My partner and I still do not have the novel ready, but here is the short story that started (or is starting) it all.
The bullet tore flesh from his left shoulder. Akira Tanaka yelped in pain but quickly regained his focus. He had been shot before and knew he would be shot again if he didn’t keep quiet. He took a moment to control his breathing and glance at the bloody wound. It was a lucky shot; he had been out of their line of sight.
Tanaka’s daughter has been kidnapped. He must face a group of determined yakuza to save her. This fast-paced 7,500 word story is the first in a series of thrilling adventures featuring Tanaka.
“Well written and puts you into the action right away.” – Larry LaVoie, author of Leap of Faith and other suspense/thriller/mystery novels.
I’m excited that The Temporal is still going strong. It is now #483 in the Free list (which again, is horrible compared to that one experience with Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughter which quickly zoomed under 100 in the entire Amazon store!) and #15 in Action & Adventure.
A few days ago, I took The Temporal off Smashwords (which was still pending review for the Premium distribution), and BN.com (which was not selling at all) to test KDP with it. KDP Select allows authors to make their books free for up to five days every three months. The only bad thing is for three months I have to agree to not sell the ebook anywhere else.
That’s fine. If I can get a few reviews on Amazon, it will be worth it. So far 468 people have downloaded it. That is over about 28 hours. Again, not nearly as impressive as when Tanaka went free–I counted two seconds, refreshed, and saw another “sale”! While I’m not getting that kind of response, one good side effect is, I’ve sold four, I think, Tanaka and the Yakuza’s Daughters since yesterday. I think the freebie is leading people to checkout my other work. I just wish I had more “other work”!
I had planned to make it free for just one day (yesterday), but it seemed to be gaining momentum last night so I decided to use the second free day for today. And overnight, it went from #30ish to #15 in Action & Adventure.
Would you like to read this for FREE in exchange for an honest review? If so, please email me (see contact me page).
If you like thrillers with a slightly weird twist, this book is for you. It has some weirdness (hence the “supernatural” part) but I think it could also work as a straight thriller. Book two (The List of the Temporal, coming late summer) will be more of a “super hero” action thriller, however.
I would rate it as PG-13. Coarse language is at a bare minimum, and the violence isn’t described in detail, but there is some violence. The prologue below will give you a taste of what I mean.
About the book:
“Concise, action-packed chapters that really keep the pace moving. … CJ Martin will thrill you while making a surreal world seem so plausible.”
ETERNITY: Existence outside time
The Temporal, a supernatural thriller by CJ Martin
After his wife leaves him for a former friend, Sam Williams moves to Japan to start his life over.
But a quiet life for Sam was not to be.
A devastating earthquake in central Japan sends eternity crashing into time, enabling Sam to hear echoes of the past and even the future. Through the echoes, Sam and a mysterious Japanese woman learn of a terrorist plot that could plunge the world into turmoil and position a murderer as the leader of the free world.
They alone have the knowledge and ability to stop the plot.
But even with eternity on their side, can they stop it in time?
This novel has 62,000 words, 48 chapters (plus prologue and epilogue), and is about 250 printed pages.
And here is the Prologue in its entirety:
Four Months Ago…
With his right hand, Fakhr al Din reached for a large chunk of white cheese. He had lost his little finger, but was blessed by Allah to still have retained the full function of the other three and his thumb. The explosion had been greater than anticipated. In the end, however, the mission was successful. He allowed his hand to momentarily hover over the cheese, giving him a chance to admire its marred form—his small sacrifice for the cause.
The lighting in the room was dim and set primarily above the food on the table. His periphery was completely in shadow, but that shadow was not void of eyes watching and fingers gripping weapons. There were two guards ready to give their lives to protect the great imam of the Bushehr Province in Southern Iran.
He took a generous bite into the cheese while enjoying the heavy aroma of garlic in the air. The garlic paired surprisingly well with the hint of fragrant mint and thyme flowing from a gift basket in front of him. He had received many such gifts since an anonymous spokesman from his Warriors of the Sword had, through Al Jazeera, publicly taken credit for the latest bombing in Sderot, Israel. Of course, on CNN International and in English, Fakhr al Din himself had categorically denied any involvement in the “atrocious and unfortunate event.”
