Friday, July 20, 2012

In The Hot Seat With H.C. Brown: J.L. O' Faolain

Title: The Thirteenth Sigil
Release Date: July 16, 2012
Author: J.L. O'Faolain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre : Urban Fantasy/Mystery

Blurb: After his last somewhat disastrous assignment, sidhe special detective Tuulois MacColewyn effectively got benched. But when a break-in at a high-tech storage facility leaves no witnesses—alive or, Cole’s specialty, dead—and just one missing canister, he’s recalled to Section Thirteen, the NYPD’s paranormal branch. It’s nice to get to work again with his current flame, Inspector Joss Vallimun, even if they do have their hands full: some mysterious force is cutting a swath through the city in search of that canister. If Cole and Joss figure that out, there’s the disappearances of employees connected to a local children’s television program to solve. Meanwhile, Internal Affairs is breathing down their necks.
But while Section Thirteen is working to find the stolen property and figure out what it is, something even stranger starts happening. Children’s imaginary friends are somehow manifesting themselves—and they’re coming after Section Thirteen. Even with a newly deputized witch and an ogre to bolster their numbers, the detectives have their work cut out for them.

Welcome J.L. O'Faolain

1.What is your Hot New Release?
The Thirteenth Sigil, which is the third book in my Section Thirteen series.

2- Can you tell us a little about yourself and you books?
I am a full-time author from the Deep South. According to local popular opinion, I am also a number of things one generally doesn't repeat during interviews or in polite society. My books are typically urban fantasy/superhero tales with non-traditional romantic elements that explore, among other things, fluid sexuality. The Section Thirteen series revolves around a group of NYPD officers who work in a clandestine division that solves occult crimes. I also have a new mini-series coming out in October about superheroes. Both storylines feature bisexuality and fluid orientation. In short, I rarely do anything normal.

3- Have you ever used events or stories contemporary or historical in your work?
I haven't tried anything historical yet. I try to limit contemporary events as much as possible, though sometimes, they get mentioned in passing. I have nothing against works that do this. Usually, it isn't my style. I'm always open to new possibilities, though.

4. Is there anything you find particularly challenging/ rewarding about writing?
I have to write. If I go for too long without writing something, things get... interesting. Its a GOOD thing for me to keep writing. The people who have shared a home with me in the past will attest to this fact. I can't imagine being anything other than a writer.

H.C.  You are not alone, I need to write daily or I think my head will explode.

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?
I entertained the idea of being a Ninja Turtle when I was young, but my parents were dead-set against it. Considering some of the other things I could have applied for, being a writer is definitely the lesser of evils on a sliding scale of morality. One childhood dream I haven't fulfilled yet is to travel the world. I still plan on doing that.

H.C. Don't forget to take your laptop.

Q: Do you have a writing schedule?
I write daily. Like I said, it's a compulsive habit.

Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?
I devoured books as a kid, but as I got older, they interested me less. I started complaining about how the kind of stories I wanted to read, that really captured me, didn't seem to be around as much anymore. It was put-up-or-shut-up time after that. Whether or not I've succeeded so far is left for debate.

Q: What can readers expect from you in the near future?
More books. Lots and lots of them. If I could give up sleeping, and write through the night, I would.

Would you like to share an excerpt?
This is something from my upcoming superhero novel, 'Push Comes to Shove', coming out this October. It hasn't come back from the editing cleaners yet, but I hope you all enjoy.

(I've had people DEMAND this calender, incidentally. Dreamspinner Press sounded interested by the idea, but I think they need more incentive. E-mail them if sexy, half-naked superheroes on your computer desktop sounds like a great idea.)
 H.C. Hell yeah!

Excerpt – Push Comes to Shove

He heard the footsteps before the guards got anywhere near his cell. There was no question of who they'd come for. All of the cells surrounding his were unoccupied. He didn't bother looking up from his book as the black guard stepped into view. Why they had come was anyone's guess. He assumed the warden was attempting to reassert his authority after the recent string of riots. All of them had been planned. He was aware of each one several days in advance, but opted not to participate, not even when the trio of Latin Kings dragged one man into his block to gang rape. He'd simply rolled over and gone back to sleep.

He couldn't recall the name of the man watching him. Learning the names of the guards seemed pointless, since they all came and went. The sense of disgust coming through the bars from the one watching him now left a sour taste in his mouth, but he smiled in response to it. They all hated him. It was a given, but most of the staff working in East Arlenton Correctional Facility shared a special dislike for his presence.

