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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Author Guest Blog & Contest with Jim Bernheimer

I always try and get a variety of author guests on the blog and not all of them are well known. My guest this week is one of those authors I had never heard of before. So I hope you will all give a nice warm welcome to Jim Bernheimer, my author guest this week!

Jim has a few books already under his belt but he is here today to talk about his new series, The Clone Detective Mysteries. He is also giving a few copies away so make sure you enter this weeks contest!

Enjoy the guest blog by Jim and also take the time to read the excerpt from Prime Suspects to get a feel for the series. Maybe even try a few of Jim's other books?


Looking for Inspiration in all the Wrong Places

I’d like to thank Amber for allowing me to do a guest post on this blog today. When we talked about possible topics, she said that the readers here like to hear about how writers get their inspiration.

Inspiration is a fickle mistress. In a way, it’s far worse than Writer’s Block. At least with the block, you’ve got the idea already. When you’re chasing the next idea it can be a difficult process. My latest novel, Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery, was over two years in the making. It started as a short story and I managed to get a few personal rejections from the pro markets after shopping it around. It beats the form rejections, but not by much. I always joke that it’s the high school equivalent of a girl telling you that she just wants to be friends.

The art of writing is tough enough. The art of marketing your art to someone that will buy it and sell it for you makes writing look easy, and that’s a whole ‘nother story.

So back to Inspiration – I participate in a few writing groups to kick around ideas and see if any of them get traction. This story started out when I saw a prompt off of Ralan’s website (www.ralan.com) for a science fiction anthology about space detectives. The initial concept was a group of clones investigating the murder of the original officer.

It took a few weeks for it to grow some legs. Setting the science fiction backdrop aside, I looked at what makes a good cop story and I knew what it needed. It needed that noir feel like so many of those old hardboiled detective stories. It needed Sam Spade with a blaster. It needed to be Blade Runner told from the view of a replicant (or in my case a cloned detective).

That’s how Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective Mystery became got started. Eventually, I decided that the world was bigger than a short story and I expanded it to novel length.

How can you find your own inspiration? You can find prompts on line in writing groups. I used to participate in the Writer’s Weekly 24 hour short story contest which you pay a five dollar entry fee and then write a roughly 1000 word short story based on a sample paragraph. They limit the contest to the first 500 people who enter. Other than that, I embrace my twisted imagination. Maybe I am wandering around a mall and start thinking about the fountain in the food court being possessed and what kind of story I could get out of that. One story I still have to get around to writing was based off hearing someone utter the words, “smart weapons.” That got me thinking about a smart bomb that decides it doesn’t want to die and calls a suicide prevention hotline for advice.

Yeah, my mind’s a strange place. I’ve accepted it. Visit my website to see what 4 out of the 5 voices in my head agree on.

Finally, good luck finding your own inspirations out there. A good story is as close as the phrase, “Wouldn’t it be wild if ______.”


Prime Suspects
by Jim Bernheimer

Chapter 1
Rude Awakening

“He’s coming around,” a muffled voice said.

Everything was wrong … off. I was cold and slimy. My eyelids were gummed shut and wouldn’t open more than a crack. Blanketed in darkness, with only a sliver of light to go by, I tried to figure out what was going on. My heartbeat pounded inside my skull, irregular and all over the place, in a race with what I didn’t know.

“Bring his body temp up, quickly.”

There was a rush of warm air and the slab I was sprawled out on turned into a hotplate.

With the tubes in my mouth, I tried to ask what was going on, but the words came out garbled, worse than that time when my jaw was broken and it was wired shut.

“Hang in … Bagini …. … do our job.”

I only caught half of what the voice said. The one word I latched onto was Bagini. It was my last name and my friends called my Dave. The fog started to lift and I went over the mental checklist. My job was a homicide detective and this wasn’t the first time I’d woken up in a bad state. That broken jaw I’d mentioned earlier came with blunt force trauma to the head and a two day nap the doctors called a “light coma.”

There were a few dark alleys running adjacent to my stroll down memory lane. Darwin, the capital city of Galax IV, could be a violent place. Like the ancient Earther it was named for, it was a testament to the saying, “survival of the fittest.”

At that moment, it didn’t feel like it, but I was alive and that was what mattered. My thoughts swirled and I clutched at strands trying to determine what happened. I wiggled my fingers and toes. They were all there, so that was good news. In fact, other than all that shit shoved in my mouth, I couldn’t feel any pain.

