Category Archives: HeroNet Files

Guest Post – Wayland Smith on HeroNet Files

Welcome to my first guest post! I’m honored to have my friend and co-contributor to HeroNet Files, Wayland Smith visiting. Without anything further, here’s Wayland.

 

Howdy. I’m very excited to be a guest star here on Harry’s blog. Harry, in addition to being a good friend of many years, is one of my co-writers in HeroNet Files Book 1. HeroNet is a concept I created years ago in the process of fleshing out a shared world of superheroes that Harry and I have worked on together. HeroNet is an online database that heroes can access for information on various villains, groups, ideas on how to fight bad guys, and even ways to contact friendly scientists, gadgeteers, and medics.

Argent, one of the two main characters in this story, has a long history in many different incarnations reaching back to 1988.  I guess that means he can vote and legally buy a drink now. He’s a highly skilled fighter with a major attitude problem. In fact, his brief time on a hero team came to an end because of that, but that’s another story. While he’s very rough around the edges, Argent is definitely a good guy. He’d laugh at being called a hero, but he’s on the streets almost every night, fighting the good fight and protecting the innocent. The fact that he happens to really enjoy a good fight is just a bonus.

Cobalt Rose is a novice hero, and Hunt the Tiger is mostly from her viewpoint. She’s something of an action junkie, and accidentally discovered the rush from protecting people. The story opens with her debut in costume, which, in the grand tradition of heroic first appearances, doesn’t quite go as planned. It’s a fun story, or at least I think so, with some twists and turns along the way.

HeroNet Files, Book 1, is just the beginning of stories set in this world. There will be a Book 2 at the very least, which Harry, Dara, and I are already planning, possibly with some new authors contributing. I also have at least one novel finished about Wildside, Inc, a band of superhuman mercenaries (don’t call them heroes!), and we’re looking into additional projects.

For myself, I have a novel out called In My Brother’s Name, about a terrorist attack on Washington, DC, that comes about because of a mistake someone made that they just can’t admit to. Things take a series of dark turns from there. I also have stories in a few different anthologies: This Mutant Life: Bad Company, another collection of superhuman stories, and Memorial Day – my story in that one shares the world of Wildside and Argent and Cobalt Rose. I also have a story in SNAFU: Tales of Military History, which is coming out later this year.

As you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of heroes. I write reviews of comic books for DCCollectors.com, and post about more general heroic topics on my website, watchtowermansion.com. I occasionally contribute to unleadedwriting.com, a group blog about writing in general.

Thanks to Harry for letting me come by and talk a bit, and thanks to you for reading.

Wayland Smith story contained within...

Wayland Smith story contained within…

Argent and the Cobalt Rose on the cover

Argent and the Cobalt Rose on the cover

 

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HeroNet Files released

I’ve had my first superhero story published. I’m really excited, but before I get started, I want to thank Sam R. Kennedy for the tremendous cover that he created. If you’d like to see more of his work, you can click here to go to his website. He is a true professional and an absolute pleasure to work with. Additionally, I’ve invited my fellow contributors, Wayland Smith and Dara Hannon, to do guest posts about their novellas in the next few days.

So, this is your official warning that I’m potentially about to go into a fanboy crazed comic book rant.

My First Comic Book

My First Comic Book

The first comic book that I ever remember getting was Justice League of America #129 (that’s the first series). I’m not sure that I understood everything that happened, but I was shocked when (spoiler alert!) Red Tornado was willing to sacrifice himself to save a city. There were so many superheroes (Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Hawkman, Flash, of course, Red Tornado) with so many powers that I was completely hooked. I followed that up with The Incredible Hulk #200 (seriously awesome!) and Captain America and the Falcon #199. I was hooked. Spider-Man would soon enter my life. To this day, I love superheroes and comics.

During National Novel Writing Month, I wrote a sequel to my novella/novel in progress, Freedom Squad: Daughter of Orion. I’m hoping in the next year to have a couple of books come out for Freedom Squad, written at a Y7 level or so. Rigel is officially my daughter’s favorite superhero (though she’s second to Hermione Granger as far as idols). While this book is set in the same shared universe, it’s written for a more adult audience. For example,  there’s a sex scene in one of the stories as well as a human trafficking issue in mine.

