Posts Tagged ‘Tunnel Vision’

Guest Blogger

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010


My name is Burga and I’m a guest blogger here today.  I guess the so-called author is runnin’ out of interestin’ things to say.  I’m a warrior-cook and I’ve had the lead role in two short stories that have been sold.  I agreed to do this ’cause the author gave me a big role in new novel he’s writin’.  Not the main role, but a big part.

Iffen I gotta write stuff here, I better tell you about myself.

I graduated a few years back from the College of Combat and Culinary Arts.  After that I joined the Heroes Guild.  I get a lotta leads on adventures from the college and the guild, enough to keep me workin’ anyway.  I love to go on adventures.  Besides havin’ fun, I meet different people and find out about new recipes and strange culinary techniques.  That’s the part I really like.  Don’t get me wrong, muggin’ dragons is fun and the loot is good.  I guess you can say that adventurin’ is my job but cookin’ is my passion.

I use a lotta my loot to buy herbs and spices, especially exotic ones, ’cause you need powerful stuff to make raccoon or badger taste good and that may be all I can catch while I’m onna quest.  With enough spices, I can even make grilled vulture taste good.

With a few more adventures, I’ll get promoted to Class B by the Heroes Guild and that’ll let me charge more for my services.  Also, my college’ll reclassify me to fighter-cook in a coupla months.  My aim is eventually become rated as a hero-chef.

In my first published adventure, I teamed up with a cute pastry-sorceress to get revenge on a wizard-critic who gave us nasty reviews.  That story is in Tunnel Vision.

Okay that’s it for today.  Writin’ stuff is a lot harder than cookin’.

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New Tunnel Vision Review

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

From Nanci Arvizu:

Hank knows how to take the every day ordinary and twist it into a parallel universe of you-never-know-that-could-be sense of humor that keeps me hooked.

Tunnel Vision is a collection of Hank’s short stories, which make it easy to pick up on an e-reader (I use my Black Berry) and read a story during any “wait time”. But be careful where you read; you could find yourself laughing out loud.TV-cover-small

My favorite of the bunch – Practical Experience. When I was younger I wanted to be an accountant. Anyone who works in the numbers crunching world will enjoy this story.

Five out of five stars for this book.

Check out the website for more information

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Tunnel Vision Sampler

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

In this scene from the story Manhattan Monsters, an undead softball team is in a playoff game in Manhattan’s Central Park.  The action is shown through the point of view of Gaspar Levesque, a lawyer working for the Attorney General.


Gaspar paced behind the bench as he watched the game.  He expected something bad to happen at any moment.

Ida stood behind the batting cage, swinging a bat to loosen up.  The score was tied at three, it was the next to last inning and the Manhattan Monsters had a runner on second base with one out.  A hit could give them a one run lead.

Their opponent, the Church of the Holy Grail, took the game very seriously, as if a loss to a team of unsaintly undead would cast a doubt on their sanctity.  The church team wore unusual uniforms, blue cassocks with white surplices.

On the pitcher’s mound, the minister of the church stared at the catcher.  The batter stared at the minister.  In the bleachers, a choir of stout women sang hymns and stamped their feet.

The minister blessed the softball and threw the pitch.

“Ball four,” the umpire called.

The undead batter grinned and shuffled off to first base.

“I’m sure,” the minister growled, “there is a passage in the Bible that says all umpires are condemned to Hell.”

As she walked up to home plate, Ida winked at Alex who sat in front of Gaspar.

The minister’s lips moved as he called on heavenly assistance.

The choir stamped their feet harder, shaking the metal bleachers.

Suddenly, Gaspar saw a fleet of vans swarm towards the field.  He gulped.  Here it comes.  The vans skidded to a stop and Federal agents dressed in blue windbreakers jumped out and ran towards the field.  One agent held up a gold badge and shouted, “Freeze!  Everyone stay where you are.”

The minister glared at the agents.  As they crossed the baselines, he yelled, “Begone, thou devil’s spawn!  How dare you interrupt God’s judgment on our state of grace?  Get off the field until the game is over.”

Gaspar’s mouth dropped open.  He saw a specter flitting around the pitcher’s mound.

“Shut your mouth or you’re in trouble,” the head agent said.

“Don’t you tell me to shut my mouth.”  The minister hurled the softball at the agent.  “I am the vessel of God’s divine words.”  The ball slammed into the agent’s chest, staggering him for a moment.

“You son of a bitch!”  The agent charged the mound and tackled the minister.

“Hey!  Both teams are in blue and white,” another agent said.  “Which one are we after?”

“Follow the leader,” a third agent said.  “Move out.”

The infielders hoisted their cassocks and ran to the aid of their minister.  They dived on the two men rolling around on the ground.  Three more agents reached the melee and jumped in.

