Friday, 28 November 2014

5 Years a Nerd: The memoires of a Mr David Thomas Moore

I was one of the lucky ones.

A bachelor’s degree in English is not notoriously a career qualification (there’s a whole song devoted to the fact). There’s academia, of course, or teaching (my initial plan, which didn’t survive uni); and English degrees serve as jumping-off points for unrelated careers, like law or politics. But actual jobs in word-wrangling are like hen’s teeth. It’s basically just journalism or publishing, and those are traditionally fields where a huge number of candidates battle fiercely for a small number of jobs on miserable salaries.

So, naturally, nine years after leaving university, with a modestly successful career in events and technology in the banking sector (because of course), I decided to pack it all in and become an editor. That should be easy, right?

But I got lucky. I got into Rebellion Publishing just as it took over the Solaris imprint from Black Library, beating down more than a hundred and forty other candidates for the junior editorial role, based almost entirely on my winning personality and on a powerful hypnosis gun developed by the CIA for interrogating super-criminals.

And I've never looked back. Five years – and, at a very rough guess, nine million words – later, I'm the commissioning editor for a punky, edgy midlist imprint I’m hugely proud to be steering and representing, I've learned skills I never imagined I’d need, and I’ve become part of a huge community of wonderful, neurotic, spirited, diverse and brilliant people.

That said, here are five things I've learned in five years being a professional word-nerd:

We really are the bad guys.
I wasn’t really prepared for this – possibly because, while I've always written, in a hobbyish sort of way, I’d never really tried to make a living from it – but some people out there really hate us. I went to a writers’ con a few years back (the excellent alt.fiction, in Derby), and in some of the panels, the vitriol from the audience – and questions like “So how long do you think it’ll take ebooks to kill publishing?”got slightly alarming. The sheer volume and intensity of the Hachette/Amazon thing may have seemed startling, but really it just tapped into something that’s been there for years.

It’s understandable, if you've been knocked back enough times, and I totally appreciate that I’m in the hugely privileged position of pulling down a monthly salary instead of scraping by on advances and royalties, but it was... eye-opening.

Writers can be some of the best – and worst – people to work with.
Long before I became a professional editor, I was a sort of de facto one. I was everyone’s one guy you send things to to make sure they’re spelled right. Bosses would ask me to read emails, friends would send me their CVs. And I got to learn that most people don’t want editing, aside from a very light spelling and grammar check. They want to be told that their writing’s fine by someone who should know.

At their worst, that habit carries over into a writer’s professional writing career. I've had writers fight me over every change, demand extra passes, cling desperately to their darlings, profess to having been driven to tears (or drink), and demand to be assigned a different editor (or to be assigned to me from another editor). You listen patiently, you try and show your reasoning, you negotiate, and – ultimately – you let them have their way, because it’s their name on the cover. Editing is a collaboration.

But the vast – vast – majority of authors are a delight. They want to be edited; they want their work to be the best it can, and the closer and more brutal an edit I give them, the happier they are. I’ve had veterans of upwards of forty books singing my praises for excoriating their work, and new writers thanking me for helping them learn their craft. It’s absolutely bloody wonderful, and as long as it’s the majority I’m happy I’m doing it right.

This can be a pretty cynical industry.
(Some my personal experience; some related to me by friends and peers.)

“Can we have an exploding spaceship on it? People buy books with exploding spaceships on them.”
“The readers won’t get this from the title. Can you put a vampire on the cover?”
“Is this more like Terry Pratchett or Joe Abercrombie? For the tagline.”
“Make the covers look like George Martin books. Make it easier for them.”
“Add another male character. We need to appeal to the core male market.”

’Nuff said.

Nobody knows what’s coming up.
“Zombies are over.”
“No, steampunk's over.”
“Vampires are over, mummies are next.”
“Post-apoc’s over, it’s child spies now.”
“Space opera’s over, it’s transhumanism next year.”
“Epic fantasy’s still in, but it needs to be by a person of colour.”
“No, epic fantasy’s over, it’s grimdark now.”
“No, grimdark’s dead, it’s political fantasy.”


You guys are the best.
Alright, gushy moment. But having spent a decade having to have a nerdy, flamboyant private persona and a (somewhat) more serious work persona, it’s been such a relief coming here. Publishers, writers, agents and community folk are bright, creative, intensely neurotic, interested in science and technology, hugely politically and socially aware, progressive, diverse, welcoming, relaxed, and engaged in an extraordinary mix of hobbies: my Facebook feed, at present, includes articles on historical martial arts, crochet patterns, cupcake recipes, Fermi’s Paradox, punctuation and grammar, bunnies, medieval manuscripts, politics, copyright law and mathematics. Every day’s an education.