Even with the local popular support and the current pleasant refreshments, the imam hated to be kept waiting. Hamim, his head of security, was due for a report on local threats and was twenty minutes late.
Last week at Hamim’s request, the imam had ordered the killing of an innocent boy to remind the locals of the holy mission with which they were all entrusted: to protect Fakhr al Din. The boy’s parents had been quite cooperative. It was amusing to him how quickly planted evidence persuaded the father to disown his son, the infidel. As the child was dragged away to sentencing, his father led the frenzied chants of condemnation. The whole matter, of course, had not been the imam’s personal desire. But he had to periodically remind the neighborhood of their sacred duties.
Where is Hamim?
The Americans had taken an increased interest in him. He, however, felt sure his current safe house was secure. Two dozen loyal guards were on the grounds. The latest surveillance equipment continuously monitored every inch of the compound. A tunnel that exited into the kitchen of a nearby house was an escape route of last resort. In addition to all this, he had a more traditional security system stationed at the three entrances and trained to discover explosives, his Belgian Malinois dogs. These precautions would afford him the precious minutes needed to facilitate an escape if necessary.
Fakhr al Din grabbed his pita filled with lamb shawarma, but before he could bite, the door flung open.
“Hamim, where have you been?”
But it wasn’t Hamim.
Two strange men—Westerners wearing sunglasses and dark suits—stood in the doorway. He could see another shadowy figure in the distance beyond the men. A woman?
Two of the imam’s men, unseen and hidden by the shadows, stepped into the light. Brandishing their AK-47s, they let off a few rounds before they were silenced no more than two seconds later.
Fakhr al Din was left with his mouth open and without comprehension of what just happened. He had heard the rat-tat-tat of the weapons to his left and right, but what he saw straight in front of him defied understanding. Instead of blood and flesh ripped by bullets, he saw, for the briefest of moments, the two dark men’s hands go from their sides to a level equal with the incoming bullets. The motion—if it could be called motion—was quicker than his brain could process. It was as if their arms were in one position and then in the next moment, up to meet the bullets.
He heard the sounds of a dozen rounds ripping into and ricocheting off of the walls, furniture, and glassware around the room—but not into flesh.
In the next instant, the cleric, still looking forward, saw only the figure that had been behind the two men. The two black suited men had vanished, leaving what he could now confirm to be a woman. Her fiery-red hair was free and not held back by the traditional hijab head-covering. She was beautiful and terrifying.
Where are my men?
He turned left and then right to see his men held by the throat and off the ground, struggling to breathe.
Fakhr al Din looked at the table. His SIG P226 was next to the cheese. With the quickest of motions, he jerked his hand out, slapping it on the hard wooden surface where the gun had been a second ago. The woman had closed the two dozen feet within that timeframe and now held his weapon; its muzzle was directed at him.
He heard the sound of bodies pounding into the floor and turned to his left and then right. His guards were on the ground. Their throats were still tightly held by the intruders who were now down on one knee and had their heads turned toward the center of the room. Although the dark sunglasses hid their eyes, they both were clearly looking to the woman, waiting for her command.
“What—what do you want?”
“A chat. A private chat,” she said with a smile, causing the Iranian man to shudder. “Tell your men not to disturb us.”
The imam was at a loss. He felt her cold fingers gently lift his chin. Her motion first closed his opened mouth and then raised his entire head to meet her eyes. With the other hand, she held up his gun. Depressing the magazine release, she let the clip fall with a clunk onto the table.
“Tell them to go.”
Before he realized it, she had the gun lifted directly above her head. A single shot expended the remaining round, ejecting the spent casing and filling the small room with an explosive sound. It somehow seemed louder to the imam than had the bursts of the AKs. Bits of clay and plaster rained on Fakhr al Din, covering the table and cheese.