The choir stormed from the bleachers.  They had the wrath of god in their hearts and dark frowns on their faces.  They formed into three ranks, eight across, linked arms and advanced towards a group of agents corralling the team members on the bench.  They sang Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus as they advanced like a Saxon shield wall.  The women reached the agents, disengaged their arms and used the sharp corners of their hard-covered hymnals to jab the agents in the chest or crotch.  The agents fell back.

On the sidelines, a journalist jabbered into a recorder while her cameraman filmed the action.

One agent, braver than his mates, took a running leap into the chorus and dragged two women to the ground.  Other agents poured through the gap in the shield wall and, working in teams of two or three, handcuffed individuals.  Gradually, the tide of battle turned and the choir’s singing grew ragged as it changed from Handel to cursing.


Want to read more? You’ll have to get a copy of Tunnel Vision.

There are twenty humorous fantasy and scifi stories in the collection.

Tunnel Vision Widget

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Check out this neat widget. It was put together for me by Book Candy Studios.   BCS also made the trailers in the widget.

Lucy in Love Trailer

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Lucy in Love is one of the stories in my Tunnel Vision collection.   Check out the trailer for this short story.  The story is even better than the trailer.

Tunnel Vision Table of Contents Part 2

Friday, September 11th, 2009

TV-cover-smallListed below are the first ten stories in this collection and a short synopsis of each.  The collection is now available in e-book and print editions. If you want to watch trailers for three of the stories and read the reviews first go to my website.

Rogue Wizard:  Brodwin, a wizard,has trouble following the orders of his hated superior.

Tunnel Vision:  The maestro at a small college fights his nemesis, the Dean of Physics, to maintain the Musicology Department’s share of the budget.

Ballot Blues (and Reds):  A Knight-Accountant investigates possible voter fraud.

Maple Syrup Politics:  The President has started his re-election campaign, but Dan Weber, the Vice-President, isn’t sure he’ll be on the ticket in November.

Rainbow Bridge:   A modern day mortal inadvertently summons Loki and the trickster god moves in with the hapless mortal.

Zaftig the Magnificent: A sequel to The Impresario. Once again, the egomaniacal alien Zaftig returns to Earth to implement his nefarious plans.

Desperate Measures: The wizard Brodwin again. This time he is trying to defend a city and woo the female mayor.

Hell of a Salesman:  A salesman devises a plan to escape from sellers’ Hell.

Mead Cup: The knights of the Round Table are hard pressed to beat off a challenge by invading Saxons.

Saving the Shore: A mayor hires a wizard to protect his village from predatory business-trolls.

Saving the Shore Sampler

Friday, September 4th, 2009

This sampler is taken from one of the stories in the Tunnel Vision collection:

Synopsis:  Frido, a descendent of the Ringbearer and mayor of the Shore, needs a magical artifact to protect the Shore from deprivation by a yuk construction crew.  He plans to steal the artifact from an elderly dragon named Wygga with the help of his three companions.  Mamzer is a wizard, Dementia is an elf-maiden bard and Gimlet is a dwarf warrior.

Frido lurked in the shadows of a narrow tunnel and observed Wygga, a red and gold dragon.  Very little armor scale remained on her thin, gaunt body.  She slept on her treasure pile: several gold coins, trinkets, brass flagons gone green with age, broken plates and well-chewed bones.  A coal fire blazed in a hearth carved into the rock wall and a pile of coal lumps sat alongside the fireplace.  Coal smoke permeated the cave, tickling his nose.  Frido struggled to suppress a fatal sneeze.

On the wall opposite, four rings dangled from five pegs arranged in two rows.  The top row had three pegs with an empty middle one.  Frido was surprised the dragon didn’t hear his pounding heart.  Mamzer’s plan called for the other three to enter the main tunnel and distract Wygga so Frido could filch the rings.  The plan sounded good when he was outside the cave but now he had serious doubts about it, and the longer he waited, the more flawed the plan seemed.

“Whazzat?”  Wygga’s head came up, cocked to one side.

Frido heard distant, muffled voices.

“Thieves!”  Wygga stood up.  “I’ll teach them a lesson.”  She limped to the coal pile, grabbed a mouthful and swallowed.  “Ugh!”  Wygga shuddered as she slithered into the main tunnel.

As soon as her head disappeared, Frido slipped out of the tunnel and crossed to the ring wall.  He gathered himself into a crouch and sprang up.  He missed the lower rings by a good margin. Frantic, he glanced around the cave.

“I thought we were supposed to meet a dragon,” Frido heard Gimlet say.  “This one is just an overgrown lizard.”

Wygga roared.  Frido wondered if it was from indignation or indigestion.  Only the tip of her tail now remained visible.

“Hey!” Dementia said.  “You told us the dragon didn’t have any fire left.  So why is smoke coming out of her mouth?”

“Uh-oh,” Mamzer said.

Frido found a broken spear shaft.

Dementia sang:

“I don’t mind sticks and stones,

Or even broken bones,

But I don’t like toast,

And I won’t be a roast.”