A really odd education.



p.s.: The Munsters pics was Lydia’s idea. No, I don’t know either.

All images from The Munsters TV show and are ©1964-1966 CBS.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

My Favourite Library

Slightly dodgy composite picture courtesy of Google StreetView
Hey all,

So as you may or may not have heard, the City of Liverpool recently decided against a backdrop of library closures and protest campaigns across the country to close 11 of their 18 libraries; a decision, happily, that was reversed in response to a protest and a love letter to libraries by more than 500 authors, illustrators, musicians and actors. Its a lovely story and a testament to the power of positive, collective action. And its a really big deal.

In response, Book Week Scotland and the Guardian are running a “Love Letters to Libraries” event, in which readers are invited to share their memories of their favourite libraries. And so I decided that Id jump on the blog and share my own.


Goodwood is a busy little suburb near the centre of Adelaide, South Australia. Its a popular commuter neighbourhood, being close to and convenient for the City, with a long row of shops, a slightly historic cinema, a number of beautiful colonial-era churches and any number of pubs. There are cool coffee shops and quirky little boutiques, because it’s that sort of area.

Goodwood Library isnt particularly grand. It doesn’t have an extraordinary number of books, its not a vast or ancient building, no-one particularly famous wrote their manuscript in its reading room. You cant even find, as I discovered today, a good picture online of it; the above slightly distorted image is a Google StreetView grab, and the best I could get.

What it is, however, is less than a hundred yards from Goodwood Primary School, where your author spent his formative years. It had close ties to the school, ran afterschool groups and, with a large playroom full of beanbags and climbing blocks, was generally very welcoming of kids.

We were a single-parent household, for most of my childhood; my mother worked long days, and my brother and sister and I took ourselves to and from school every day. The Library was a haven, at the end of the day, or at weekends when I wanted to get out of the house. Looking back, an extraordinary number of my memories of that time involved the library: reading, playing with friends, bothering the staff. I made friends there; I encountered the divine Miss Bette Midlers stand-up routine in the record room; I played video games for the first time (I even won a competition one of the librarians ran, one Sunday); I even had my first slightly confused lesson about sex there, (shamefully) stealing a copy of The Joy of Sex to read (look at) out of sight.

And more than anything, I read. Id go and read all day, then take home as many books as they let me borrow at the end of the day, so that I could keep reading until I came back.

Ultimately, my love of books (and my career in publishing) originated in my parents, both of whom kept houses full of books and both of whom I remember reading to me in my infancy. But it was nourished and nurtured by Goodwood Library, and while I have stood in many libraries since leaving Goodwood behind some of them ancient and grand indeed this will always be the library I remember best.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Alec Worley interviewed

Last month Alec Worley launched our latest 2000 AD tie-in series with his new eNovella Judge Anderson Rookie: Heartbreaker, a brand new prose title which saw us taking readers back to veteran Psi-Judge 


AW: Like the Dredd: Year Zero books, this is set during the character’s first year after graduation. So at this point Anderson is still fresh out of the Academy of Law and getting to grips with life on the streets. You don’t need to know anything at all about Anderson’s history from the comics or even the movie. You can just dive right in and meet her for the first time.

Anyway, about the story: Anderson is on the trail of a telepathic killer who has been selecting victims via ‘Meet Market’, Mega-City One’s premier dating agency – a sort of cross between eHarmony and eBay. Anderson has to go undercover and bring the murderer to justice before the citizens attending the upcoming Valentine’s Parade find themselves smitten with something even deadlier than love.


AW: Anderson’s one of my favourite 2000 AD characters. She’s just awesome. In those early stories she’s so full of life, such a perfect foil for Dredd. I just really, really wanted to write her. But also, prose is perfect for getting inside a character’s head and I think the effectiveness of Dredd’s character lies, for the most part, in you not being allowed inside.
With this story, I know a lot of readers will be coming to it from having watched Anderson in the 2012 Dredd movie, so I wanted to apply that grimy procedural feel to the world of the comics in which this is set. But I also wanted to make Anderson more sure of herself than she was in the movie and show what she’s made of right from the beginning. This may be her first year on the street, but she’s no pushover. I really wanted to emphasise her strength, smarts and determination as someone who’s survived 15 gruelling years of life-or-death Judicial training. Despite her ‘rookie’ status, she doesn’t need to prove herself to anybody. She’s a Judge!

