Prophecy (working title) Chapters 4-5 (rough/WIP)

CHAPTER 4.

If there was one thing Izir hated, all cops hated, it was forced psychiatric counseling. Detective Hamad Izir was truly grateful that he had never been in a position to shoot a suspect, and had only drawn his service weapon three times as a uniformed officer. Those moments of abject fear, uncertainty, and overpowering adrenaline surges had faded over time, as had the majority of cases he had worked as a violent crimes detective. Salt Lake City wasn’t a haven from crime by any means, but it wasn’t the south side of Chicago, the housing projects of Baltimore or New York city, or the wild west of border towns in southern Texas where the cartel wars sometimes spilled over onto American soil. But like any large city, it had its share of disturbingly inhumane crimes, and Izir had been front and center for enough of them to have a dim view of his fellow humans.

He had nearly come apart at the seams after working a case where a twelve year old girl had been brutalized with ruthless efficiency, almost as if the girl’s killer had lost a bet with Satan and had been forced to make even the devil quake in fright. Three months of counseling sessions with the department’s resident psychiatrist, Dr. Emile Hesh, had been extremely helpful in purging the burned-in images of that nightmare, but he had resented it as a mandatory step to keep his position within the VCD. Myra, his wife of twenty years, had threatened to leave him if he didn’t get help, which made his resentment burn even hotter. Izir hated that he knew he had become a detached, emotionless, angry shell of his former self, and for some unexplainable reason, hated even more than Dr. Hesh and his wife had been both right about his need for counseling, as well as the primary drivers of his emotional recovery. Continue reading

Prophecy (working title) – Chapters 1-3

CHAPTER 1.

“Listen, asshole,” Detective Izir growled to the frightened man on the other side of the interrogation room table. “I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with your brain, but you better jumpstart it quick because you’re completely fucking boned.”

“I…I don’t kn—” George stuttered, his voice cracking as if he were going through puberty a second time.

“Bullshit!” Izir thundered, slamming both palms down on the table hard enough to make both the suspect and his partner jump in fright. “We’ve got you on fucking camera and so much DNA evidence you must have bled, shit, jizzed, and fucking spit all over her!”

George Krotus began to cry. Detective Franklin took a step toward the table but her partner held up a hand to keep her on the periphery. Izir rose from his chair, eyes bloodshot with rage, his breath coming in raspy gasps as he fought to control his temper.

“I’m going to ask you one more fucking time,” he said, keeping his voice as steady as he could. “Why did you do it?”

“I didn’t do anything!” George screamed. “I was at home! I swear it on Heavenly Father!”

Detective Izir opened his mouth to lay out a number of threats he planned to turn into promises but his partner grabbed him by the bicep. He looked back at Franklin with just enough sanity to keep from lashing out at her. She shook her head then gestured with a hand to step away and let her work on the suspect. Izir closed his eyes, counted silently to five, then stepped away from the table and took up a position near the two-way glass.

“Mr. Krotus?” Franklin asked, her tone as gentle as a mother’s when comforting a child after a nightmare. “I’m Detective Dakota Franklin, the co-investigator on this case. I apologize for Detective Izir’s outbursts, but you have to understand that he’s extremely upset.”

Franklin slid a manila folder from the edge of the table to the middle. She opened the cover and spun the folder around so George could see the crime scene photographs. She did her best to keep her eyes on the suspect. The glossy 8×10 photos were too disturbing, too inhumane for even the most jaded, desensitized investigators to look at without feeling sick to their stomachs.

“Look at the photos, Mr. Krotus,” she said gently, separating four of them from the stack then spreading them out on the table.

“I-I-I-c-c-caaan’t!” George wailed, closing his eyes tightly before turning his head away.

Continue reading

Update 1/8/2019 – “It’s Darkest This Way”

Just a quick update to let you know that I’m hard at work on the fourth and final book in the “This Way” series:

“It’s Better This Way” introduced you to Evan Greggs, The Farm, and the post-invasion Pacific Northwest.

“It’s Harder This Way” – Evan and The Farm attempt to deal with the problem of Base Charlie and the remnants of the army.

“It’s Darker This Way” – Evan once again embarks on the journey to find his sister, Sandra, whom he hasn’t seen in the twenty-six years since the Bulls invaded Earth. Luna Payne’s gift is the catalyst that generates a new lead for Evan, but a new threat emerges when the army detonates a nuclear warhead against the Bulls near Seattle.