No one, least of all himself, would say he was a model prisoner. Anyone put in the same cell as him would up going to the infirmary within a week's time. Mind you, these same prisoners were people the warden typically hated, or wanted to see hurt for some reason. It had been a game amongst the other members of the institution to see how long it took for him to go over the edge. Some prisoners tried to get transferred to his cell in order to prove how tough they were. The ones outside looking in placed bets with whatever they had. Sometimes, the guards got in on it.

Then he had an accident, and the warden made the uncontested decision to place him in an unused section that had once served as the prison's special confinement quarter. Since then, there had been no more problems.

Of course, by contrast, he'd been bored out of his skull.

Still, overall, he preferred being left alone. There was no one trying to stab him from the lower bunk while he slept, or some three-hundred pound muscle head shouting loudly about how he would soon be their next bitch. The silence got tedious after a while, but it made reading a lot easier.

A loud clang rattled through the air. The guard was tapping his baton against the bars, trying to get his attention. He considered ignoring the man, but curiosity overruled his better judgment all too soon, so Sun Tsu's “The Art of War” went down with his place marked on the bed atop Machiavelli's The Prince.

Silently, he watched the guard from the top bunk, not moving. “You've got a visitor,” the dark-skinned man said stiffly, as though the very idea went against the very laws of nature. “Fix yourself up first.”

Smoothly, he came down off the bed to the floor. “I'm ready,” he said in a much softer voice that surprised most people. “Let's go.”

It was much louder once they left his area of the jail. The other prisoners were making noise over something that didn't concern him. Several guards banged their batons against the bars, trying to calm things down, to no avail. When he strode past, the volume dropped like a stone in a clear pond. Confused, a number of inmates on the far end of the block stuck their heads out to see what was wrong. At the sight of him, all moved back into their cells without a word. None of them looked up as he moved quietly past.

He assumed they were bringing him to the regular area where visitors spoke to inmates through phones from behind bulletproof glass. He'd only seen them once, at the station where he'd been held prior to his trial and subsequent sentencing, but figured they must have them here as well. Surprisingly, the guards steered him into a private room where several narrow tables stood with chairs all around. A woman in her late forties was waiting for him in the far back near a window, going through some papers she'd just taken from an open briefcase next to her. The suit she wore was simple, but tailored to fit the nice curves of her wide hips. It spoke of the conservative attitude following the economic crisis of the last few years.

Any other observations he might have made were lost as he felt his cock thicken in his state-issued clothes.

It had been a long time. She most certainly could sue him over it if she liked.

The guards left him in the seat across from him, still chained up. The woman noticed this as they started to leave, and called out.

“You can take those off,” she said politely, but firmly. “I doubt I'll be in any trouble.”

The guard smiled at her like she was a little girl wanting to cross the street by herself. “With all do respect, ma'am,” he replied, keeping the sarcasm in his voice apparent. “This one is nothing but trouble. I'd keep those cuffs on if I were you.”

“I'm well aware of this gentleman's...” The woman paused then. “Quirks,” she settled on finally. “You can uncuff him.”

There was no room for dispute in her voice, so the guard came back and slowly began the long process of taking the many chains binding his hands and feet. When it was finished, the guards stood at the head of the table, holding the chains up so he would see.

“I'll be right outside.”

The words were bold, yet they rang hollow. It was an empty threat, since he could have killed the guard right now without standing, or breaking a sweat. They both knew this, and the guard knew he was wasting everyone's time. Ignoring the woman, the black man turned and walked away, clinking with each step he took.

“Charming fellow,” he retorted, once the door was shut.

“Indeed,” the woman replied after a moment's hesitation. “I suppose you must be wondering what this is all about?”

Shifting uncomfortably from the erection in his pants, he gave her a once-over again before voicing his assessment. “You're a lawyer,” he said. “You work for some kind of charity, or a non-profit organization. I'm guessing you were sent by someone very powerful, or a group of very powerful someones, who don't want the general public to know what they're doing. Also, you skipped lunch to come here.”

He had caught her off-guard. She recovered very quickly, but the surprise never completely left her face.

“'How did you know?'” he went on. “That's the usual question that follows.”

The lady seemed to hesitate, but then rose to his challenge. “I could have been a lawyer's assistant,” she pointed out.

He laughed. “No lawyer would hire an assistant under twenty-five,” he countered. “You're very professional. Everything about you says that. You've been doing this for quite some time. The briefcase, the paperwork, even the way you riffle through them; all of that says experience. No self-respecting woman of your intelligence would settle for being an assistant for so long.”

“You might be surprised,” she said, before adding. “Sadly. Still, you weren't wrong. I am a lawyer, and I do work for a non-profit organization. Care to explain how you knew that?”