I’m fascinated by the idea of what it might be like to be psychic. Make that character a cop and you can really go to town. This is a woman who can literally hear what people are thinking. How does that work exactly? What does it feel like? How would that affect you as a person and your view of everyone around you? When I was pitching ideas, I found this article I’d read about online dating and got imagining about how you could take that to an extreme in the crazy world of Mega-City One. Straight away that suggested all these cool conflicts and ideas about how people relate to each other. A psychic like Anderson was perfect for that setting. I’m not sure I could imagine Dredd going undercover at dating agency!


AW: Dredd needs more contrast, I think. You have to have these contrasting supporting characters or else place Dredd in situations that bring out just how much of a badass he is. Let’s face it, all Judges are hard-as-nails law-machines, dedicated to nailing perps, so Dredd stories have to dramatise just how dedicated and ruthless Dredd is compared to everyone else in the Department. Anderson is more human, more volatile and unpredictable, and as soon as I started writing her I realised that I had to come up with a very specific way in which she perceives the world.

The fact that she’s psychic also makes her a nightmare to deal with when it comes to plotting. This is another way in which magic and the supernatural can poison a story if you’re not careful. Scenes often rely on characters withholding information from each other, so Anderson has the potential to kill a scene stone-dead the minute she walks into it. If Anderson was the detective in, say, Chinatown or Silence Of The Lambs, the movie would be over within ten minutes. And this story had to be a whodunit, which presented so many difficulties when it came to breaking down the story. I can see now why so many of Anderson’s adventures in the comics tend to be action-adventure or psychedelic supernatural stuff where her psi-talents have less opportunity to directly impact the story.


AW: Loads. I read a lot on neurology and dug out of lot of New Scientist articles about how the brain works, how memories work and wotnot. Of course, there’s a lot of poetic license, and I used it really as a starting point. The thing is you have to articulate all this stuff. When you have Anderson reading people’s minds or engaging in psychic duals in the comics you can have all that wonderful Boo Cook-style phantasmagoria. You know, brain-waves radiating off her, weird images bursting from her head, all that stuff. But how do you express that in prose? Unless you can describe exactly what she’s going through, a psychic dual ends up more like a staring contest! Plus, there’s different kinds of psychic in the Dreddworld – telepaths who can hear thoughts, empaths who can feel feelings, and so on – so different psychics perceive things in different ways.
I was also reading a lot of non-fiction about police tactics and procedure, including David Simon’s Homicide, which is just amazing, beautifully written and full of detail. Reading this stuff I was thinking about how a psychic would read that room or conduct that field interview.

I think real world details have become increasingly important in Dredd. It’s a series that’s become steadily rationalised over the years, which has probably got a lot to do with the aging readership. But it’s a very tricky balance trying to bring a sort of adult rationality to something that was dreamed up for the amusement of little boys in the ‘70s. I think ‘realistic’ and ‘believable’ are two different things, but, for me, you can make a story both if you just see the world through the character’s eyes, which is an even more interesting proposition with a character like Anderson as she’s seeing the world through everyone else’s eyes too.


AW: Again, I wanted to bring in the grittiness of the movie. In the comics, I guess all these sort of kickboxing moves look pretty cool, but I wanted the fights in my story to be more real-world. All this came about just by thinking through who she was, thinking through the way cops and marines fight. It’s all elbows and chokeholds and it’s over in seconds. Plus, I’d just seen the Gina Curano movie Haywire and loved it. But you can’t put that sort of technical fighting in 2000 AD as it eats up too many panels. So again, prose proved ideal. My best friend does MMA. He’s also a massive geek. I showed him a picture of Olivia Thirlby and asked him if a woman of that build and height take out a room full of guys if she knew what she was doing. ‘Absolutely,’ he said and spent the rest of the evening showing me exactly how. I tried to get as much ferocity in there as I could without it getting too technical. It’s also less about how she looks and more about what she can do.


AW: I see Anderson as someone who – despite the Academy’s efforts to drill all these things out of her – is cheeky, hip and full of wisecracks and often struggles to keep her thoughts to herself. She can also be laid back to point of being cocky. She’s changed an awful lot since she first appeared in 2000 AD, but I’ve always seen her as someone who believes the city is worth fighting for and not just out of a robotic sense of duty like Dredd, but genuine compassion. She’s a brilliant character and I think she’s a terrific entry-point into the world of Judge Dredd.


