more on the “Racing the Clock” Story Bundle

All Covers Large

Lots of the contributors to the “Racing the Clock” Story Bundle — which includes my Super City Police Department novel The Case of the Claw — have been blogging about the Bundle. One of those is me, of course, and I also ran a guest blog from Lauryn Christopher about her Conflict of Interest.

Here are a few more blogs about the Bundle:

Check ’em out, and check out the Bundle!


on Conflict of Interest in the new Story Bundle

Here’s a guest blog from Lauryn Christopher on her novel Conflict of Interest, which is part of the “Racing the Clock” Story Bundle, which also includes my Super City Police Department novel The Case of the Claw (about which I wrote in this blog entry). 

Take it away, Lauryn….


In most crime and mystery fiction, it’s pretty easy to spot the hero/heroine.

She’s the person in the wrong place at the wrong time, who often finds herself in some sort of peril, but, in spite of all odds, manages to rout the bad guy in the end.

He’s the intrepid investigator/police detective/average Joe, who hunts down the villain with steely-eyed determination and a resolve to see justice prevail.

Villains aren’t always quite so readily apparent, but are seldom the mustachioed characters we remember from Saturday morning cartoons.

They’re more often chameleon-like, with textures and variations that make them sometimes difficult to spot amid the Rogue’s Gallery of shady characters populating the pages of the story. But while each of these individuals may have had some combination of means, motive, and opportunity to have committed the crime-in-question, the villain is ultimately revealed – and usually captured – as the one who acted on their darker impulses as the story progresses.

Yes, I’m generalizing on the stereotypes, but since it’s so easy to identify the stereotypical heroes and villains, it should be just as easy for us to recognize the anti-hero, right?

Not always.

When I wrote Conflict of Interest, I didn’t at first realize that the main character, Meg, was an anti-hero. After all, she’s an assassin – not a typical hero’s profession; on the other hand (keeping spoilers to a minimum here), she actually chooses some heroic-type actions through the course of the story.

It was a fellow writer who read an early draft and pointed out that by telling the story from the assassin’s point of view, I’d entered the gray area and gritty streets inhabited by the anti-hero.

Of course, that suits me just fine. Meg is a complicated person, a woman with a dysfunctional past that has molded and shaped her into the person she is – someone who can kill quickly and efficiently when the need arises, who is not above selling secrets or using what she’s learned to her own advantage or to suit her purposes. At the same time, there’s a core of humanity in her that she frequently fails to recognize – a fierce loyalty to her few friends, a protective nature that asserts itself when she volunteers at a self-defense class or invests her ill-gotten gains in underdeveloped communities.

In her own stories, Meg never sees herself as the hero, but she doesn’t consider herself to be the villain, either. In her matter-of-fact way, she’d tell you that she’s just there, doing what needs to be done. A loner, a person who gets her hands dirty because there’s a job that needs to be done, and she’s not afraid of doing it.

Just don’t ask her to think too much about it.

“In the real world there are no villains. No one actually sets out to do evil. Fiction mirrors life. Or, more accurately, fiction serves as a lens to focus what we know of life and bring its realities into sharper, clearer understanding for us. There are no villains cackling and rubbing their hands in glee as they contemplate their evil deeds. There are only people with problems, struggling to solve them.”
–Ben Bova
All Covers Large

This is Keith again. You can get Conflict of Interest as part of the “Racing the Clock” Story Bundle for whatever price you want, along with a Fiction River Presents anthology and novels by Sam Stone and Kari Kilgore. If you pay $15 or more, you also get my novel Super City Police Department: The Case of the Claw, as well as novels by Mike Baron, Robert Jeschonek, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Dean Wesley Smith. Do check it out!


on the Super City Police Department in the new Story Bundle


The latest Story Bundle is called “Racing the Clock,” and it’s available for another seventeen days. It includes a ton of fast-paced stories, including my Super City Police Department novel The Case of the Claw.

I first conceived the SCPD back in the early 2000s, originally wanting to do it as a comic book. I’d actually been in discussions with both Darick Robertson and Mike Collins at different times about providing the art chores. But we were never able to make it work.