“It’s Darkest This Way” – the final chapter of Evan’s story as he pursues a lead that will take him toward Helmet, a vicious strongman who plans to eliminate General Kendra Flanders and the army — if the Bulls don’t retaliate first.

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I’m four chapters in and going strong, and hope to have this out for everyone to read by March/April 2019. Stay tuned for updates and preview chapters!

(have no fear, however, as while this is the end of Evan’s story, there’s still much more to tell thanks to Luna Payne and Kendra Flanders)

A Christmas Tale II

Chapter 1

CHAPTER ONE

Christmas time is supposed to be full of cheer, good food, and goodwill toward men. For Tabitha and me, Christmas time… well, let’s just say it isn’t our favorite holiday. Each year we put on a pleasant, smiling, cheerful face for our spouses and our kids, but Tabby and I both hate it with a passion. Especially now, but I guess I’m thankful that we’re old now and it won’t matter much longer.

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My earliest memories of Christmas are from age three. I don’t remember much other than receiving a brand new gaming console that I had to share with my sister Tabby, who is a year older than me. The gaming console was nowhere near as memorable as my fully animatronic Professor Puzzleton doll. And not just the small doll without all the goodies. Santa must have known I was a good boy by the fact my Professor Puzzleton was the full-sized four foot tall version, complete with computer software to interact with and upgrade the professor’s abilities, along with a full year’s supply of board games, coloring books, and sing-a-long activities.

My father, Jason Gould, was a realtor at the time, and by my third Christmas he was earning more than mom. Rochelle Gould, my mother, worked as a financial analyst for one of the largest banks in the world, and from what she and Dad told me later, was bringing home six figures per year in salary alone. With bonuses… let’s just say that between the two of them, Tabitha and Avery Gould were spoiled little shits—but to be honest, so were Mom and Dad.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with living in a six thousand square foot mini-mansion and being dropped off at elementary school in a $140,000 Mercedes or a $125,000 BMW SUV. Once in a while it was Dad’s fully restored 1969 Dodge Superbee. He once told me he spent almost as much restoring it as he did on his Mercedes. We didn’t have servants, but I don’t remember Mom ever spending more than a few minutes actually cleaning anything other than the dishes after dinner. I barely remember Anita and Devonne, our regular housekeepers who showed up twice per week to do the chores none of us wanted to bother with.

Continue reading

A Necessary Update – 8/17/2018

Hello, everyone. I apologize for not updating the website for so long, but a LOT has happened over the last 12-18 months, and I thought I should at least get back to adding my thoughts and such to let you know I’m still alive, still writing.

Almost one year ago (Labor Day weekend, to be exact), our lives pretty much came to a standstill when I went down to the basement to work after Carly went to sleep. It seemed like just another ordinary day, one where I played a video game on the computer at my desk for a few hours, then spent time with her until she went to bed, then would go back downstairs to work on whatever book or story I had going at the time.

The instant I came off the bottom step and my foot hit the carpet, I knew immediately that something was horribly wrong. The carpet rippled, waved, then sloshed. Yep, you guessed it, the basement was somehow flooding. As a homeowner, I can feel your heart dropping into your shoes after reading this. I guess the only positive thing I could say about this is that at least the house didn’t catch on fire. But a flood… a flooded basement is just… Wow.

The panic, the fear, the absolute chaos of worry and a thousand other emotions hit me all at once as I walked through the basement. I’d hoped it was just a little water, like the toilet or shower in the basement bathroom was suffering a slow-ish leak. But the magnitude of what was happening kept piling on more and more as I walked throughout the 1700 or so square feet of carpeted basement. Every. Single Room. Was. Flooded.

Anyone who has ever been through this, you probably know how the next few months went. Fighting our insurance company (who fought hard but in the end, lost, and had to pay for the restoration), living in half of a house that you, your wife, your brother, and six cats had previously enjoyed ALL of, the hard work of ripping out all of the water-damaged baseboards, carpets, padding, furniture, drywall… Then comes the worry about the potential for mold (which, by the way, the house had when we bought it as the previous owners had flooded the basement and never bothered to take care of it, letting it go into foreclosure, but that’s another story for another day). The interruption of our normal, daily lives was like a bomb had gone off in our psyche.