Mega-City One, 2100 AD. Psi-Judge Cassandra Anderson’s first year on the streets as a full-Eagle Judge.

After a string of apparently random, deadly assaults by customers at Meet Market – Mega-City One’s biggest, trashiest dating agency – Anderson is convinced a telepathic killer is to blame. Putting her career on the line, the newly-trained Psi-Judge goes undercover to bring the murderer to justice.

She'll have to act fast. Mega-City One's annual huge, riotous Valentine’s Day Parade is fast approaching, and the killer has a particularly grand gesture 

Heartbreaker is out now on the kindle (UK | US) and via our DRM-free eBook store.

About the author: Alec Worley was a projectionist and a film critic before completing his Future Shock apprenticeship for 2000 AD and creating two original series: werewolf apocalypse saga Age Of The Wolf (with Jon Davis-Hunt) and 'spookpunk' adventure comedy Dandridge (with Warren Pleece). He's also written Judge Dredd, Robo-Hunter, Tharg's 3rillers and Tales From The Black Museum.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Exclusive excerpt: Gods and Monsters: Mythbreaker by Stephen Blackmoore (NSFW)

Before you continue please head the warning tag - this post is really not safe for work. Also, if you are at work you probably should get back to it before you get yourself fired. 

by Stephen Blackmoore


AFTER YEARS of doing everything from smoking crushed-up Quaaludes in a Skid Row homeless camp to snorting cocaine with Miami “businessmen,” Fitz has come to one inescapable conclusion.
Getting high is a huge pain in the ass.
You’d think it wouldn’t be that hard. Doesn’t matter if it’s pot, opium, ecstasy or Viagra; it all works the same way. You take a thing, and put it in your body. It goes up your nose, or down your mouth, in a vein, up your butt. Simple, right? But no.
People, man. Fucking people. Got to make everything complicated. Pipes, domes, vaporizers, spoons, butane torches, screens, papers, irons, ash catchers, straws, grinders, nails, syringes, chillums, hookahs, clips, masks.
Not that that’s ever stopped him, of course. Whether he’s popping prescription anti-psychotics or doing opium out of a glass pipe, it’s all worth it. To keep the voices out of his head.
“Gimme a hit,” Marty says. He leans into him on the bed, wraps his leg around Fitz’s own. They fucked the sheets off the mattress an hour ago, their clothes scattered across the floor.
Or is it Matty? Marvin? Fitz can’t remember. That’s fine. He’ll be gone by morning, and he’ll never see him again. Dark brown hair, thin to the point of ribs showing, eyes a shade of green that makes Fitz think of the ocean. He’ll remember those eyes, even if he never remembers his name.
Fitz passes him the pipe, runs the lighter underneath until the dab of opium dissolves into a little dark pool. Marvin sucks down the vapor, holding it in for a moment and then blowing it out through his nostrils.
“Oh, I like that,” Matty-Maybe-Marvin says.
Last week there was a girl. Patty? Pamela? He did a lot of coke with her. And the week before was a couple of Mormon missionaries who weren’t quite as devout as their nice white shirts and straight black ties would suggest.
“It’s good, isn’t it?” Fitz takes the pipe from him, packs another dot of opium into it and lights up. He sucks in the vapor and his mind goes still.
If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be much point. He’s not in it for the high. He’s in it for the way it shuts his brain up. All the backchatter and noise. Like being in a crowded bar. And the sights. Images that crowd out his own vision, sometimes; make it hard to tell what’s real and what isn’t.
A mix of anti-psychotics and benzos does the trick most of the time, shuts things up enough where he can function. But sometimes it gets too much. Everything’s too loud, too bright, too everything. And that’s when he goes out, gets himself a nice little brown ball of pure joy and a twink like Matty here and spends the weekend in a hotel room getting fucked up and sucked off.
“I’ve never tried it before,” Marty says. Dammit, maybe it’s Michael? “It’s... different. What’s the craziest stuff you’ve ever tried?”
“Toads,” Fitz says, his voice hazy like smoke.
Bufo alvarius,” he says. “Colorado river toad. They secrete a toxin on their backs that’s like doing acid. It’ll really fuck you up.”
“So, like, you suck the toad?”
“No. God, no. Eew. They taste nasty,” Fitz says, remembering when he’d heard about the toads and tried exactly that. “You squeeze it. And when it starts to secrete the toxin you slap it against a windshield and smear it all over. You get this gross, goopy gel. And then you let it dry in the sun and scrape it off and smoke it.”
Marty shudders. “That’s disgusting. Seriously?”
Fitz shrugs. “No idea, really. I just smoked the shit.”
“But what about the stuff we just did? You got any more? I want another hit.”
“Pace yourself. This shit ain’t for amateurs. And it costs more than you do.”
“Fuck you,” Matthew says, less admonishment than suggestion. “I’m plenty expensive.”
“My point exactly.”
He trails a long fingernail from Fitz’s neck to his cock, his fingers wrapping lightly around the shaft. “What’ll it take to get another hit?”
“That’s a good start.”
“How about I smoke your toad?”
“Is that what we’re calling it now?”
He kisses his way down Fitz’s chest and stomach until he’s taken him in his mouth. Fitz rides the high of the opium, the feeling of lips around his cock. Drifts away on the sensation.
Then the visions slam into him like a truck through a convenience store window. They punch through the opium haze, sear into his brain.
Panic and howling winds. Angels and demons fucking in mid-air, tearing into each other with swords of fire. A raven-haired woman in green pulls the still-beating heart out of a man’s chest and holds it high, before tearing dripping chunks from it with razor teeth. Bulls and bears battle in a pit of money while high above them the sky fills with clouds of numbers in an unending stream of data that watches and waits and passes judgment. The images tear through him, fill him like an empty basin, crack and burst through the sides.
And through it all is the high, keening wail of someone screaming like they’re on fire, like their skin is being flayed from their bones, their eyes being put out with nails.
It isn’t until the police break down the door that he realizes it’s him.