“Tell them to go—now.” The woman, having moved to his side away from the debris, startled him. Her voice was soft, silky even. If it weren’t for those eyes that seemed to drill violently and deeply into his soul, she might appear peaceful and sublime, like an angel.
“D—don’t disturb us,” the imam said to the men, keeping his attention fixed on the woman’s face. As terrible as they were, he feared to wander too far from those dark, piercing eyes. “Tell the others to not disturb us!” Dirt and plaster dropped from his beard as he shouted the order.
She nodded. Her two men immediately released their prisoners and returned to a standing position. In an instant, the two dark suited men were standing with their hands cupped in front like pall-bearers awaiting their duty. The guards on the floor rolled away from their captors, coughing.
“Go!” the woman shouted with a force beyond what seemed humanly possible.
The two men jumped to their feet and made for the door.
“Now,” she said as she walked casually to close the door, “I have a job for you. A job that I’m sure you will find to be mutually beneficial.”
The Present Day…
“Donata desu ka?—Who are you?”
Her hand darted up, grabbing air as if she could touch the visage of the man standing in front of her in her dream.
She only required five or ten minutes of sleep daily and yet this dream had continued for over half an hour. She had already kicked off the top futon and her head was far from the pillow. Sweat dripped from her brow.
“Do you not see me?”
She always remembered her dreams which seemed to begin immediately with her loss of consciousness and end when her body’s need for sleep was sated.
Particularly vivid were the dreams with him in it. His name was a mystery to her, but his face—she could recall it with exquisite detail and on command.
Her eyes fluttered, then opened with the full realization that she was not awake. Her mind projected the dream world onto the wooden ceiling above.
“Who are you?” she repeated.
The man stood two dozen feet or more away and was enveloped by an obscuring cloud—a first for a dream with him in it. Even still, her keen vision discerned a panic within his eyes.
How different this dream was. The man had always brought peace to her heart—not conflict and now… this horror. In previous dreams, the man recognized her. But now, she was invisible to him.
The man began to run. He was running from something and in her direction, but his position remained unchanged as if on a treadmill. He craned his neck over his shoulder in search of someone—his pursuer.
She sharpened her vision and dared to peer beyond the man to see the nightmare from which he was escaping. A moment later, he vanished. She realized she had moved ahead of his position and was seeing what he saw. She faced his nightmare directly.
As the scene gradually came into focus, she saw a street. It was in slow motion, but people were fleeing from some terror. She squinted her dream eyes hard until she saw what they saw. A fireball.
Then it all disappeared. There was nothing but white.
“Sam,” chanted some disembodied voices from the whiteness. It was a calm, sweet sound but with a multitude of voices singing in unison like a well-trained choir. It was as pleasant as the gentle whoosh of the ocean at eventide.
She answered, anticipating the voice. “Samuel Williams, the one at the hospital.”
She understood the meaning and allowed it all to slip away.
The Temporal Chapter Two by CJ Martin (Right click to download)
(If this is the first section you’ve heard, See the Prologue Podcast)
Sam’s new job would begin later in the month. This gave him time to find an apartment and, of course, time to explore Japan. The hotel concierge helped him order shinkansen—bullet train—tickets to Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima. The return trip would be a scenic route back through the Hokuriku area in central Japan.
It was August, the time of the Obon festival when everyone traveled, the concierge warned. Sam was fine with that. He wasn’t in a particular hurry and thought it therapeutic to be around crowds of unfamiliar distractions.
The next morning at the station, with a little help from a kind and elderly gentleman and a kid eager to practice his English, he found the correct train and waited in a line that led him directly to his seat.
In the train, his mind wandered aimlessly in search of an anchor. At times it seemed he didn’t have the strength to stop it from latching on to his wife—his ex-wife. (He had a hard time accepting that simple change of title.)
The announcement music began, snapping him back to reality. A tinny, speaker-tainted voice announced the next stop in Japanese.
Two elementary school girls giggled at seeing “Fuji-san” for the first time. Sam closed his eyes and was back in his childhood. He and his classmates had climbed that active volcano several times.