When I wrote Hidden Strengths, I wanted to write an origin story about people who were discovering their powers and trying to benefit from them without being a hero or a villain. I was inspired by Spider-Man and his attempts at pro wrestling before he learned that with great power comes great responsibility. Scott, one of the protagonists, decides to get involved with a superhuman fighting league so he can earn money to pay for college. He’s a nice guy with something to prove who gets in over his head rather rapidly. Fortunately for him, he has the ability to absorb kinetic energy making him stronger and more invulnerable in the short term. Part of that energy stays with him, permanently changing him over the long term.

My other protagonist, Marisa, is probably closer to being a villain at the beginning rather than a hero. She has control over her own superhuman powers and has trained to use them for most of her life. Unfortunately, outside of combat, she’s a pawn of the people around her.

Both characters discover something they need in the other. For Marisa, Scott is one of the first decent people she’s met, and she desperately needs someone like that in her life. For Scott, Marisa bolsters his self-confidence and helps him find the strength to try and escape the world of superpowered combat. Unfortunately for both of them, the true villains of the piece aren’t going to let them walk or even run away.

There’s a lot of action in the story and hopefully, a solid superheroic origin.

HeroNet Files Book 1, is available on Amazon in print and Kindle versions, as well as Smashwords in about every other electronic format. It’s also available at Barnes and Noble in print and Nook formats.

HeroNet Cover

Chapter 26 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 26

“How could you?” shouted Cori’s dad. “You let all those people in the mall die.”

Cori looked around. She was at home in Australia, a place that she hadn’t lived for years, but she was Rigel and in costume. “No, Dad, this isn’t you. I’m in my own mind being attacked.”

She felt a hand on her shoulder and turned. A black-gloved fist slammed into her jaw. She fell to the ground with the taste of blood in her mouth.

The Ace of Spades stood over her.

“You think I’m afraid of a fistfight?” she asked him.

“No,” he said, drawing a pistol from his belt, “but you’ll be traumatized by this.” He pointed the gun at her father and fired three times.
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Chapter 25 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Sorry about the delay in posting. I’m getting myself back together after Nano. More on that in an upcoming post.

Chapter 25

“Got him,” she said.

Rigel stood up and went over to the Freedom Squad computer. She closed her eyes, feeling the location and its surroundings. She opened a map site and moved the maps until she was sure that she had the right place.

“He’s there, just outside of town, at that mall,” she said. She that knew he had to know that she had detected him. It all somehow seemed too easy. She didn’t like it.

“That’s the new Appleton Mall,” said Nightstar. “How ironic. We were just there.”

“To be exact,” said Ion, “it’s a coffee shop at the new Appleton Mall. I should have known the Ace needed to stay highly caffeinated.”
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Chapter 24 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 24

After what felt like an eternity, Cori clambered out of the tube. She wondered if she had briefly drifted off to sleep. As the air hit her, her skin felt slightly sticky. Solaria had been right. A second shower was a requirement after spending time in the healing tubes.

Dr. Lord handed her a warm towel. She wiped off the residue from the tube. Strangely, she felt surprisingly clean afterward. She wondered if she had been wrong about the second shower. When she touched her hair, she decided that Solaria had definitely been right.

Nightstar was gone. She looked around, slightly surprised that he had left.

“Dr. Lord?” she said.

“Cori, call me Jake.”

“Okay, Jake. Where did Nightstar go?”
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Chapter 23 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 23

Time.

Cori felt as if she were running out of time.

She tried to tell herself that the mayor was the Ace of Spades, and that he had been hiding in front of her eyes. She tried to believe that the Ace felt that by being close to Freedom Squad that they would never suspect him. She tried to believe that it was possible that the Ace hadn’t considered the physical danger posed by walking around next to superheroes.

All she did believe was that somewhere, the Ace of Spades was escaping.

Her communicator buzzed. A text message came from Starlight. “I will be delayed in my return. What is the situation?”

