Mark Terry

Friday, December 03, 2010


December 3, 2010
Sometimes--often--as a professional writer, particularly one paying his bills that way, writing becomes work instead of play. It's an occupational hazard, emphasis on "occupation" and it puts a different kind of stress on the creative process. In short, it may stop being fun. So sometimes, in hopes of rejuvenating my enthusiasm for writing, I take a swing at something different, play around with a different idea. I've got one that I keep coming back to and maybe 2011 will be the year I actually spend more time on it (after I finish The Sins of The Father and A Plague of Stars, and maybe China Fire... Hmmmm....). Here's a taste. Me having a little fun. This would be the introduction of the main character of a tech thriller titled Crystal Storm.

Doug Shepherd rode his long board into shore on the Waikiki Beach, leaped into the surf and trotted across the beach to the surf shop where he worked, Kiki’s Board Dogs. Glancing at his watch, he saw he still had plenty of time before his shift began.

He ran around the back to store his board and dipped under the outdoor shower to sluice off the saltwater. Shepherd was heading for the locker room to change when Billy said, “Shep!”

He turned, brushing a hand through his long blond hair.

Billy jerked a thumb. “Two suits looking for you, man.”

Shep didn’t like that much. Two men in suits showing up on a beach in Hawaii usually wasn’t good news. He scanned his memory, trying to think of any money he owed, laws he might have broken, lawsuits he might have stumbled across or ex-wives he might owe … god knows what? He came up blank.

Shepherd turned to find that he had made an incorrect assumption. The suits weren’t both men. One was a woman. They weren’t lawyers, either. They were government. He knew it as soon as he saw them.

The woman, in a gray suit, said, “Are you Dr. Douglas Shepherd?”

Running a towel over his bare chest, he nodded. “What wants to know?”

The man held out a leather identification folder. “Fred McGovern. D.O.D.”

Shep took the identification, studying it. “DARPA,” he said. He glanced at the woman and held out his hand for her identification. She handed it to him. Also Department of Defense, also the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the out-there-on-the-fringes science part of the Pentagon. Her name was Allison West.

He handed back their IDs. “What can I do for you?”

“Your government needs you.”

“I gave at the office. No thanks.”


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Sounds intriguing, the question immediately being why would the government need somebody like Shep!

8:29 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

The first chapter takes place in Antarctica and Shep was once a military scientist that spent time in Antarctica. Originally the thought was he was a burned-out biologist with particular expertise in an unusual type of genetics (A to I RNA editing, specifically), but it's possible his particular expertise is in biology in arctic conditions. If I ever write it, that is.

9:52 AM  

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