Assembling a Cyberpunk Heist Team by Jodi L. Milner

As part of a blog swap (see my last post), Jodi L. Milner wrote these fun instructions, which I think you’ll enjoy.

Assembling your Cyberpunk Heist Team

By Jodi L Milner

Listen, if you’re reading this you are already up to no good. Kudos. I like your moxi. Chances are you’ve got plans, big ones, the kind that needs cash. We’re not talking about rummaging up enough coins to sleep in a real bed, that’s nothing. If you take my advice, you’ll never have to sleep on a pile of cardboard again.

We’re talking credits. Those penthouse-dwelling corporate yes-men got ‘em. You need ‘em.  The cybernetic enhancements you want won’t pay for themselves, and without ‘em you might as well start selling your brain space to the highest bidder.

To pull off a successful heist, you need a team.

The Mastermind – That’s you, sweetheart. Someone must know what’s really going on and drive this crazy bus all the way across the bridge. If you’re reading this, you better have a plan and charisma. You’ll need both to pull this off.

The Money – Great plans need credits. You’ve got to have credits to steal more. Watch out for this guy, he’ll be the first to stab you in the back. The best place to find Mr. Money? The DMV. Thanks to papa government’s stubborn insistence to cling to last centuries tech, all license and ID renewals still require in-person biometric data gathering.

The Metal – Get yourself a robot, the dumber and stronger, the better. They come in handy for carrying heavy bags, breaking through doors, and blaming stuff on. My personal favorite place to find one is at Walmart. Ever since they replaced the senior citizen greeters with robot thugs there is a whole new population of underpaid disgruntled robots to choose from.

The Motherboard – You’re smart, but you’re not that smart. You need a regular wiz kid, or even better, one with integrated fiber-optic circuitry and a high-speed network connection. If you play your cards right, this kid will crack codes, hack passwords, and hunt down all the intimate details of your mark. Find your motherboard anywhere where the drinks are cheap and the network is fast. I recommend choosing a teenager young enough to still believe they know everything and old enough to not get themselves killed.

The Magnet – Every organic being has a weakness and your magnet is there to exploit it. Both smart and sexy, the magnet must to be irresistible to your mark as well as completely loyal to you. Don’t use one of your exes, trust me on this. I personally prefer using restaurant staff working to make ends meet between movie auditions. They tend to be the perfect combination of desperate and good looking.

The Maniac – Every brilliant plan has a dash of crazy, and this guy is your man. He is essential for when things go wrong, his ability to improvise and adapt to ever-changing conditions can make the difference between success and failure. Interestingly enough, these guys tend to be good with explosives, go figure. Finding a good maniac is quite a challenge as every single one of them tend to be very different from the next. However, scammers and heist planners out there all tend to know at least one dependable maniac. Use your connections and find yours.

There’s one more person that you have to consider when assembling your team, and this person is quite possibly the most important person to put research into.

This person is your mark.

If you do your job right, the mark will never know he’s been had. If you do your job poorly, he’s the guy who will dog your every step until you’re behind bars, or worse, erased.

The ideal mark is someone who has staff who cares for his mundane needs. He has people who go to the bank, to corporate meetings, and pick up his current girlfriend from her flat for him. Bonus points if you’re mark just happens to be the head of the company that sells the drug which destroyed your family.

Research your mark well, know everything about him. Know his weaknesses, his strengths, his favorite candy bar, and his favorite brand of toilet paper.

With a solid plan, a skilled team, and an ideal mark, you are set to pull off a successful heist.

50650227_1976827169291357_4497815702287155200_nAbout the Author

Growing up, Jodi L. Milner wanted to be a superhero and a doctor. When she discovered she couldn’t fly, she did what any reasonable introvert would do and escaped into the wonderful hero-filled world of fiction and the occasional medical journal. She’s lived there ever since.

These days, when she’s not folding the children or feeding the laundry, she creates her own noble heroes on the page. Her speculative short stories explore the fabric of dreams and have appeared in anthologies and magazines, while her novels weave magic into what it means to be human.

She still dreams of flying.

Check out Jodi’s blog & website.

Follow her on Facebook.

Look her up on Twitter.

Also check out Jodi’s book, Stonebearer’s Betrayal.50853103_563592630776657_751250485138161664_n

A secret society of immortals tasked to protect the world.

A demon bent on revenge.

And a girl brave enough to fight for her family when the two collide.

When Archdemoness Wrothe stirs the ashes from a long dead war, it rekindles a fire that threatens to burn the world. The immortal Stonebearers have the power to bring her down, if they learn of her awakening in time.

Katira didn’t believe the legends. It wasn’t possible for a person to bend the very fabric of reality or live forever. She didn’t believe in the dark mirror realm either or that forces were at work to destroy the waking world.