Hospitals. Full of sick people. The old, the frail, the dying. The constant stink of disease and antiseptic, of rot and bodily fluids seeping out of holes that should never leak. They die in their beds, bleed all over them. Shit in them, too. Beds just like the one Fitz is currently lying in and handcuffed to. He’s wearing nothing but a badly fit gown that’s cut too high and leaves his ass exposed. His head hurts, and when he reaches up to touch it he feels a bandaged lump on his forehead.
But there is good news, as good news goes. He overheard a cop and a doctor outside his room talking. Fitz isn’t being locked up on a 5150, an involuntary psych hold. It’s happened a few times and he’s narrowly avoided doctors admitting him for a longer stay so they can turn him into a case study. He’s not schizophrenic, they say. He’s too lucid, they say. He has hallucinations, but not delusions. He’s not bipolar, not depressed, not manic. They don’t know what he is, though they all agree ‘crazier than a shithouse rat’ is a pretty good description.
If only that was a listing in the DSM-V.
But of course, there’s bad news, too. He’s probably going to do some time for the drug charge. He’s got a record, and judges don’t like records. He got picked up for heroin a while back and avoided an eighteen-month stint in the state penal system by going to rehab. He’s probably not going to get that again.
Even with a good lawyer, he’s probably going to do a stint in County.
This is a problem. A very big problem.
“Louie Fitzsimmons?” the doctor says as he comes in through the door. He’s young, like Doogie Howser young. Asian, with wide, dark eyes. Is this what happens when you get older? You see people in their twenties and they look like they should still be at their mother’s tit?
“Far as I know.” He’s having a hard time remembering everything he saw when he freaked out in the hotel room. Mostly he remembers blood.
The doctor chuckles. “You’re doing better than you were. Can you tell me what you were on? The young man you were with didn’t say.”
“Benadryl. Maybe some Advil. You know. I had a headache. And I got allergies. Must have had a bad reaction.”
“Right,” the doctor says. “And this Advil it was, uh, smoked, was it?”
“Don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, doc.”
“Uh huh. I hope those allergies clear up, Mister Fitzsimmons. I don’t think you’re going to be getting any Benadryl for a while.”
“How about some Advil?”
“Sorry,” the doctor says. “We only do Tylenol here.” He closes his chart, heads to the door. Stops when a six-foot-plus wall of muscle steps in his way. He looks up at the giant woman standing there.
“I don’t think you’re supposed to be in here,” the doctor says, his voice suddenly very small.
Samantha Kellerman looms. At six-foot-five, with eyes like carved jade and a shock of bright red hair, Sam can’t help but loom. It’s built into her DNA. She is not fat, she is big-boned. This only explains her girth because those bones are wrapped in two-hundred-and-twenty pounds of densely packed muscle built doing MMA before she lost a bout in a bad way. She is big-boned surrounded by big-meat.
“Cops said I could,” she says, pointing over her shoulder with a thumb.
“Oh,” is all the doctor can seem to get out. “Okay, then.” He edges past Sam and scuttles away down the hall.
“What’s eatin’ him?” Sam says. She slings a backpack off her shoulder and onto the hospital bed.
“I think you scared him.”
“Don’t know why. I’m just a big ol’ teddy bear. You doin’ all right?”
Fitz holds up his left arm as far as the cuff securing him to the hospital bed will let him. “Been better. How’d you get in here, anyway?”
“Couple of the cops are Blake’s customers. They gave me a few minutes.”
“He got any prosecutors in his pocket?”
Sam shrugs. It’s like watching a mountain shrug. Fitz half expects to see boulders tumble to the floor. “Used to. But these days? Dunno.”
“I gotta get out of here, man,” Fitz says. “I am not going to do well in prison.”
