying race, is a terrible and evil crime.

And indications are—one of her new student friends did it. Her last murder case nearly drove her insane. This one could kill her.

Sooooooooo… besides Cassie (he he he), who wants to read it? I need to do a proof reading pass, and then it’s good to go for beta reader critique. The novel stands on its own (I think), but it is a sequel.

Ding Novel is Done

December 20, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, Plot, Setting, The Craft  4 Comments

I finished my work in progress in the wee hours of the morning, The Wælcyries Murders.

What a fun novel!

The novel, according to conventional wisdom, should not be—it’s a sequel to a book I haven’t sold yet, which, according to some, isn’t a good idea.

Like much of the advice written on the Interwebs, a person has to be very careful not only consider the source, but also the context.

One reason it’s not a good idea is that your first book may never sell. Your agent or editor may also suggest changes to the first novel that render the second one invalid. Thus you’ve wasted your time.

Or have you?

I learned so much writing this novel. It took me six months to write. What did I learn in six months?

  • I learned that there are tricks and techniques to writing your first novel so the second novel in the series gels and flows with the first
  • I leaned about advanced characterization beyond a self-contained novel
  • I learned how to write a sequel
  • I learned new things about world-building and continuity
  • I learned that even well respected writers and industry can over-generalize

Out of all of these points, the most valuable to me is the characterization I learned. What’s my main character’s motive, beyond solving the mystery? How does she grow? Where do the other characters fit?

This is my fourth novel I have written; with the caveat the first novel was a pure writing exercise with no basis in publishing reality. So, it’s more novel number three. I will repeat this to myself until it is true. Heh.

The first book in the series could never sell.

I can guarantee that if I do sell a book, and my publisher asks for a sequel, the process of producing that creative work will be much better. I learn by thinking about things and doing in an iterative process.

Next post I talk about the wok itself and the other things I learned.

A Guide to Guns in the Year 21

October 13, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random, Setting, The Craft  5 Comments

Guns, guns, guns!

Here’s the deal. My Blog Harem keeps my little blog going with hits. Nevertheless, what really drives traffic, and I mean traffic, are posts about guns. Merely linking to a website about guns does something to my occasional readers of my blog. They love that topic. They love that topic more than my writing!


But, when the going gets tough, the tough slut out their blogs. So today’s post is about GUNS. Guns of the future! Ladies and Gentleman, I give you guns of the Lexus Toulouse books, set in the Federation, Earth’s three species society of the future, set in the Year 21.


An Investigator-only weapon, the recoilless needler shoots an aerodynamic needle anywhere between 800 and 6,000 feet per second. The needle is a collection of nano bots that pierce armor or cover, and deform on flesh, biotech or cyber-gear.

When an Investigator pulls the trigger, the needler instantly programs the nano-needle and computes the relative velocity of the needle based on the armor and movement of the target.

It is a deadly and accurate weapon, the apex of Federation pistol technology. There are no recorded instances of a person or robot surviving a needle round.

Says Investigator Scott:

Scott nods his head in appreciation at my skill. “I went to Fort Lewis, mainly so they could all give me a ribbing about retiring from OCE, and used their force-on-force range,” he says.

I smile. I can picture Scott showing up and being obnoxious while taking a good amount of ribbing.

“They have this simulation where these three bots are in an armored tank. A fucking tank, one of the pre-war non-composite models. Like, a real God damn tank. And I nail all three of them. I simply shot them through the armor. The needles sliced through the armor and then deformed on the bots, blowing them to Hell and gone. Through a fucking tank!”

Charge Pistol
The five-inch barreled Charge Pistol is the precursor to the needler. Essentially, it is a near- recoilless miniature scram-rail.

Charge pistols get their name from the 9mm bullets feed into the scram-rail by the magazine, and the magazine itself. Each bullet contains an energy lattice that deforms when encountering flesh, which in turn causes the bullet to expand from back-to-front.

This weapon causes horrific damage to soft targets, the bullets acting as armor piercers for cover, yet switching to anti-personnel round performance for living targets.

On the downside, it was a marginal performer against bots. The magazine, holding bullets and a miniaturized accumulator necessary for the large power requirement of the scram rail, were not interchangeable with other weapon systems.

Charge Pistols were popular with NI soldiers in the war for various reasons as a BUG (Back Up Gun), mainly because they did not have neural links and had high-capacity magazines (holding only bullets with no need for a shell).

During the war, it was rumored a few prototype Charge Rifles were made, but since Federation rifle technology was already so effective, it is not surprising that these rifles, if they existed, never made it out of Skunk Works.

Standard Issue Big Gun

The SiB-Gee is a 14.5mm, near-recoilless, armor penetrator.

Federation soldiers and irregulars used the SiB-Gee extensively in the war, usually against bots, and especially in the extensive underground complexes the enemy created and liked to hide.

Also called the “Idaho FU Rifle.”

Hamilton NI Carbine, MK-2
The Mark II Ham-nCee is a NI Soldier’s primary, personal battle rifle.