That was before the first demon shadow hound came for her.

 

Free Book: Divergent Fates

Special Project

For a limited time, you can get DIVERGENT FATES, the cyberpunk anthology set in Matthew Cox‘s world, for FREE! This collection features my story, SPECIAL PROJECT, about underground hovercar racing in Korea. Packed with fascinating futuristic tales by an amazing cast of authors, I highly recommend it… and you can’t beat the price. (And I have to say, I really love this new cover.)

Divergent Fates e-book

Oh, and while I’m at it, if you want ANOTHER FREE ANTHOLOGY, Matthew Cox is also giving The Far Side of Promise away free right now, too. Enjoy!

Amazon’s Cheap Paperbacks Game

fractured-earth-wrap-coverAmazon likes to play a game with me. The premise is simple. They slowly drop the price of my paperback books a little at a time to see how long I’ll wait before I buy them cheap. they probably don’t realize the game’s a no-brainer. Eventually, the price goes lower than what I can get them from my distributor for (to sell at signings and conventions). Then I buy a bunch and they put the price right back up.

windows-into-hell-wrap-cover

We’ve reached the tipping point of the game for a couple of my best-selling books. They are down to a third of the cover price. Normally, I’d just snap them up, but this time, I thought I’d let you in on it. I can’t guarantee I’ll hold off very long. But for a little while, you can get these books, brand new, for dirt cheap.

The Actuator: Fractured Earth, just $6.55!

Windows into Hell, just $6.58!

Get them fast, because after a few are sold, they’ll be $18.99 and $16.99 again. 🙂

The Road So Far

All Covers 2017

Five years.

The Last Key came out  five years after my first book and short story in print.

The full score is 6 Novels, 1 Novella, 3 Anthologies I edited, 1 RPG manual with 2 short stories in it), short stories in 18 Anthologies edited by other people (including 3 reprints), and comics in 2 episodes of 1 magazine.

I have 2 Novels ready to go whenever I decide to buckle down and send them in, and 4 short stories going into Anthologies coming out in the future (including 1 reprint). I’m currently working on a new novel, which I paused to experiment with a serial story.

I hope this doesn’t come off as bragging. I’m just taking stock of where I’ve been, as a way of deciding where I want to go next. It’s been a rough year, and I think I need a little direction and motivation before I start to build up momentum again. Seeing this block of covers really makes me happy.

A writer’s only real success is the readers, of course. I’m immensely grateful to my readers, fans, friends, and family. I’ll leave you with some eye candy from the first test version of The Last Key by cover artist Eugene Teplitsky.

Here’s to the next five years!

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The Last Paperback

The Last Key Wrap Cover

At long last, the last paperback (The Last Key) in the Actuator Series is out! If you read electronically, as the majority of people seem to do these days, then you probably already have it. For those who are holding out because they want the paper in their hands and the smell of a new press, your time has finally come.

For me, the ultimate moment will be placing this book on my shelf next to the others. Then it will finally feel complete. My copies are in the mail, so the time is coming soon.

It’s been an amazing journey. Thank you all for sticking with me through it!

Actuator Series Wallpaper

Now Available: Valcoria Awakenings

Valcoria Awakenings

Now Avaliable: VALCORIA AWAKENINGS!

The battle for Amigus is over, and orphan-turned-hero, Yuiv, is settling into his life as junior lord of the house of Trauel. The loving family and peaceful life he’s so long yearned for seems to be within his grasp; that is until Yuiv starts having vivid nightmares. His glowing Kalyra eyes mark these dreams as supernatural, proof that he has the gift of Farsight—a power held only by the Al’Kalyra or Arch Sage.

As frightening as the idea of being Valcoria’s prophesied savior is, the terror of what Yuiv witnesses in his sleep is much worse. Pain, grief, blood and death descend upon him as he sees through the eyes of men, women, and even children who have been touched by the light of YaJiann.

The Children of the Crystal Star are awakening, rising above turmoil and strife to embrace their destinies as defenders of Valcoria. But all light casts a shadow, and with the heroes come the horrors born of blood and shadow. A dark threat looms; monsters that are far closer than anyone realizes—anyone except for Yuiv. And the revelation is nearly too hard for him to bear as it can mean only one thing.

The battle with the darkness is not over. It has only just begun.

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This anthology is part of the Valcoria series. So you may want to start with Book 1: Children of the Crystal Star— but it’s not necessary. However, as a promotion, it’s only 99 cents. So why not grab it as well?Crown of Darkness

Jason King is my favorite high fantasy author. I discovered his work with the Age of the Infinite trilogy, which is probably my favorite fantasy story to date.  Valcoria is a much more dynamic setting with trains and guns… which makes it feel fresh in an overwritten genre. In fact, it has one of my all time favorite short stories to launch the series. You should definitely read the Prelude: Crown of Darkness. Also only 99 cents!