“Jail. The prisons are all full up. And you know you won’t do a full stretch. Blake’ll take care of you, man. He always does. They gotta get you squared away here and then book you. Then they’ll probably move you to County for a few days before they get you in front of a judge.”
Any other time that would be a relief. Fitz and Sam have known each other, and worked together, for almost twenty years. Fitz to cook books and hide money, and Sam to break legs and hide bodies. All in the service of Blake Kaplan, a record producer who moved into selling drugs when his boy bands didn’t quite get there. Wasn’t much of a stretch; he was supplying his kids with enough coke to frost the Alps, so moving into a wider distribution was a natural progression.
No matter what happened, Blake always took care of his boys. Then, as now, whether it’s getting someone out of jail, fixing a parking ticket, scoring some Zoloft and Haldol for Fitz to take the edge off, Blake’s always come through.
But as soon as Blake figures out a couple of things Fitz has done, that’s all going to stop, and Fitz needs to get out of here before it does.
“Yeah,” Fitz says.
“Oh, come on. Why so glum? You’ve done time before.”
“I got a suspended sentence and rehab,” Fitz says. “I was in for a weekend.”
“And that’s what this is. Three days max and Blake’ll post bail.” Sam pulls up a chair. “So what happened? You have another one of those episodes?”
Those episodes. Explaining to Sam that when they hit it’s like having his mind turned inside out and poured down the drain is like trying to teach a dog orbital mechanics. Sam’s good as murderous thugs go, but anything outside of MMA, craft beer and the best places in Los Angeles to hide a body never seems to fully register with her.
“This one was pretty bad.”
“Huh. Well, Blake wanted me to tell you he’s got you covered. He has all the updated passwords, right? He’ll take over the books while you’re out of commission.”
“He can’t do that,” Fitz says a little too quickly, trying to hold his panic down.
“How come?”
“I need to clean a few things up. The numbers are off. I think I transposed some digits. They won’t add up.”
“I don’t know what any of that means,” Sam says. “But Blake’ll figure it out.” She gets up, pats Fitz’s hand. It feels like she’s slamming a Christmas ham across Fitz’s knuckles. “We’ll get you taken care of. I know you don’t want nobody to help you with these episodes, but if they’re getting this bad, you need to see somebody. Like, for real this time. Not that dealer in Koreatown you keep talking to.”
“I mean it. Like a real doctor. But right now, don’t worry about it. Oh, before I go.” She unzips the backpack, pulls out a shirt, pants, socks, shoes and a jacket. “They said they brought you in naked. So I hit your place and grabbed you some stuff. I wasn’t gonna touch your underwear. Figure if you’re going to lock-up you should at least have something to wear besides a hospital gown for the ride over. There’s nothing else in there. I had to promise the guys outside I wasn’t sneaking anything in and I don’t want them gettin’ into trouble.”
“You’re the most honest crook I know.”
“Thanks. So take care and don’t worry. We got your back.”
Fitz waits until Sam disappears through the door before he really starts to lose his shit. Blake’s going to look at the books. And when he does he’s going to figure out that things aren’t adding up. It won’t take him long to see it.
After all, it’s hard to hide fifteen million dollars.
Not that Fitz hasn’t tried. He’s been skimming from Blake for almost ten years now. He doesn’t want to be an accountant the rest of his life, after all. He’d like to retire sooner rather than later. So he’s taken a little bit here, little bit there. Funneled it all into an offshore account in the Caymans and covered his tracks.
But in the last few months he’s gotten more aggressive about it, and just a week ago he grabbed nine million out of some of Blake’s own offshore accounts and he hasn’t figured out how to hide it all yet. When Blake goes looking, he’s going to find it.
And the next time Fitz sees Sam, she’s not going to be bringing him a change of clothes.

Gods & Monsters: Mythbreaker is out in the US December 2nd 2014.