The concept behind the SCPD goes back to when I first started reading superhero comics and wondering what happens next. I mean, okay, Batman punches Joker in the nose and hands him off to Commissioner Gordon — then what? He has to be arrested, prosecuted, and so on. And it’s not like Batman’s gonna fill out a witness statement or testify in court. (“Please state your name for the record.” “I’m Batman.” That won’t happen…)

Both my love of superheroes and my love of police procedurals have their origin in television watching of my formative years. My first exposure to superheroes was The Electric Company, a brilliant educational kids show in the 1970s (it featured folks like Morgan Freeman, Joan Rivers, Tom Lehrer, Rita Moreno, Mel Brooks, and many more), which had licensed Spider-Man from Marvel, doing live-action Spidey adventures. That led me to reading comic books (starting with Marvel’s Electric Company tie-in comic called Spidey Super Stories) and also watching reruns of The Adventures of Superman and the Adam West Batman.

As for cops, what got me into that was first Barney Miller and then Hill Street Blues. Both shows utterly captivated me, and led me to my continued study of police procedure and interest in writing cops.

And I always wondered, what’s life like for a cop in Gotham City or Metropolis or the Marvel version of New York City?

So I wrote it. I’m hardly the first — there’s the brilliant comic book Gotham Central from the 2000s, as well as Alan Moore’s Top 10 and Brian Michael Bendis’s Powers — but I have my own little take on it. I try very hard to approach them as cop stories first. The superheroes are incidental, though very much part of the fabric.

I also have always found it important in general to show what the ground-level consequences are of big-picture happenings. I’m less interested in the big-ass battle that levels buildings, I’m more interested in what happened to the people inside that building after it was leveled.

Which is why we see, for example, Officer Trevor Baptiste, who is in a long-standing legal battle over compensation for the death of his wife. She was on a job interview in an office building that was vaporized in a superhero battle — but there’s no proof that she was in the building, because she wasn’t an employee, and the records of her entry into the building (sign-in sheet and computer) were also vaporized, so the insurance company is refusing to pay.

It’s also why it’s sometimes hard to get a judge to sign a warrant to get a DNA sample when it involves a costumed hero because they don’t have a real name for the person. Even if the DNA they take from the guy in a costume matches what they have to compare it to, if they go to arrest him, there’s no proof that the guy in the costume is the same one they took the DNA from, because of his keeping his identity secret. They need his real name, which they can’t get without violating his fourth- and fifth-amendment rights.

The Case of the Claw is the first of many stories featuring the Super City Police Department, though the others are all shorter-form. I’ve written two (so far) stories in the milieu, “Stone Cold Whodunit” in the 2014 Dark Quest Books anthology With Great Power and “Send in the Clones” in the 2015 eSpec Books anthology The Side of Good/The Side of Evil.

And the sequels to The Case of the Claw can be found in novella form. Three are available now as eBooks from Bastei eBooks: Avenging Amethyst, Undercover Blues, and Secret Identities, which came out in 2016 & 2017. And I’ve got four more novellas under contract with Falstaff Books, which I hope to have out starting next year.

So check out the “Racing the Clock” Story Bundle and get to know Captain Garcia, Lieutenant Zimmerman, Detective MacAvoy, Detective Milewski, Officer Baptiste, Officer Fontaine, Officer O’Malley, Officer Fiorello, and the rest of the SCPD. For $15 or more (you pay what you want), you get The Case of the Claw along with eight other great, fast-paced novels by Mike Baron, Lauryn Christopher, Robert Jeschonek, Kari Kilgore, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, and Sam Stone, plus a Fiction River Presents anthology edited by Allyson Longueira featuring stories by JC Andrijeski, Thomas K. Carpenter, Scott William Carter, Dayle A. Dermatis, Brendan DuBois, Dan C. Duval, Steven Mohan Jr., Eric Stocklassa, and Rusch and Smith. (For less than $15, you just get the anthology and the novels by Christopher, Kilgore, and Stone.)

All Covers Large

new Story Bundle featuring the Super City Police Department

There’s a new Story Bundle available, called “Racing the Clock,” featuring gripping, fast-paced stories in a variety of genres, including my own Super City Police Department novel The Case of the Claw.

Dean Wesley Smith put this particular Bundle together, and I’ll let him take over from here……..

All Covers Large

I love reading stories that grab me and don’t let me go until I come up at the end of the story, sometimes breathless from the ride the author has taken me on. Those kinds of stories make me want to instantly get more stories from that author, repeat the ride like getting back on a roller coaster for a second trip around.

With the Racing the Clock StoryBundle, those were the types of books I was looking for to put together in one place. And since I love just about all genres, I didn’t care if the books were science fiction, mystery, fantasy, or thriller, as long as the author could take me on a ride. Fast-paced and gripping can be done in any area. I just wanted the feeling. The thrill.

So I went to find writers I knew had the ability (an advanced ability, actually) to take all of us readers on a breathless adventure. And in this bundle are some of the best writers in the business at doing just that.

