Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quotes of the Week

 Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely essential.
—Jessamyn West

But with writers, there's nothing wrong with melancholy. It's an important color in writing.
—Paul McCartney

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
—James Michener

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
—Stephen King

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
—Leonard Cohen

No true artist will tolerate for one minute the world as it is.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

Don't say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.
—Mark Twain

A character is defined by the kinds of challenges he cannot walk away from.
—Arthur Miller

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Don't Sweat It

I just got back from a glorious two week camping trip where I spent my time in a hammock.

  • I read books made out of dead trees.
  • I filled 36 pages in my notebook with details to be included in my next novel.
  • I took naps. Morning and afternoon.
  • I ate a lot of bacon and grilled meats.
  • I drank a lot of coffee.
  • I brainstormed plot point with friends.
  • I laughed a lot.
  • I enjoyed campfires every night.
  • I even lost 3.6 pounds.

What I didn't do was write a blog post for today's tip. So here is the tip: Don't sweat stuff. As long as blogging is still fun I will continue to do it. The same with writing novels. I will keep doing it as long as I am enjoying it.

--Readers can tell if you enjoyed writing it... 

Monday, August 14, 2017

RIP: Duncan Long

Duncan Long
While I was on vacation I found out that Duncan Long had passed away. Duncan was an artist that provided the cover art for some of my novels, Including my first novel, Still Falling. Most recently he created the image of Elizabeth Cruze that is in the cover of Virtues of the Vicious.

When it was released I send him an email to let him know so he could add it to his portfolio. I received no reply. While on vacation I was working on my next novel and sent him another email and also checked his Facebook page. That's when I found out.

This is the last post I remember seeing:

"It is odd how we all know good health is not guaranteed in life, and bad health eventually will come our way -- and then are surprised or even angry when health issues appear. Sometimes not only hope but also stupidity spring eternal in the human condition."

It's odd. The Facebook memorial pages. Fresh on the death of my brother. I know too many people that have passed away and they are still on my friends list...

Duncan's obit is here. He was only 67.

Thanks for the support and encouragement you gave to a new Indie Author. You will be missed.


Saturday, August 12, 2017


What can I say? This video inspired a kick ass character in my next Scifi novel. That dress, the way she moves...  Thanks, Ellie.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Brhi Stokes

Brhi Stokes

Tell me about yourself, Brhi.

I'm an author who was born in Australia but would much rather be from some other dimension. I've been writing since was able to and tormenting my friends with PCs and NPCs in tabletop games (DnD, Pathfinder, World of Darkness, etc) over the last decade-or-so. Much like a cat, I like to sleep during the day and tear around the house or go on adventures at night but have found that this doesn't really operate well with having a job.

In my spare time, when I'm not writing, I'm reading, playing tabletop games, video games, going for solitary jogs or listening to music. Despite living in the desolate, deadly-animal-filled wasteland of Australia, I would say my general day-to-day is fairly mundane and contains much less spider dodging than my international friends seem to think.

Tell me about your current Book:

When he awakens from a car accident, a university dropout turned hitchhiker must discover where he is and how he got there, or else fall prey to the horrors that stalk the place.

Darkness closed in on him like a pack of hounds. Buildings passed, warehouses, factories; shadows of silent windows disturbed every so often by dim light, taunting him.

A city of the bizarre and the unfamiliar, inhabited by monstrous beasts and people with unnatural gifts. A city of tall glass spires mingling with old gothic architecture, where wild animals roam alongside the populace.

This is where Ripley Mason awakens after the car accident. University dropout, casual drinker, and newly fledged hitchhiker, Ripley is tired of the daily grind of study, drink, repeat. Only halfway done with a degree he never chose, Ripley heads north to see if life won't throw him something less monotonous.

Early into his journey, Ripley suffers a brutal car accident and awakens in a rundown hospital. Nervous, he ventures into dark, unfamiliar streets and comes face to face with horrific beasts. Thrown into a world of supernatural fantasy, Ripley fights to discover where he is, how he came to be here and, most importantly, if he can even get home.

Ripley was still staring at the wallet in his hands. The clinic Ð as he had found out the place was Ð had graciously returned it to him. The problem was, it wasn't his. There was no identification, no cards, nothing. Just some strange currency he didn't recogniseÉ

All he knows of this place is a single word: C A L I G A T I O N

What are you working on now?

I'm dabbling with a few ideas. One is a sort if spiritual successor to Caligation, the other is a YA fantasy I accidentally'd 30,000 words through late last year before putting it on hold to finalize Caligation.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

At home, I think. I feel most comfortable in my little bubble of safety.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

That you need to either spend time or money on something to perfect it. You can pay someone to do things like edit, cover design, etc. Or you can take the time to do them yourself and still get somewhere halfway decent.

What is your favorite Website?

Well the BBC website is my homepage, despite how incredibly boring that makes me sound. I just like the accents, I swear.



Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Writers should be read—but neither seen nor heard.
—Daphne Du Maurier

You learn by writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
—Larry Niven

I made mistakes in drama. I thought drama was when actors cried. But drama is when the audience cries.
—Frank Capra

No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.
—Virginia Wool

Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about.
—Natalie Goldberg

Dreaming in public is an important part of our job description.
—William Gibson

I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly
—Edgar Rice Burroughs

Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer.
—Kurt Vonnegut

Quotes of the Week

Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.
—Billy Wilder

I sweat blood to make my style simple and stripped bare.
—Margaret Mitchell

The writer is by nature a dreamer - a conscious dreamer.
—Carson McCullers

Never use a long word where a short one will do.
—George Orwell

I have rewritten, often several times, every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.
—Vladimir Nabokov

A writer is a world trapped in a person.
—Victor Hugo

The third act must build in tempo and action until the last event, and then—that’s it. Don’t hang around.
—Billy Wilder

You own everything that happened to you. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
—Anne Lamott

Write for yourself and yourself alone. Don’t try to please anyone else, and don’t be afraid of anyone.
—Sallie Tisdale

Those who never make mistakes lose a great many chances to learn something.
—Mary Pickford

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Music

This is a very subjective tip.

I really enjoy listening to music when I write.

In fact, if I know I am going to be writing an emotional scene I will find a piece of music that conveys that emotion.

Here is a secret.

My very first novel had the working title of FALLING. I was advised by an author I know that I should go to Amazon and search for that title in BOOKS. There were hundreds of books that already had the title FALLING and most were trashy romances.

Then one day I heard the song Into Dust by Mazzy Star. The first words of the song were STILL FALLING...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Reading: The Final Day

Last week I read The Final Day by William R. Forstchen.

The is the third book in the John Matherson series. Thread One Second After and One Year After and enjoyed them both.

Here is the description from Amazon:

Since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States more than two years ago, the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina has suffered famine, civil war, and countless deaths. Now, after defeating a new, tyrannical federal government, John Matherson and his community intend to restore their world to what it was before the EMP apocalypse. For the most part, they are succeeding.

This period of relative stability doesn’t last long. A new, aggressive government announces that it’s taking over and ceding large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer in effect, and what’s left of the U.S. Army has been deployed to suppress rebellion in the remaining states. John fears he and his town will be targets.

General Bob Scales, John’s old commanding officer and closest friend from prewar days, is sent to bring John into line. Will John and his people accept the new, autocratic regime? Or will revolution rip the fledgling nation apart at the seams?

Months before publication, William R. Forstchen’s novel One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read. This third book in the series immerses readers once more in the story of our nation’s struggle to rebuild itself after an electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electricity and plunges the country into darkness, starvation, and death.

--Great series. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

President Trump's 10 Rules

Like him or not this is a pile of good advice for a writer:


Friday, August 4, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: D. Fischer

D. Fischer

Tell me about yourself, D.

Well . . . I’m a mom of two little boys and a wife to a supportive husband. We live in Iowa and the most you see here is corn...rows and rows of it.

Growing up as the middle child with eight other siblings, I’ve become extremely adept at negotiations, which turns out to be pretty damn useful when you have toddlers - they have this obsession with colors, you see, and I have yet to figure out why. I once sat and waited for a thirty minute tantrum to subside . . . all over the color of towel I gave my son after a bath. I’m convinced this is when the grey hairs started sprouting out of my head like daisies.

My passion is writing, but I have many hobbies (learning new things is sort of my thing) - I pretend I can garden, but I mainly water the weeds / I’m an adventure seeker and dutifully check things off my bucket list every chance I get / I love to take pictures, but am by no means professional / I run, because I like to cook and bake (someone has to eat all that food, ya know) / I have this weird obsession with people watching. Yes, this is totally a hobby. It’s such an obsession that I spent four months teaching myself about Micro-expression. I can go on and on about this topic, but your eyes will glaze over. I love to see how people tick and watch as their face gives away everything they are thinking, even if their mouth says the opposite. My husband hates it - he can’t lie about who ate the last of my mint cookies.

My biggest pet peeve is smacking your food. I can’t function properly if your mouth is making all that noise.

Tell me about your current Book:

I just finished a short story prequel to my first book in The Cloven Pack Series. It will actually be relaunched in August, along with my first book in the series, in addition to publishing a second book in the series.

Caught in the Crossfire is a short story of the of the Pack’s past. At this time, they’re under the care of a sadistic Alpha. The book takes you through the twists and turns as the Pack tries to find a way to overthrow him. Will they find a way to rid themselves of this burden, or will a life have to be sacrificed to save another? You’ll have to read to find out. I’m not giving it all away.