“That ain’t funny, girl,” Gimlet said.

“Let me know how this turns out,” Dementia yelled.  “I’m leaving.”

“Flee!” Mamzer screamed.  “Flee for your lives.”

Frido retrieved the lower rings using the spear shaft.  His elation at his partial success deflated when he peeked at Wygga and saw her tail moving backward.  He jumped and the shaft touched an upper ring.  It rocked back and forth.

Frido jumped again and missed.

Wygga’s rump backed out of the tunnel.

“Where’d the lizard get to?” Gimlet yelled.  “There she is.  Here’s a rock for your treasure pile, frog-face.”

After an angry yelp, Wygga completely disappeared into the tunnel.

“Come now,” Mamzer said.  “A dragon this old can’t still be flammable.  Move forward you two.  I’ll be right behind you.”

“Hey!” Gimlet said.  “What’s she doin’ now?”

“Out of my way!” Dementia screeched.

“Flee!” Mamzer screamed.  “Flee for your lives.”

Frido tried again.  He knocked a ring off its peg and snatched it out of mid-air.  Wygga’s hind legs reappeared in the cave.  He took a gulp of smoky air and leaped.  He hit the ring harder than he wanted to and it soared off the peg.  Frido reached for it, but it was too far away and it landed with a metallic clank.

“Who’s there?” Wygga roared.  “Another thief?”

Frido, with three rings looped over his forearm, chased the fourth.  He snatched the rolling ring and ran towards the escape tunnel.  From the corner of his eye, he saw Wygga’s head turn in his direction.  He dove behind a boulder just as Wygga belched a ball of fire.  The flames passed over his head to blacken the wall behind him.  Frido scrambled to his feet and ran.  He reached the tunnel entrance a moment before another blast of flame engulfed it.

Tunnel Vision Review

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Thinking of a little summertime reading, or perhaps you just want an escape during the rush hour commute while trapped on the train – this collection of Hank Quense’s stories are for you. The tales read easily and will make you laugh out loud at times.

Although a fan of serious science fiction and fantasy, I’ve loved Quense’s humorous work for years. From drunken physics students causing their building to vanish to an odd Dwarf or the undead thrown in for good measure, the stories entertain without effort. Burga the Warrior-Cook? A Knight-Accountant? Can’t be too careful in pursuing a degree these days; might just need that second layer of expertise in these trying times. His satire is right on; Quense has a knack of having his, for the most part clueless characters say either just the wrong thing at the wrong moment, or the right thing to make the scene work perfectly.

Oh, and did I mention the hostile aliens?

Read on, Dear Reader and find out for yourself.

Tracy Byford

Interview with the Wyrd Sisters:

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I have with me today the three Wyrd Sisters, Agatha, Bertha and Carla.  After their walk-on role in Shakespeare’s MacBeth, the sisters have finally got some juicy roles. More specifically, they have now starred in The Long-lost Act IV of Macbeth (Published by Bards and Sages) and MacBeth: the Sequel (published by Chimaera Serials), one of the stories in the Tunnel Vision collection.  They are also negotiating a guest appearance role in The Drakin Chronicles, a new novel now being written.  So, on with the questions:

Hank: How was it working the Bard, Will Shakespeare?

Bertha: Never should have agreed to be in the play.

Agath: That right’s.  We got a royal hosing from Will.

Carla: We expected fame and we got ugly.

H: What happened?

C: Willy Bastard wrote us in as little more than walk-ons.

B: We expected a starring role.  Right behind MacBeth and his ninny of a wife.

A: Plus, he made us old, fat and ugly, not pretty like we wanted.

C: Aye. We never thought we’d be beldams

H: Is it that bad?  I mean lots of people know who you are.  Fame isn’t all that bad.

A: The bad part ’tis men won’t touch us with a ten-foot pole.

B: Aye.  All we ask is for few sturdy yeomen to harvest our maidenheads.  Does that happen?  No way.

C: It’s not like we plan to charge them.

A: a free hump is a free hump, ain’t it?  So what’s with these guys anyway?

H: This is a family blog, so let’s change the subject.

C: Burga gave out a recipe.  How about we talk about making our chicken soup?

H: Sounds good.

B: You start by filling a large caldron with water and set it over a roaring fire.  When it boils, throw in chicken.

A: A dead one makes a lot less fuss.

H: No eye of a newt?  No dried bat’s blood?

C: Naw.  We got a better way to flavor the soup.  See, we throw in our dirty robes and let everything boil for three, four hours.

B: Then you have to skim off the feathers, ’cause you don’t want to eat them.

A: They stick in your craw, they do.

B: Then you pull out the wash, all clean –

C: More or less.

B:– and the soup is ready to eat.

H: We have to cut this interview short because I have a queasy stomach.

C: Come back when you feel better.  We can have a good time.