We’ll let Lexus describe the Ham-nCee:

In my hands, I have a Hamilton NI Carbine, a nasty little fucker that shoots 6mm rounds from a clip that consumes itself while firing. Wired directly into my nervous system through my neural receptor on my right wrist, the targeting interface is my suit battle computer, with data piped directly into my optic nerves for visual input. It doesn’t project a HUD—it interfaces with my eyes directly. The display is in my eyes because it is my eyes.

Underneath my Ham-nCee is a 15mm grenade launcher, holding ten rounds of pure Hell Fire (the HF-nGL). The grenade is a ball of plasma in a shaped magnetic containment system inside of a composite shell. Once activated through my battle computer, the grenade’s magnetic field propels itself down the scram rails of the launcher. The mag-bubble degrades at the apex of its flight maneuvers, and the plasma then uses the rest of the shell as fuel. The resulting confabulation then smacks into the target, and burns.

And burns. It will burn anything for a brief time. Metal, rock, people.

NI Soldiers were extremely accurate with their Ham-nCee. When one pulled the trigger, something usually died.

Ghost Rifle
A Russo-Sino rifle manufactured exclusively for NI Stealth Soldiers.

Very little is known about the Ghost Rife other that, despite being one of the most sophisticated rifles ever built, they are highly reliable and, of course, extremely accurate.

During the war, the Ghost Rifle was the standard rifle of the Trans-Siberian Sniper Team.

S&W G-Series
S&W manufactures popular civilian weapons, and they target the G-Series line to women.

Based on the tried-and-true old GLOCK design, a G-Series pistol mitigates recoil with additional frictionless parts. It also contains micro-channels in the magazine well/grip construction filled with memory liquid that ebbs back and forth.

The most popular G series pistol is the G-16 Slim-line, a single-stack 9mm pistol manufactured in a variety of colors, including pink.

While technically a fully automatic pistol, magazine capacity limits their effectiveness in this setting.

A popular, back-woods variant is the G-20, a 10mm pistol with a six-inch hunting barrel, where one inch of the barrel pokes out of the five-inch frame. Every decade or two a petition goes out for a “long slide” variant of the G-20, which S&W subsequently reviews and then denies.

All S&W pistols come with a powerful green targeting laser.

The Abominators
Abominators are shotgun-based weapons made by a variety of manufacturers. On an undetermined time-period, The Killer-Bunny Abomination Society (K-BAS) awards the title to a shotgun from a manufacturer that “upholds the traditions of the Abominators and those who use them.” This title is very prestigious for a manufacturer, while to lose it is a great loss of honor.

No one knows when K-BAS came to be, but the archaic and secretive group has been in existence for hundreds of years. On popular net theory is the society existed all the way back to pre-Collapse, human civilization, around the beginnings of the Twenty-First Century in the old pre-Fed calendar.

The current Abominator is a double-barreled, drum-fed automatic 12-guage shotgun, with a 15mm over-the-barrel grenade launcher and a four-charge thunder-lance nestled underneath (in the center channel provided by the two barrels).

Due to their popularity in the war for killing rooms full of attacking cyborgs, weapon aficionados also call Abominators “monster killers.”

The twenty-sixth version of the M4 carbine, this short-barreled rifle shoots 5mm rounds fed by a standard 5mm quick-feed magazine in either 40 or 60 round capacity, or drums containing 120 rounds. Typical velocities approach over 3,800 feet-per-second at 200 yards.

This bull-pup, variable-automatic design is a popular post-war variant. The rife is light, almost recoilless and very accurate. The M4 weapon system is modular, and is a favorite weapon for home defense and County Safety departments, with many types of accessories and manufacturers competing for the lucrative civilian M4 market.



The twenty-sixth version of the M4 carbine, this short-barreled rifle shoots 5mm rounds fed by a standard 5mm quick-feed magazine in either 40 or 60 round capacity, or drums containing 120 rounds. Typical velocities approach over 3,800 feet-per-second at 200 yards.

This bull-pup, variable-automatic design is a popular post-war variant. The rife is light, almost recoilless and very accurate. The M4 weapon system is modular, and is a favorite weapon for home defense and County Safety departments with many types of accessories and manufacturers competing for the lucrative civilian M4 market.

Dinner Excitement in the Year 21

September 15, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, The Craft  5 Comments

Dinner in the Toulouse poly marriage can be exciting.

Everyone at dinner thinks Papa moving in is a great idea.

Mainly because, sometimes, I am a medical mess.

Except Katie. To her, this is beyond a good idea. She looks so happy she is about to burst.

“What?” It is easy to think that Katie is a dumb blonde, rather than one of the smartest scientists ever to walk the Earth, the bio-equivalent of Albert Einstein.

Minus the crazy part. Right now, she looks like a bubblehead with a goofy grin.

“My twenty-five-ish year old evil plan is coming to a close!” She actually claps her hands.