Once we were sure the insurance company would pay (about a month later, when we made it clear our policy damn well DID cover the damage), we were hopeful things would slowly get back to normal.

But then one morning I woke up, and I don’t mean to be too graphic here, but I kind of have to be, I stood in front of the toilet and began pissing blood.

I’ve never given much thought to my own mortality before, other than a few moments here and there after I turned 30, then again at 40. But standing there, at age 44, with a flooded basement and our lives turned upside down, I became so frightened, so sure that bloody urine meant that I was going to die, that I might have only a short time left on this earth, that I literally collapsed on the bathroom floor. The terror of believing your life is going to be over soon… There aren’t really any words or phrases to describe it. Compound that with the fact that I didn’t have health insurance, then add some googling to see that bloody urine was likely a sign of prostate cancer, bladder cancer, cancer cancer cancer. That’s all I could see and I got sick to my stomach once again.

Just as that cleared up (don’t worry, it wasn’t terminal, just FUCKING FRIGHTENING), and our basement was sloooooowly being returned to a livable state (there’s a whole long story in here about how the flooring company fucked us over at the last moment and delayed everything for another few weeks, but again, that’s for another time), some 20 year old dumbass kid hit Carly on her way to work and totaled her car. She was fine, no harm done to her, but the Honda was completely wrecked. The shitty thing about this, beyond losing a car that we both loved maybe a little too much for such a mundane thing as being “just a car,” is that my car was useless to her–mine is a standard transmission, and she had never learned how to drive a stick shift. And the fact that my Saturn is a piece of shit (but a reliable piece of shit) former courier car that has seen far better times but smells like you’d expect a college boy’s dorm after a week of partying… that didn’t help. Neither did our financial situation, as even with the insurance company paying to repair the damage, we were bleeding money on all the things our policy didn’t cover.This was sometime around January.

Then I got sick again, which started the cycle all over again.

But, as you can guess from reading this, things eventually turned positive. We bought her a very nice used Acura SUV, replaced all of the carpets downstairs with laminate hardwood flooring, and even finally wired up the basement with Cat-5 cabling so it no longer looked like a filthy nerd’s paradise ;).

It is now August, and I’m finally back in this chair, writing not just to you, but writing stories again. Somehow, I released Transfer back in May, but only because it had been finished back when the basement flooded the previous September, and all it needed was a couple of good, hard edits to clean it up. I powered through, I’m not sure how, but then collapsed back into a terrible state of depression, one that I’d been wallowing in since the flood. I tried, I really, really tried, to write once everything started getting better, which means from about March or April of this year. But other than fixing Transfer up and getting it published, my brain simply wouldn’t cooperate. I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than “what if my basement floods again?” or “what if I actually do have a terminal illness and pissing blood was just the first stage?” or “what if some other asshole plows into Carly on her way to or from work and this time she’s seriously injured?” or a million other things that my rat-brain tried to convince me would happen.

And, you know, all this time, since November 2016, there was the knowledge that somehow the citizens of this country elected Donald Trump as our president. You can imagine the blow to both of us over that, since we’re very vocal supporters of LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, civil rights for minorities, supporters of both refugees and immigrants, and so on and so forth.

By the way, if this last paragraph angers you, well, I guess the only thing I can say is “too fucking bad.” I won’t apologize for supporting all of those things, for being liberal, or possibly even a socialist. I’m a human being and the pain that many of my friends and family have suffered since the election isn’t imaginary for us, for them, and for everyone else that has been affected by it. So, again, “too fucking bad” if my anger towards our president and those who support him upsets your snowflake sensibilities.

Anyway, like I said, everything is finally back to normal. My brain is clear and roaring to get back into the thick of things. In fact, I’ve already finished another book, a collection of short stories and novellas that will be called “The Minotaur.” Trevor Smith is finishing up the cover for it, but here’s a taste of what it will look like:

“The Minotaur” rough cover by Trevor Smith

Yep, that’s a 12 year old kid battling the devil for his soul over a game of pinball. And yeah, I know it sounds weird, but it’s sort of my tribute to Stephen King. Plus there will be a bunch of other stories, some sci-fi, some not, who knows, you’ll just have to read it so you can send me angry emails telling me what a horrible author I am!