Living in Shizuoka prefecture, it was his school’s yearly summer field trip. Well, the bus would drive them up to level four and they would hike to level five. This is how they “climbed” Mt. Fuji. Still, even this short hike was enough to exhaust the young Sam. The air was thin and with every step, it became thinner.
Thoughts of his classmate’s laughter and the tossing of volcanic rock at the crows gave way to fleeting images of recent events mixed with absurd abstract notions that seem so sensible to a half-asleep mind. This continued until the announcement music brought him back to the train and Osaka was just ahead.
He got off and did the touristy stuff, not really sure about his direction. He came across and boarded an English tour bus. He heard all about Osaka Castle and that big crab in mid-town Osaka. But his mind kept wandering Stateside. Self-pity engulfed his thoughts. Nothing could penetrate this shroud of darkness it seemed—not even the sharp pincers of that giant crab.
A day or two later, he boarded a train to get to Kyoto and found a hotel for the night. After that, it was Hiroshima, but it was no matter. His mind was ever sinking, and his spirit was crushed under the weight of failure and betrayal. No change of scenery reciprocated a change of mind. But onward he went.
Hokuriku was different. He took local trains stopping at every minor town. A business man in his forties sat next to him all the way through Fukui prefecture. Unusually bubbly and eager to strike up a conversation with a foreigner, the man provided a welcomed distraction from Sam’s melancholy. The man had been on a week-long business trip; a week away from his family. The businessman stepped off at Eiheiji in northern Fukui leaving Sam to contemplate the meaning of the word, “family.”
In short order, Sam got off the train at Kanazawa in Ishikawa prefecture. It was a typical August morning in Japan: humid with no healing breeze. He found an information desk at the station and asked for an English guide to the sights around Ishikawa.
He had been here once before. His parents took him to Kenrokuen—one of the three great gardens of Japan, he was told. As a child he glossed over the controlled natural beauty of the garden. At thirty-five, he would have another look.
A young girl, surely on her first summer job, took his money and handed him his ticket. It had a full color photo of the park in the winter just as he had remembered it. The snow covered rock gardens, stone bridge, and roped trees he saw as a child instructed him how beauty—and by extension, love—needed to be restrained and cultivated. But it was now a hot, eternal summer and the trees were left naked and free. This led his thoughts back to his wife; was he too controlling or not enough? He knew the trees were trying to teach him something, but he wasn’t sure what it was.
Following the instructions on the tourist guide, he took a bus to Noto Peninsula. Noto boldly sticks out the top of Ishikawa prefecture into the Sea of Japan. Sam wanted to be bold.
They stopped at a small building that served as a bus stop. The sounds and smell of an unseen beach were strong and nearby.
The Japanese characters on a paper pinned to a board caught his eye. He started to ask someone what it meant, but thought it better to leave the mystery intact for now. He began jotting down a rough representation of the kanji to look up later.
He only copied a single character when a clock chimed and distracted him. He heard it ring one, two, three… He knew it had to be ten o’clock, but he continued counting anyway… six, seven, eight…
Somewhere between nine and ten, time stopped. The earth, a hungry lion, groaned. There seemed to be a pause, a preamble to the inevitable, like the moment after an orchestra tunes the strings but before the performance begins—an overwhelming silence.
In a moment seemingly outside time, he relived his birth. He didn’t have time to think of the oddity of it. In fact, it seemed there was no time involved. It was more of a holistic feeling; not a thought or memory, but something he just understood instinctively. He experienced his mother’s mixture of extreme pain and joy, seemingly opposite feelings in perfect harmony.
Then the rubber band snapped.
All the pent-up energy imploded inside him. Time had no hold on him. Sam, for that one moment, seemed to float outside his body; see all things, hear all things. His senses were heightened and time slowed if it existed at all. A terrible sound; of trumpets; a thousand percussion; brass instruments; simultaneously striking a crescendo of vastly discorded notes. The sound waves were even visible to Sam’s eyes as they blasted him with extraordinary force into a newly formed cavity. The building next to him collapsed and showered him with debris and large chunks of earth.