I sigh.

“What?” asks Cazandra, looking confused.

“Babies! Milo would make a great grandfather. It’s what he wants, really, really bad,” says Kate, although it is blazingly obvious who wants the babies.

“I need to relearn how to just be a normal woman first,” I say.

“Oh! Oh! She didn’t say no!”

I roll my eyes, but then I look at everyone. “Yes. I would like to have a baby someday. Not anytime soon.” I give Kate a big grin. “Just warn me before you stick an egg up there.”

She startles as if I poked her with a shock baton. Oh my God!

“Sharon Kaitlin Toulouse! You were not planning on putting an egg in me for fertilization without me knowing about it, were you?”

“Yeeeeee…no. No, of course not.”

I reach across the table, grab her wrist and twist.

“Ow! Ow! Let go!”

“If I suddenly find myself pregnant without planning, I swear to God I will chop your hand off at this wrist and feed it to the beagle!”

“Okay! I’ll be good!”


“I swear,” she says with hesitation in her voice.

I twist and pull. Her place setting crashes to the ground as she comes partially out of her seat. Everyone is looking at me with wide eyes.

“Ow! I swear I won’t impregnate you without you knowing about it first. I promise!”

I yank her all the way onto the table. Dishes and food go everywhere. I pin her hand to the table with one hand and with the other, I grab my steak knife and make a cut on her palm.


I stand on my chair and put a knee on her arm, and I let go. I then cut my own palm, and hiss in pain.

I grab her bloody hand and with my bloody hand, then remove my knee. I squeeze her hand tight until she cries out again.

I let go.

“There. Your promise is a blood oath. We are now blood sisters by honor and deed. The vow is set.”

Kaitlin is lying on the table, smeared with food, drink and blood soaking her clothing, and crying.

I turn to Caz.

“So, what’s for dessert?” I ask, dripping blood on the floor.

“Aaaaand that’s why you don’t fuck with the LT,” says Vash.

Conflict in the Year 21: Tokyo

August 29, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, Plot, Setting, The Craft  2 Comments

Oh man, the absurd situations I foster on my poor main character.

As a ex-NI soldier and pilot, I was naked on base many a time. There were times where if I had anything touching my skin I would just lose it. It’s a common side effect of neural implants. My sensitivity to touch is higher than a normal person is, and sometimes that’s a disadvantage.

Today, nudity isn’t common, but it isn’t rare either.

So it was with some nervousness Kaoru is escorting me to the front of the hotel lobby where I can summon Thor, because I’m wearing nothing but a pair of spaghetti-strap fuck-me heels. Each step is a sparkly slither of the naked sexy.

And people are staring. Conversations stops, mouths hang open, women pause, men drink me with their eyes. Oh, this was a mistake. I feel self-conscious and stupid that I, of all people, feel self-conscious.

Kaoru is following behind me carrying a locked case containing my purse, PDA, and needler. She is smirking at the reactions to her handiwork.

Thor is suddenly at my side. Never have I been so grateful to see him. “I can take that, Miss Kaoru-san,” he says. She hands the case over, bows at me, and when I return her bow, she grins and leaves.

The lobby is still silent. Thor puts his hand on my arm.

“Look, Lieutenant, I want to be up front this was not my idea. I told them no. I might as well have been speaking to a rock.”

“What?” This doesn’t sound good. No, not good at all!


I plant my heels and almost fall over. “Thor, I am naked, wearing only scandalous heels and an absurd amount of credits in diamonds. Spit it out!”

“There is a crowd of people outside waiting to escort you to the Palace.”

No! Damn it!

I feel faint, on the verge of hyperventilating. I don’t do well with crowds. “Crowd? Can I slip out the back? Can we VTOL over? How many people are we talking about here?”

I detect a wisp of a smile from the normally stoic Thor.

“All of them, I think.”




August 08, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft  0 Comments

Where the heck did the week go?

Oh, that’s right, working.

Wow that was a lot of work.

But wow, boy did I also do a lot of writing. Observe, my pets!

“Let’s do this,” I say and turn the recording equipment back on. “Cause of death appears to be from internal damage from multiple gunshot wounds.”

“Interesting hypothesis, Lieutenant. Explain.”

“When a wælcyrie is shot, her body closes the wound almost immediately. All these white spots on her skin? Entry points. If we flip her over…”

I flip her over.

“There. Exit wounds, at least some. Only slightly larger, indicative of pistol, not rifle, rounds.”

I flip her back over. “I count fifteen spots. A standard magazine load out.”

“Fifteen. Possible indication of rage and hate.”

“Not necessarily. It takes a lot of effort to kill a wælcyrie. A lot of effort.”

“It seems you have more experience with wælcyrie than I do, Lieutenant.”

A feeling of loss washes through me, but I shove it aside. Now is not the time to start treating death like a normal person.

“Only the dead ones, my Captain,” I whisper, “only the dead ones.”

I press virtual buttons and the robotics around me come alive.