Rigel used her telekinesis to text back. “Fusion defeated. Return to Headquarters when possible.”

She had let her team head back to base. Everyone was hurt, and they needed treatment. Jake Lord had returned to Freedom Squad Headquarters and was ready to help. The Homeland Security Ultra Task Force had people in radiation suits sweeping the area with Geiger counters. Rigel wanted to leave, but someone from Freedom Squad should be present. She was team leader, so she was the choice.
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Chapter 22 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 22

The mayor watched as the university’s reactor moved closer and closer to meltdown. One of the screens in the Monitor Room showed a white ace on a black background.

His hand flinched toward his own Freedom Squad communicator, but he didn’t know why. Everything was set in motion. There was nothing that anyone could do to stop it. Once again, the Ace of Spades had manipulated everything to his advantage.

Within a few short minutes, victory was assured.

An alert flashed on the Monitor Room’s internal security system. Someone was trying to break in, but he had changed all the codes.

“It will take Homeland Security hours to get in, and no one strong enough to break through those doors is around. Pity that I was trapped in here. Maybe I’ll blame it on Rigel and forgive her during the funeral,” he said.

With a whoosh, the security doors to the Monitor Room opened. A burning smell floated inside the room, as a man in a black bodysuit with flames on it walked inside. “Sorry, Mr. Mayor. I’m not a full-fledged member of the team and Rigel didn’t give me the security code. I’m supposed to make sure that you’re safe. I’m Velocity.”
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Chapter 21 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 21

Ion reminded himself that no matter how fast they were going, Starlight wasn’t going to drop him. The alien robot or person of whatever he was had carried him safely to the wreck on the interstate the night before. Starlight had also carried ambulances.

They were moving faster this time.

Ion activated his communicator. “Rigel, if Starlight and I get there first, should we engage Fusion or wait?”

“He’s at a nuclear reactor. Do everything you can to stop him. There’s no telling what he might do,” she said.

“Understood,” replied Ion. “Starlight, did you hear that?”

“Affirmative,” said Starlight. “I have also spotted our adversary. He is emitting a cloud of intense radiation. I will put you on the ground before I engage.”
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Chapter 20 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 20

The mayor rubbed his temples. He couldn’t believe what had happened. He was inside Freedom Squad Headquarters in Protector’s room sitting in a chair. Protector was lying in a bed only a few feet from where he was sitting, and Starlight stood over him.

“What just happened?” asked the mayor. “Defiance was about to crush me. Now, I’m here?”

“As mayor of this fine city, you should know that you are in safe hands. The noble heroes of Megalopolis are currently outwitting the foul villains outside,” stated Starlight flatly.

The mayor stared blankly at Starlight.

“Mr. Mayor?”

The mayor stood up. “Starlight, how did I get here and please use standard English?”

“My apologies, sir. Velocity brought you. I am to defend you if the battle goes poorly, however, it appears that Freedom Squad has triumphed.”

“Who is, no, wait, by Velocity are you being scientific or… never mind, I need to make a call. Afterwards, I want a full explanation from Rigel,” he looked over at Protector. “What happened to him?”

“I believe it was the work of a super-villain known as the Ace of Spades.”

“Fine, Starlight, stay here with Protector. I’m going to have a talk with Rigel.”

The mayor stepped out into the hallway and began walking toward the front. As he walked, he typed a single word text into his encrypted phone. “Nuclear.”
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Chapter 19 – Freedom Squad Nanowrimo

Chapter 19

“Defiance!” shouted Rigel.

She was inside a burned-out building, picking her way around fallen walls and broken columns. Bare wires sparked from wall outlets and water sprayed from shattered faucets. The floor was covered with playing cards, each one of them showing the Ace of Spades.

“Bill!” she yelled.

She came to a window and saw a single building standing across the street. It was a single family ranch-style home, beige with brown trim, fairly non-descript, other than it was in perfect shape including a manicured lawn. Oh, and it was located in a ruined city between collapsing skyscrapers. An American flag hung off the porch.

“Well, at least it doesn’t appear too hard to figure out what’s important in his mind,” she said.

The Ace of Spades opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. “Hello, Rigel.”
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