“Your suit,” he answered calmly, pointing. “Lawyers from commercial firms, from firms that deal with the rich and powerful every day, like to show off how much money they have. They need to fit in with the big-wigs. Lawyers that work for charity try to present a more conservative approach, particularly these days. Your suit looks very professional, but nondescript. You could be from any number of law firms, here to see anyone in this facility. That was how I figured your bosses didn't want word of who you were visiting here to get out. You're trying to blend in, but in a place like this, you'll still stick out like a sore thumb.”

“How so?”

The smile on his face was sardonic. “This is a men's prison,” he said. “Take a wild guess.”

She returned the smirk with one of her own. “How did you know I skipped lunch?”

Behind them, high up on the wall near the barred window where sunlight streamed through, was a clock ticking away the time.

“It's after twelve,” he said, giving the timepiece a nod. “This is when most people on the outside eat lunch. You're here, so I took a stab in the dark.”

“I actually did eat lunch before I came here,” she informed, trumping him. “At nine-thirty this morning. Ramen noodles don't do much for me, though, so I'm going to grab something on the way back.”

“Must be nice,” he mused. “If you decide to swing by the cafeteria on the highway just off the interstate, avoid the meatloaf. It is neither meaty, nor loaf-y, in any sense of either term.”

“I've been there before,” she said, before going through her papers again. “Once was enough for me.”

After a moment, he leaded back slightly so that his erection was a little more noticeable. “So,” he went on. “Now that we've broken the ice, as I assume people still say, care to explain what you're doing here paying a visit to East Arlenton's most notorious?”

“I came to ask if you would like to be released.”

Her tone was utter deadpan. The chair he was in fell back to the floor loudly. He felt the ire from the guard outside. It mixed with the hunger coming from the female lawyer, making him both peckish and grumpy in turn. He hated swimming in other people's emotions. It was one aspect of his powers that he felt was overrated. Still, the woman intrigued him, and the guard's fuming amused him.

“That,” he admitted. “I didn't see coming.”

“I work for the Real-Life Superhero Association,” she stated, setting the papers down in front of her. “Perhaps you've heard of us?”

“I have,” he said. “Vaguely.”

“We were wondering if you would be willing to come work for us,” she explained. “The RLSA has started a recruitment drive, and some of the senior members feel it would be in both our best interests to have you on board.”

A frown marred his otherwise handsome, youthful features. “You can't be serious.”

“Deadly,” she replied in a flat voice. “It has taken us quite some time to get even this far. The state was adamant about keeping you locked up, but recent events have lead to one of the local senators showing support for our cause. Should you agree to cooperate, you would be released on good behavior for a probationary period. Two of our members would serve as your probation officers, helping to reorient you back into society as a prominent member of the superhero community.”

“I see,” he said, leaning back in his chair again. “So I get out, am given a job as the Association's poster boy, and your people get to show the world that capes and masks are a good thing.”

After a second, she nodded. “Basically.”

His chair came back down loudly again. “And suppose I don't want to leave?”

“You want to leave,” she countered. “I'm not blind, either. This place is suffocating you.”

“But becoming a productive member of society doesn't sound like much of a challenge,” he replied easily. “Or a lot of fun.”

Smiling, she leaned forward toward him. “We know that the warden has been using you,” she whispered. “You've had several inmates with prices on their heads placed in the same cell with you. All of them were offered a deal if they could dispose of you and make it look like a random prison fight. You injured all of them critically without killing them. You've also been before a parole board and denied release shortly thereafter.”

His eyes narrowed. “The Association has been spying,” he tsked. “Naught.”

“We're heroes,” she stated, raising up again. “Not cops. It's obvious how the world works. We're trying to do something about that.”

Neither of them spoke again for a moment. Much as he hated it, the idea was beginning to show merit.

“Doesn't the RLSA already have a poster boy?” he asked after a moment, thoughtfully. “Why would your people need me when you've got him?”

“He's still only one man,” she replied. “He can't be everywhere.”

“'More than a bird? More than a plane?'” he quoted. “'More than some pretty face on a train?' I guess it really isn't easy being Superman.”

“I really wish you would consider this.”

He surprised her a moment later. “I'll consider it,” he said, giving her his best smile. “But only on one condition.”

The worry on her face made him chuckle softly. “Tell me your name,” he added, mitigating her fears.

“Oh.” Shaking herself off, she offered him her hand. “Susan Walters,” she introduced. “Sorry about that.”

“Nice to meet you, Ms. Walters,” he said, taking the hand she offered. “You already know who I am, though, I'm sure.”