My first stop when looking for writers who could hold a reader in a fast-paced book was four bestselling writers with careers very similar to mine, frighteningly enough. Mike Baron, Jeffrey J. Mariotte, Robert Jeschonek, and Keith R.A. DeCandido are all known to write across many, many genres and in many forms. From comics to media books to original novels, they have done it all and successfully for decades.

Wow, do I feel honored to have the four of them in this bundle with me.

Jeffrey J. Mariotte is the author of over seventy novels among his many other short stories and comic books. He is a master of supernatural thrillers, but for this bundle he joins in with his dark thriller of kidnapping, Missing White Girl. Gripping doesn’t begin to describe this book.

Mike Baron, the creator of Nexus and Badger comics, among many other things and a lot of novels, gives the bundle Helmet Head, a fast-paced and crazed novel of Nazi biker zombies. Yup, I said that. Got to read it to believe it.

Keith R. A. DeCandido is the author of over fifty novels and more comics than he can count. He writes in a lot of different universes, but for this bundle he gave us Super City Police Department: The Case of the Claw, a police thriller in a town where superheroes exist, but it is up to the police to find and stop the Claw.

Robert Jeschonek is the bestselling author of more books, comics, and short stories than he can count. One reviewer called him “the love child of Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman.” Yup, I agree with that completely. In this novel, Bloodliner, Robert’s hero joins forces with a vampiric Shakespeare and King Arthur to fight for their lives against an ancient evil. As Robert says, Bloodliner is not a typical throat-biter.

Bestselling writer Dean Wesley Smith (that’s me) fits right here with these first four. I have written around two hundred novels, comics, and more short stories than I can count. Death Takes a Diamond is a Mary Jo Assassin novel where immortal assassins take down a massive diamond smuggling ring.

Next, I added New York Times bestselling writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch to this all-star bundle. She also has written hundreds of novels, comics, and short stories, but is more known for her award-winning science fiction and her award-winning mystery under her Kris Nelscott name. I talked her into giving the bundle The Tower, a fast-paced time travel short novel of an attempt to steal the Crown Jewels.

Then, for good measure, I asked another multi-genre and prolific writer, Lauryn Christopher. Lauryn is not only a writer under many names, but under another name yet is also a well-known editor. I wanted her novel Conflict of Interest, a Hit Lady for Hire book, mostly because it makes a fun companion to my Mary Jo Assassin novel in this bundle.

Since my novel, Lauryn’s novel, and Kris’s The Tower are all fast-paced crime stories at their heart, I wanted to add one more crime story to the mix. So Sam Stone fit right in with her wonderful supernatural crime thriller Posing for Picasso. Like the other writers in this bundle, Sam has also had a multi-faceted career with over a dozen novels, a lot of short stories and numbers of screenplays.

But I needed to round everything off. So to go with Robert Jeschonek’s crazy Bloodliner novel of vampires, I added in Kari Kilgore’s wonderful and very strange Until Death, which was on the preliminary ballot for the Stoker Award and a finalist for the Golden Stake Award. Until Death takes us deep into the history of Transylvania, in a way not done before. And Kari also fits right into this mix because she too writes across many genres and is very prolific.

Then, for even more breathtaking, fast-paced fiction, Fiction River: Racing the Clock fills out the bundle. Ten short stories by top writers.

So strap into your chair, get some time set aside, and dig into ten of the most diverse, wild, fast-paced books you have ever seen in one bundle.

Edge-of-your-seat fiction by top writers.

But wait, it does get better if you decide to support our fantastic charity I hope you do. There is no better feeling than helping a great cause and then reading a great book.

Or ten.

Dean Wesley Smith


For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of five books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

Posing for Picasso by Sam Stone

Conflict of Interest by Lauryn Christopher

Until Death – Death and Redemption Book 1 by Kari Kilgore

Fiction River Presents: Racing the Clock by Allyson Longueira

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!

Bloodliner by Robert Jeschonek

Helmet Head by Mike Baron

The Tower by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Case of the Claw by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Missing White Girl by Jeffrey J. Mariotte

Death Takes a Diamond by Dean Wesley Smith

This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It’s also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards—which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle—and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to AbleGamers!
  • Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you’ll get the bonus books!


StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for and

For more information, visit our website at, tweet us at @storybundle and like us on Facebook.

just a few days left to get the “Cities of Magic” Story Bundle!

