For those who are curious about the submission process, or at the submission stage for their own stories, or who just want to see what Break and Enter is about, here's the query letter we sent to Samhain (minus the biographical paragraph):
Major Victor “Cyke” Kellermann is on the run for a crime he didn’t— well, okay, did commit, but at least he didn’t realize it at the time. Cyke’s a good guy, you see: a security expert, a “white hat hacker” for hire. He’s also more teched out than the Bionic Man, even if the army did leave him to his ailing ’ware when they abandoned him three years ago.
Cyke’s latest series of break-ins-for-hire are proving . . . difficult. Sentinel Tech’s security measures are top of the line, and though Cyke has no trouble getting in, he keeps tripping up on the getting out part. The cops hounding his ass aren’t helping matters, either. Why haven’t his employers told them he’s legal and called off the dogs? Cyke can see only one reason: someone’s stealing SenTech’s data for real and setting Cyke up to take the fall.
Fortunately there’s Bear, a paramedic-cum-tech phreak fascinated by the mysterious stranger and his even more mysterious ’ware. Bear scrapes Cyke off the sidewalk after more than one brutal SenTech cyberattack. When Cyke is injured and out of options after a disastrous third break-in, he stumbles onto Bear’s doorstep. Cyke hasn’t trusted another man in years, hasn’t felt desire for one in even longer, and Bear’s none too thrilled about harboring an alleged fugitive. But the more time they spend together, the more they realize that each is exactly what the other needs. Together, they might just clear Cyke’s name and expose the ugly secrets of a company whose business is locking secrets away.
You can read a bit more about Break and Enter in an earlier blog post, here, along with a sneak preview of the novella. And because I'm feeling excited and celebratory and can't wait to share Bear and Cyke with you all, here's another sneak peek, beneath the jump.
Cyke couldn’t help the grunt as the pincer glove came off. The disconnect was always unpleasant. Like losing a tooth: A little blood, a little pain. But even worse, from one moment to the next a part of him ceased to be so, became cold and inert and other.
He already wanted it back. Certainly didn’t want to be stuck in this damn transport anymore. And where the fuck were his clothes?
“Stop the ambulance,” he said as the medic examined the wounds in his arm. “Take me back where you found me.” Wherever that was. Did he remember stumbling off the bus? Changing lines? Something like that. He’d watched a lot of night-lit city and his fellow passengers in the reflection of the bus window.
The medic ignored him, studied the mess someone had made of his right arm. Cyke tried to pretend it didn’t hurt. “I said I’m good. Just a cut on my arm.”
The medic threw him the stink eye. “Unless you have the constitution of a six-year-old girl, ‘just a cut on your arm’ did not send you halfway into a coma. You were down so deep we couldn’t wake you. You need to be looked at.”
The radio in the medic’s pocket squawked. “Shit,” he said, turning to his partner. “I forgot to cancel the cops.”
Cops. He'd better come up with something fast.
“What’s your 20?” the radio asked.
Presumably, the man naming a street Cyke didn’t recognize was the driver. Cyke closed his eyes, searched the public database; a map popped into his head. He scanned radio frequencies as he studied it, searching for the cop channel. There. Shit, they knew they were looking for an individual with fried ’ware. First place they’d search would be hospitals, and then every body shop and techie in the city who was capable of soldering more than an old TV set back together.
“I’m diabetic.” It was the best explanation for sudden black-outs, right? “Took my insulin, forgot to eat.”
Another stink-eye. The medic clearly didn’t believe him, but at least he wasn’t calling him on it. He stood instead, stooped slightly in the confines of the ambulance, reached over Cyke to pull something from a supply cabinet. “Eat this,” he said, pressing a tube of cloyingly sweet paste to Cyke’s lips.
Fuck it, he was starving. Might as well.
* * * * *That's all for now, my dearies. More sneak peeks to come shortly before release (yes, there will be some virtual partying going on, assuming I'm not still hung over from the Crescendo blog tour). Off I go now to bounce off the walls and ceiling for a few hours :D