Today we have Mark Terence Chapman visiting with us!
Hi, everyone! My latest science fiction novel, Sunrise Destiny, is a 2010 EPIC Awards finalist. (Winners to be announced in March). So far, it's received nothing but "5-star" reviews, from You Gotta Read Reviews, Coffee Time Romance, and Dark Divas Reviews.
To give you a taste of Destiny, here are the book blurb and a short excerpt:
When private detective Donatello Sunrise is coerced into finding a Mob boss’s daughter, he stumbles onto a much bigger case. Dozens of women, all young, all petite, have disappeared in recent weeks. Mysterious and conflicting clues seem to point to a government conspiracy, a mad scientist bent on global domination, or abduction by bloodthirsty vampires. Nothing makes sense. Before he knows it, Sunrise and his hooker friend Lola find themselves running for their lives. The Mob wants them dead, the cops want them for serial murders—even the kidnappers are after them.
The trail leads them to telepathic aliens, an adventure that spans the stars and leaves the fate of Earth in doubt, and ultimately a resolution that has implications for human evolution. With the fate of two worlds intertwined, Sunrise and Lola must somehow help the good guys defeat the evil ones.
The trick is telling one from the other.
A dark figure emerged from the cool water of the bay. It was a cloudless night, warm, muggy, and black as pitch. A moment later a second figure followed the first. Water sheeted from the pair, hardly seeming to register their presence. They crept up the rocky shore, past a grassy strip to the street beyond.
The intruders chose this spot for two reasons: the burned-out streetlight made this stretch of road nearly as dark as the bay, and from observation they knew their intended victim always walked past this spot on her way to the bus stop a block away.
The duo hunkered behind an abandoned car. There was no traffic to worry about. There never was at this time of night—not on this street of warehouses and dockyards. Their wait would be short. She passed this spot at nearly the same time each night, and that time was only moments away.
They tensed at the sound of leather scuffing the pavement nearby. Seconds later, a bright flare, quickly extinguished, marked the match she used to light a cigarette. Only yards now until she was within reach, only seconds to go. The glow from the cigarette tip might as well have been a neon sign blaring, “Here I am! Take me!” Two more paces. One.
They pounced. She fell.
It was over before she had time to register their presence. One gripped her legs, the other her arms, as they struggled to carry her across the sand and back to the bay. They laid her out in shallow water near the shore. A ripple made her arm bob as if in benediction. Then a dark hand touched her face, almost seeming to caress it, leaving a momentary scintillation in its wake.
Each figure took an arm as they pulled her out into the bay, looking for all the world like two tugs towing a barge. Twenty yards out, they submerged, dragging her with them to the inky depths below.
June 14th began like most days, with me sitting in the corner booth of Carl’s Diner drinking the swill that passes for coffee. I scanned the day’s flimsy. No, I’m not an ambulance-chaser, but I have been known to find clients in the headlines.
My name’s Donatello Sunrise and I’m a private detective. Not the uptown, shake-hands-with-the-mayor, attend-charity-events, high-class P.I. type, but the fast-talking, gin-swilling, skirt-chasing, pound-the-pavement, work-for-a-living gumshoe kind. If you need compromising holos of your cheating spouse, or you’re being blackmailed by the sleaze next door, I’m your man. It’s not glamorous, but it’s a job that needs doing, and I’m damned good at it.
Maybe someone’s daughter is missing and the cops--big surprise--are clueless. And maybe I call and offer to help find daddy’s little girl--for a nominal fee, of course. Hey, I’m not proud of it, but it’s a living, and sometimes I actually find the kid. So it’s a win-win.
On this particular Tuesday, nothing jumped out at me as the 48-point headlines crawled across the flimsy. The mayor was stumping for re-election--so what else was new? The electronic ink on the plastic flimsy swirled and reformed to reflect the latest news. A woman had disappeared near a bus stop by the bay. Foul play was suspected. Same old same-old. I rolled up the flimsy and stuck it in my jacket pocket.
Then I finished my third cup of coffee and tossed some bills on the table for Marge. I started to get up to leave, when a cloud blocked the bright sunlight streaming in through the window across the aisle. Except it wasn’t a cloud.
A ham hock of a hand slammed me back down into my seat and held me there by my shoulder. I looked up. . .and up. . .and up at an Everest of a man. He sneered the way a bully does when he’s about to pound a kid into the playground dirt. Across the table from me, a dapper and much less imposing man slid onto the bench seat.
“Long time no see, Sunrise.” His sneer matched that of the other goon. This didn’t look to be a social meeting.
“Not long enough, Weasel.”
“Always with the wisecracks, eh, Sunrise? And it’s Weisel. You’ll do well to remember that. My friend here,” he nodded at the man-mountain, “don’t take kindly to punks that insult me. Do ya, Tiny?”
The ham hock turned into a vise; steel fingers dug deep into my shoulder blade. I had to grit my teeth to keep from crying out. Weasel nodded sharply and the pressure ceased. Maybe Weasel didn’t like the nickname, but his hatchet face and beady eyes invited the comparison.
“Tough guy, eh, Sunrise?”
I fixed him with an acid glare and thought of all the things I’d like to do to the little rodent. He was the brains of the duo, which wasn’t saying much.
“Run outta wisecracks? That’s okay, you can think up some more on the way.” He nodded to Tiny, who yanked me out of the booth by my jacket collar.
“On the way? To where?” I had a pretty good idea.
“To see the boss. He wants to have a chat.”
That’s what I was afraid of.
You can find out more about Sunrise Destiny and my other novels and short stories at my website. Sunrise Destiny is available from Amazon.com, Fictionwise.com, Red Rose Publishing, and many other venues.
4 years ago