The “Cities of Magic” Story Bundle is only available for a few more days! For up to $15 you get eBooks by Emily Martha Sorensen, Erin M. Hartshorn, Janet Tait, and Paul Kane. For $15 or more, you get those eBooks by Gail Carriger, Amity Green, J.S. Morin, Meg Cowley & Victoria DeLuis, and Joseph R. Lallo, plus another book by Sorensen, and my new novel A Furnace Sealed!

You guys have heard me babble enough about Furnaceyou can read an excerpt here and hear me read from it here — but here’s what folks are saying about the other books…..

All Covers Large

On Paul Kane’s Arcana:

Arcana is a hugely entertaining read, a real rollercoaster ride of ups and downs that keep the pages turning until the very end, and another work of high quality from this prolific author.

– Starburst Magazine

On Emily Martha Sorensen’s “Werevulture” series:

I can say with absolute certainty that this is one of my new favorite series. Trials of a Teenage Werevulture has the perfect amount of paranormal, mystery, and humor to make it a wonderful action-packed adventure! There was never a dull moment and I loved Lisette’s character.

– Amazon Review

On Erin M. Hartshorn’s Ghost Garages:

Urban fantasy and cozy mystery mix amusingly in this first novel in the Boston Technowitch series. … Some aspects of Pepper’s life are a little absurd …. But if you can handle them, the quirks and over-the-top bits add a lot to the fun, for a very entertaining start to a new series.

Locus Magazine

On Janet Tait’s Cast Into Darkness:

A fun, creative, non-stop adventure! Tait brings us a well-realized magical world full of double dealing, action, and romance that fans of urban fantasy (like me!) will really love.

– Chris Marie Green, author of Only the Good Die Young

On Amity Green’s Scales:

Amity Green proves that there’s still room for invention in YA fantasy. Leave it to a Texas Gargoyle in London to teach us what it means to be human.

– D.J. Butler, bestselling author of Witchy Eye


On Gail Carriger’s How to Marry a Werewolf:

This book is a lot of fun but also goes a little deeper and darker into the worst of Parasolverse society problems than some of Carriger’s other books. From what sends Faith to London to Channing’s own past, I’d call both backstories much more tragic than others Carriger has written. It gives these two more minor characters a bit of depth that we don’t always get for “lesser” characters.

– Book Loving Nut

On J.S. Morin’s Shadowblood Heir:

Matt’s is an interesting head to live in, and it’s fascinating to see the world through his eyes and experience the ensuing weirdness along with him.

– Amazon Review

On Meg Cowley & Victoria DeLuis’s Relic Guardians Collection:

The marketing blurb on Amazon says of Ancient Magic: “Fans of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones will enjoy this fast-paced urban fantasy adventure series filled with magic, action, and kick-ass characters.” For once you CAN believe the hype, because this is exactly what you are getting.

– Steph Warren, Bookshine and Readbows Blog

And, what the heck, here’s one for my own A Furnace Sealed:

The author is a born and bred New Yorker and the love for his city practically oozes from the pages. It’s so refreshing to see other parts of New York, besides Manhattan, represented in prose. There are a slew of tidbits about the city thrown in. They showcase the history of the city and the flavour of the different neighbourhoods. The tidbits also add depth to the story, and as a history lover, they make me want to go read up more on the topics mentioned.

—Amazon Review

So go check it out!


new Story Bundle: “The Cities of Magic” (featuring A Furnace Sealed)

All Covers Large

I’m in the latest from the fine folks at Story Bundle: “The Cities of Magic,” featuring a bunch of nifty urban fantasy tales!

With Story Bundle, you pay whatever you want for DRM-free eBooks of the books in the bundle. For up to $15 you get the following:

  • Arcana by Paul Kane
  • Trials of a Teenage Werevulture (“Teenage Werevulture” Book 1) by Emily Martha Sorensen
  • Ghost Garages (a “Boston Technowitch” novel) by Erin M. Hartshorn
  • Cast Into Darkness by Janet Tait

If you pay $15 or more for the bundle, you also get these bonus tales:

  • A Traitor in the Shadows (“Shards of Shadow” Book 1) by Joseph R. Lallo
  • Trifles of a Teenage Werevulture (“Teenage Werevulture” Book 2) by Emily Martha Sorensen
  • A Furnace Sealed (“The Adventures of Bram Gold” Book 1) by Keith R.A. DeCandido
  • Sales  by Amity Green
  • How to Marry a Werewolf (a “Claw and Courtship” novella) by Gail Carriger
  • Shadowblood Heir by J.S. Morin
  • the Relic Guardians Collection omnibus, collecting Books 1-3 by Meg Cowley & Victoria DeLuis

So check it out! It’s a great deal on some excellent urban fantasy!