Industrial strength drugs? Maybe. I couldn’t be sure.

Had I been dosed with Freak and suffered a bad reaction? That wouldn’t look good on my evals. I’d heard of the gangs doing that to cops, but that mostly happened to officers in narcotics. Homicide cops who got too close, didn’t end up discredited. They ended up dead.

Hands using towels scrubbed away the gunk on my face. The force pressed the back of my head down on the table. The med techs’ bedside manners left much to be desired. I caught them saying something about my ears before a vice immobilized my entire head. I heard a low rumbling, a sucking sound, and a sudden painful pop as the pressure equalized.

Hearing returned and all the distorted noises I couldn’t place came into focus.
“Can you hear me? Grunt once if you can.” The woman’s words were bored.
Lacking anything better to do, I grunted once.

“Good. We’re going to finish clearing your eyes and then remove the breathing tubes. Grunt twice if you understand.”

I resented being treated this way, but did as she said. Being a cop, I was used to being the one with the condescending tone. When I could see her, I’d memorize that face and she’d be in trouble if she ever crossed my path.

They continued to work, oblivious to my discomfort. To them it was just another day at the office. “I was almost out of here when this one came in. If I’d only been a few minutes quicker. Oh well, Ryan got our reservations changed, so no harm done. What are you doing this weekend, Ted?”

The man answered, “I thought I’d get away and take the shuttle out to our place in the islands and do some deep sea fishing. How about you, Anne?”

“Oh, there’s an art exhibit and an opera on my schedule.”

I’d have rolled my eyes, if they weren’t being prodded at the moment. The normal “meat cutters” I typically ran into at the emergency room didn’t have places in the islands. Hell, the nearest islands to Darwin were over two thousand kilometers away! These were the kind that turned their noses up at the local doc in a box. What the hell had I gotten myself into?

“That sounds relaxing,” the man replied. “Remind me to have a word with the maintenance clones. They need to do further diagnostics on the incubation chamber. This one came out at too low of a temperature. Maybe it was just the sample, but I would rather be certain.”

What? His words caught me off guard. Incubation chamber! They only use those in … no … shit … no! I can’t be a clone!

I’d been in fistfights, hostage situations, and fired my weapon at more criminals than I’d ever care to admit, but I flat out panicked. I kicked, struggled and lashed out. Ted would probably need to cancel his trip, since I might have broken a couple of his fingers. Anne had faster reflexes and got out of the way. She barked a security command and a pulse of electricity left me in a fit of involuntary spasms.
“What in the hell just happened?” Ted practically growled, cradling his hand and activating whole body restraints which immobilized my convulsing body.

“Are you okay?” The woman asked over my garbled moans.

“Damn that hurts! Miserable test tube reject! I say fry him and start over.”
Those words beat back the hysteria of discovering I was a clone. If things got any worse, it might be the only discovery I ever made.

“Ted, remember protocol,” she whispered motioning her head slightly. My almost cleaned eyes made out the shape of a vidcam mounted on the wall.

The male doctor grimaced as I realized my fate would be decided on how much these two played by the rules. Taking an injector, he applied it to the back of his hand.
“That’s better,” he said. “Alright, let’s figure out what caused Bagini Forty-Two’s fit before we spend another two hours on Bagini Forty-Three.”

For the second time my world spun. The word “Forty-Two” was like a second jolt of high voltage. This one left my mind reeling and in worse shape than my body. Mercifully, I passed out.


Contest Time!

Jim is kindly giving away 2 kindle copies of Prime Suspects: A Clone Detective to two lucky winners!

How To Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the contest.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com and Amazon.com links/Banners below and around the site.

Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners you must claim your prize within 7 days of the winner being announced!

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IYamVixen2 said...

Wouldn't it be wild if I could read my dog's mind? Bailey has such an expressive face and I know she's thinking about so many things in a rapid-fire succession, especially when we go for a walk. I'd love to read the minds of all animals be able to understand their chatter to be privy to their conversations.

I have a Nook, so not sure I can be entered in the contest. But I love this question.

clynsg said...

You really could be a fly on the wall in some situations.

cgclynsg0 @ gmail dot com

Nikki said...

Wouldn't it be wild if we could travel through time and find out the world's greatest mysteries - who was Jack Ripper? What really happened to Atlantis?

Ironstrangeprompts said...

You could watch other dimensions.