Right now, I’m finishing up a romance-time travel story which is, according to the few who get to read early versions, as mind-bendy as “Transfer” is. I’m also working on finishing up “Skydark,” which is a post-nuclear war adventure tale, then I’m going to try and finish up the other 8-10 books that are 50-90% done but got delayed by all the shit that has happened in the last year.

Okay, thanks for taking the time to read this, and thank you to everyone who kept me going during this last year+ of chaos, terror, and depression. I’m back in the driver’s seat, and I sincerely hope you’ll be right there with me in the passenger seat so we can enjoy these crazy, weird, sometimes dark and ugly, sometimes funny and charming stories together!

Travis Hill, August 17, 2018

Audiobook Narration via Twitch/YouTube Coming Soon!

I’ve decided I’m going to try something new this week. Once my Blue Yeti microphone arrives, I’m going to begin narrating short stories first, then full-length novels while streaming on Twitch. You can find my channel HERE.

Once the stream is done @ Twitch, I’ll upload it to YouTube.

Keep in mind that I am not a professional voice actor, so it might take me a bit to hit my groove. Because of this, I’m going to start with some shorter stories such as “Dragons Are Not Your Friends” and “Bears Are Not Your Friends Either.”

And I’ve also created a couple of very, very awful pieces of art for these two stories just so you have something to look at while listening to my terrible, nasal, annoying voice!

Art skill is definitely NOT my friend…

Why does this weird bear have a rifle and a camera???

“It’s Darker This Way” (Book #3) Now Available!

Book #3 in the “This Way” series is now available at Amazon.com!

“It’s Darker This Way” is ~33% longer than the first two books combined and continues Evan’s story as he once again resumes the search for his missing sister.

“It’s Darker This Way” by Travis Hill
(book #3 in the “This Way” series)

“The Four Horsemen” cover by Tom Edwards

Hey, all, just got the final version of “The Four Horsemen” cover. T4H is the upcoming sequel/prequel/companion to “Skydark.” Many thanks to Tom Edwards for this awesome cover!

“The Four Horsemen” by Travis Hill
Cover art by: Tom Edwards Designs

“Skydark” cover by Tom Edwards

Tom Edwards just sent me the final artwork for my upcoming post-nuclear novel “Skydark.” Still working on this one, but it should be out sometime this summer (2017)!

Tom Edwards Design

“Skydark” by Travis Hill / Cover by Tom Edwards Design
Release date: Summer 2017 – click image for larger version

 

“Launch Sequence” published!

Just a quick note to let everyone know that “Launch Sequence” has been published at Amazon.com:

Launch Sequence I – One week ago, Dennis Shaw was a typical twelve year old boy growing up on Daedalus-IV. Now, with an unstoppable Kai invasion fleet only hours away, Dennis is exposed to the challenges, the decisions, and the horrors of adulthood when his family is forced to flee aboard a strange starship hidden inside a secret mountain base.

As Dennis attempts to come to terms the terrifying conclusion of the Kai’s promise to exterminate humanity, he is overwhelmed by the implications of Project Genesis, Task Force Nightfall, and a newer, more dangerous threat: the sudden onset of puberty and the unpredictable, sometimes frightening emotions that come with it.

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Launch Sequence II – Special Forces Commander Irina Drazek and Task Force Nightfall have assembled for one final mission: to ensure Project Genesis reaches a successful conclusion, even at the cost of their own lives. Alone and cut off from the Wire, the fifty-two ships of Silver Fleet are all that stands between the Kai’s military might and the Genesis seedships — humanity’s last, best hope to avoid the fate of the Hanura and The Seven.

As the stress and exhaustion of jumping blindly through enemy territory under extreme acceleration takes its toll on Silver Fleet’s crews, Admiral Mattias Huang and Captain Rickus Meyer plan for a final showdown with their hated enemy. With time, space, and options running out, Huang is forced to rely on desperation, his own tactical brilliance, and the Kai’s predictability to complete Nightfall’s mission against impossible odds.

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“Launch Sequence” is the highly anticipated sequel to “End of the Line.”
60,008 words (250 pages)

Cover art by: Jeff Brown

Launch Sequence (Genesis series, book 2)
Cover by: Jeff Brown