“Actually, I don't.” Taking her hand back, she extracted another paper from her briefcase. “Nothing in your record has your birth name. I complied documents from your police records, prison transcripts, and news reports on the Deadly Seven, but nothing in them gave your real name.”

“You already know it,” he insisted. “Just call me Wrath.”

Excerpt from The Thirteenth Sigil

“We have to talk,” he said flatly. “Outside, I think.”
Cole released him and stomped off toward the big hole in the
building that had once been a door. He could hear Joss’s footsteps
behind him, though at a distance, and tried to act as if none of it
mattered. Cole was a carefully trained sidhe warrior, even though he’d
barely been acknowledged as one among his own people. His
movements should have been silent and unreadable, yet a nagging
whisper told him Joss was monitoring his mood very carefully from
farther back.
Cole didn’t stop when he reached the outside. A few of the
officers guarding the place were still too close for his comfort, so he
made a right and headed down to where there was a nearby alley. Once
out of sight, he waited in the shadows for Joss to catch up. Joss had
barely stepped into the alley before Cole was on him and pushed the
inspector’s body up against a wall.
For once, perhaps the first time all night, the inspector gave Cole
his full attention. “I almost shot you,” he stated in a tone that hinted at
his anger.
“You would have to have aimed for me first,” Cole replied,
staring daggers at him. Joss immediately looked away, which set Cole
off completely.
“Look at me,” he growled. Though his voice hadn’t been much
louder than a normal speaking tone, the words somehow reverberated
off the walls.
Joss met Cole’s eyes then, and Cole was stunned to see the man
appeared close to tears. Joss wound his arms around Cole’s back and
clung to him like he was the only vessel at sea. Cole leaned in slightly
and breathed in his lover’s scent as he felt several light kisses on his
shoulder through the fabric of his shirt.
“I couldn’t,” Joss whispered softly. “They are watching us all the
time. Yesterday, I was held inside an interrogation room for seven hours.
They were asking questions about you. They wanted to know
everything I knew.”
“About our….” Cole paused as the word stuck in his throat.
Joss shook his head, moving back now to look Cole in the face
clearly for the first time. “That was the one thing they didn’t ask. They
didn’t want to know about us. They wanted to know where you went
every day. Apparently, Internal Affairs is getting frustrated with the way
you keep disappearing.”
“Did you tell them the truth?”
Joss smirked. It was the first time he’d looked the least bit happy
all night. “Finally, I did. They weren’t too pleased with the part about
how your house is under Bowling Green park, or that your garage door
can appear anywhere in town. I think they thought I was making it up.”
“The Order will believe otherwise,” Cole said. “Don’t worry,
though. They might have found out some other way, and knowing
won’t give them any power to control me. You told them everything
and nothing.”
“I’ve been scared,” Joss admitted. “It makes me sick to admit it,
but this whole mess is scaring me. The monsters we deal with are
nothing compared to the people we answer to.”
“I believe you,” Cole said, still holding onto Joss tightly. “And I
feel like a fool for not realizing it sooner. It’s….”
“…just that we haven’t been able to see one another,” Joss
finished for him. “I feel the same way. Before I found out you’d been
reinstated, I was ready to punch someone. Rainette told me that if I
didn’t loosen up a little soon, she would smack me upside the head,
superior officer or not.”
The surprise was apparently evident on Cole’s face, because Joss
laughed. “She’s all right,” he told him. “I haven’t had any problems
with her outside of her not having much experience. Really, she’s easier
to deal with than most other new recruits fresh out of training.”
“That is a surprise,” Cole mused. “Perhaps it really is just me,
The smug smirk Cole had come to recognize was adorning Joss’s
face again. Cole brought him in for a slow, sweet kiss, then pulled away.
“Come over once we’re done here,” he said, pressing their
foreheads together. “You can give me a detailed report on what’s been
going on during my absence. Preferably while we’re naked and I’m
fucking you into oblivion.”
“Can’t,” Joss said sadly. “I want to, but after all this, my ass is
going straight to bed. I’ll probably be asleep for the rest of the day, and
after that there are reports to fill out and so forth.”
“You could always move in,” Cole offered, gripping Joss tightly
now. “There’s still plenty of room. The pixies barely take up any space
at all, and Mal is… well, everywhere.”
Joss sighed as Cole pulled him in for another kiss. “Let me think
about it.”
Cole kissed him again, harder this time. Joss responded, but all
too soon he pushed Cole away again. Standing at one another’s sides,
they marched back to the crime scene, walking for all intents and
purposes like soldiers readying for battle. The only thing missing in
Cole’s mind was some suitable background music.
“You and your boyfriend patch things up?” one of the officers