Whether or not you get into the entire series, my short story in this collection, Ice Witch, has some personal significance. I wrote it not long after my Grandmother passed away. She was very proud of her Icelandic heritage, some of which rubbed off on me. So for this story I named the main character after her, but I gave a lot of her traits to the mentor. I must have done something right because that story was put first in the anthology (and Jason has suggested he wants to incorporate the character from this story into the series later on).

If you love a good fantasy, get Valcoria Awakenings now!

Divergent FatesFor those of you who aren’t into fantasy, how about some Cyberpunk? Divergent Fates, the anthology set in the dystopia dreamed up by Matthew Cox, is on sale for just 99 cents this week.

Cox is my favorite Cyberpunk author, weaving three huge series together in this mind expanding world. (All on sale for 99 cents this week!) I set this story, Special Project, in Korea. I spent two years there on a mission for my church and I had a lot of fun revisiting that culture as I imagined their place in this broken future.

So both of these anthologies are me bridging significant people and events from my life and using them to write in other authors’ sand boxes. Also, many of the authors featured in these collections are good friends and associates. Cox even wrote one of the stories in Valcoria Awakenings. If you love a good short story, or need to get back to some fresh short story reading, pick up one or both of these awesome anthologies. (And between all these links, you should have PLENTY of cheap books to get you through the long, cold winter!)

Sale Results

Well, the big Actuator sale to promote the release of the new book was a great success! Fractured Earth and the Borderlands Anthology both rocked the Cyberpunk, Dark Fantasy, and Superhero charts.

Actuator 1 11-2017 #14 Cyberpunk FREE

They went higher, but this is the shot I took of them side by side. The new book is also doing great things, ranking in Hot New Releases.

Actuator 4 11-2017 #29 Hot new Cyberpunk

Thanks for all your support! It’s such a relief to finally have this series finale out. If you missed it, the sale is still going. Although Fractured Earth is now $1.99, Books 2 and 3 are still 99 cents.

Completely randomly, Windows into Hell also hit the charts, even at full price.

WiH #60 Horror Anthologies 11-17

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Ultimate Actuator Promotion

Actuator Series Wallpaper

The fiery finale of the world-breaking series arrived today! In order to celebrate, Curiosity Quills Press is having the biggest giveaway and sale EVER. You can get Book 1, the Anthology, and the RPG Manual for FREE. Also, Books 2 & 3 are just 99 cents each. You can literally get the entire series for under $8! Here are all the links–

FREE! The Actuator: Fractured Earth

FREE! The Actuator: Borderlands Anthology

FREE! The Actuator Role-playing Game

99 cents! The Actuator 2: Return of the Saboteur

99 cents! The Actuator 3: Chaos Chronicles

NEW! The Actuator 4: The Last Key

If the cover art and the price aren’t enough to convince you already, you can read all the summaries and get more information on my Actuator page. Or just watch the series trailer on YouTube.

Thank you all for your support. I hope you love the climax of this long journey!

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Now Available: The Last Key

The Last Key E-Book Cover

It’s here! It’s finally here! At long last, the wait is over. I present the ultimate finale of the Actuator epic saga: The Last Key.

Summary:

The Actuator, a machine capable of literally changing reality, was created to make a utopian paradise. Before it happened, a saboteur used it to transform the world into patches of every kind of genre fiction, scattering the keys necessary to put it back across the globe. Everyone alive found their lives radically altered, some living in fantasy realms with real magic and others in incomprehensible horrors. Thrown into chaos, people struggled against aliens, pirates, orcs, and vampires. Many died. Only a handful of people on the planet, called Machine Monks, even knew why it happened or how. Now they have to put it all back before humanity is destroyed.

Continuing their quest for the Actuator keys, the Machine Monks realize their cause is becoming hopeless. An army of half-machine men is rapidly spreading over the face of the earth, converting anybody they don’t kill to their cause. With superior numbers and technology, their leader will not stop until every living human is subdued and loyal to him.

Keeping the first key with him, preventing anybody from using the Actuator to change the world, the sociopath rampages. Even if they could get all the keys, the small group opposing the tyrant don’t know what to do when they get to the final one—a key they’ve never seen before. If they don’t find the answers fast, the world will be lost.

Get it NOW!

The Actuator Series Trailer

Actuator Series Banner

Now on YouTube, on the James Wymore Channel, see the new and amazing–

ACTUATOR SERIES TRAILER!

36 seconds long, featuring the voice of yours truly. Just in time for tomorrow’s BIG SALE! Get your wallet ready. This whole series will be less than $10.