called out sarcastically as they stepped over the tape.
“I had to ask him something,” Cole answered calmly. “We didn’t
sneak away from the job to go make out, assuming that is what you’re
Cole distinctly heard one of the officers snort. “Yeah, right. He
was over there taking it up the ass again.”
Cole turned around even as Joss tried to snag him by the arm.
Sniffing the air, a smile began to spread across Cole’s face as he
sauntered over to where the group was watching. The one who had
spoken immediately went rigid and set his cup of coffee down. His
hand was drifting toward his gun even as he tried to appear relaxed.
Cole spotted the name on his badge as he drew in closer.
“I would ask your friend standing next to you about taking it up
the ass, Officer Conclehnn,” Cole told him in a low voice.
Officer Conclehnn frowned and looked at Cole, confused. “What?”
The grin on Cole’s face spread wider. “Two days ago,” he said, as
the color drained from Conclehnn’s face. “Tops. You don’t look like a
submissive to me, so I’m guessing he must have been the one taking it
in the ass. Besides, I can still smell the lube you used on him. You
might want to consider switching brands. I could make a
recommendation if you’d like.”
Everyone was watching as Conclehnn stepped back, away from
Cole. The officer’s face was as white as a sheet. He looked as though
he might be sick.
“Just a thought,” Cole added loudly before he turned around.
“What did you say to him?” Joss asked once they were inside the
building again. “I thought he was going to start screaming.”
“You may recall that my nose does more than center my face,”
Cole said as they continued farther in. “Conclehnn and his friend there
have been seeing each other for a while now, from what I smelled.”
“Right,” Joss said, looking back over his shoulder. “Well, I’d
heard rumors. Speaking of your nose, have you smelled anything
strange in this place?”
“You mean like what did this?” Joss nodded, to which Cole
responded with a shake of his head, causing his hair to sweep around
him. “That is another thing that has been bothering me. Rainette could
sense nothing from the ectoplasm left behind, and I cannot catch even a
trace of scent left by anything other than the forensic team that
searched this place before. This thing, or things, whatever did this, they
can’t be detected by our usual means.”
“That isn’t good,” Joss said gravely. “No one is going to be happy
to hear we’re dealing with something that can’t be tracked down.
Internal Affairs wants us shut down, but no one can deny that we’ve
gotten fairly good results.”
“Except for that one time with the slime cube in the sewers,” Cole
reminded him.
“We agreed never to speak of that again,” Joss replied sharply.
“The guys in vice squad still won’t talk to me. Anyway, we need to
keep solving the cases handed to us quickly and quietly or they’ll use
that as an excuse to separate us.”
“I have a more immediate concern,” Cole said as they rounded
yet another corner.
“What is it?”
Cole stopped and gestured around them. “This isn’t an especially
big place, at least as far as storage facilities go.”
“I’ve seen bigger,” Joss agreed. “What are you getting at?”
“We’ve nearly walked all the way through it,” Cole went on, his
voice darkening. “So where are Marcel and Rainette? They were only
supposed to catch that escaping glop of ectoplasm that came to life
behind me.”
Joss’s face went stone cold. “I think I might have an idea,” he
replied, pointing to something behind Cole. “Look over there. That
wasn’t here before.”
Cole turned around and immediately spotted what Joss was
talking about. Near the twisted remains of what had once been a metal
shelf was a solid chunk of concrete. Cole walked down the aisle and
picked the piece up off the floor, testing its weight.
“It looks like one of the pieces of the wall from the front,” Cole
said to Joss as the inspector approached. “But how did it get here?”
Before Cole had finished his sentence, he was already looking up
at the answer just a few feet away. Another large hole, not as big as the
one they’d come inside through but big enough, had been torn into the
side of the building. There were traces of goo around the edges.
It looked as though the ectoplasm had vacated the building and
was now running loose on the streets of New York City.
Cole stuck his head out beside Joss’s as they surveyed the damage
leading out through the hole onto the loading dock, where the unseen
thing had escaped to, and beyond.
Cole turned back to Joss. “This is going to… ‘suck’, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is.”
Off in the distance, a car alarm rang out along with what sounded
to Cole’s ears like screeching metal over a ton of swearing. “At least
we know where the others will be. Assuming they’re alive, finding
them shouldn’t be a problem. We just have to follow the carnage.”
“We will,” said Joss, stepping through the hole into the loading
area outside. “And when we get back, I want to have a brief word with
the boys who were supposed to be watching this place while we were

 H.C. Brilliant . Thanks for stopping by,  and congratulations on your new releases :-)

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