I have yet to announce the new covers, so you all are the FIRST to see it:

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on the third book in the series, Above This Grave. I’m about halfway done with it. It’s quite dark and twisty, which is a new one for me. I’m loving it, but it’s taking awhile to finish - this is the last book in the series and is longer than the rest. This series will branch out into another series, so I’ve had to start planning that one as well.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I sit outside and type away in a lawn chair. There seems to always be a T.V. on inside the house, which is fine, but I have such a short attention span and my husband ALWAYS finds a Marvel movie. I’m a Marvel movie junky. So, I sit outside with the birds, rabid squirrels, and the persistent mosquitoes. I don’t know where the hell I’m going to write in the winter.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

There isn’t a favorite. I swear to you, every damn day I learn something new. It’s so complex and I’ve noticed that technology has passed me by. Many, many times I’ve fantasized about throwing my laptop out the window, lighting it on fire, and dancing arounds the flames. The Author world isn’t rainbows and sunshine all day, every day, folks. It takes more work after a book is written, than it is to actually write it.

What is your favorite Website?

If you check my browsing history, it’s going to be google. I google everything. Random thoughts, writing research, odd questions. Did you know that flamingos are pink because of what they eat?
My history is full of odd google searches. I research so many topics, that sometimes, I feel the need to email the FBI and tell them I’m not a murderer or terrorist. Once, I spent a whole day researching about torture techniques (not the funnest thing to research - people are so inventive now-a-days). My books may be Paranormal Romance, but by no means are they ‘fluffy’.



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Quotes of the Week

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen King

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
― Stephen King

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
― Stephen King

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
― Stephen King

“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
― Stephen King

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
― Stephen King

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”
― Stephen King

“In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it 'got boring,' the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”
― Stephen King

“If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”
― Stephen King

“Just remember that Dumbo didn't need the feather; the magic was in him. ”
― Stephen King

“Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”
― Stephen King

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Go on Vacation

Last week my tip was you must read if you want to be a good writer.

This week my tip is you must live if you want to be a good writer.

Go on vacation, dammit. Do something new!

  • Take a hot air balloon of helicopter ride.
  • Rent a machine gun and have some lessons at the shooting range.
  • Swim naked.
  • Walk in the forest.
  • Visit a place so different it's like an alien world.
  • Travel to other countries.
  • Eat the local food.
  • Drive a really fast car.
  • Eat pie at mom and pop diners in towns off the highway.
  • Take photos and remember.
  • Visit long unseen friends and ask them if they believe in ghosts.
  • Walk in the rain.
  • Explore ruins.
  • See how the other half lives.
  • Don't be an asshole while you're at it.
  • Don't panic.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Reading: Salvage in Space

This week I read Salvage in Space by Jack Williamson.

Here is the description from Amazon:

His "planet" was the smallest in the solar system, and the loneliest, Thad Allen was thinking, as he straightened wearily in the huge, bulging, inflated fabric of his Osprey space armor. Walking awkwardly in the magnetic boots that held him to the black mass of meteoric iron, he mounted a projection and stood motionless, staring moodily away through the vision panels of his bulky helmet into the dark mystery of the void.

--This was a short story I listened to on Audible!

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Christy King

Christy King

Tell me about yourself?

I'm a slightly maladjusted rescuer of kittens, shining light in disasters, maker-upper of words, who believes pets are children and still doesn't understand how airplanes stay in the air or why huge boats can float. Maybe it's because I made a C in Physics. Never mind, because now I create and demolish entire worlds... Oh, wait -- yeah, I still need the Physics for that. Oh, well! Luckily there are magicians called "editors" and they are usually not judgmental.

Do I always forget to take sunscreen with me when I go out in the sun for the day? Yes. Do I look at a dog and wish he was a cat? Yes. Am I frightened of Christmas elves? Maybe. Am I a crazy cat lady? No. Really, I'm not, don't look at me like that. I only have three, and no, they don’t have their own Facebook page. What are you doing? Don’t look it up on Facebook. Hey!

Tell me about your current Book:

When lines of morality blur, a justice dealer must right all wrongs, or else those around her will either suffer or exact their own revenge.

Cameron James is a justice dealer whose targets know her as Avenging Angel. Unhappy with the decision of the court system? Dirty Deeds will balance the scales of justice, for the right price. However, Cameron soon learns that her illegal business dealings are the least of her concerns. With a best friend hiding secrets and her mentor declaring war on her, Cameron must navigate the worlds of Witness Protection and the human slave market. A single misstep plunges her into a supernatural miasma with eternal implications.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I am working on a series about demon hunters. Teenage Madison’s humdrum life is turned on its head when a strange man asks her even stranger questions, disappearing without explanations and leaving her with the ability to see other people’s souls, or lack thereof. Enticed into joining a group of supernatural demon hunters, she tries to stay alive long enough to complete her mission of thwarting the demons’ evil plans. The battle lines aren’t as clear as they should be, and betrayal lurks around every corner. Her newfound life of excitement may be the death of her.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

Are we talking reality or fiction? Because if wishes were fishes I'd never go hungry. Reality: On the couch at my house with a laptop. Fiction: A treehouse with a view of the Smokey Mountains and a lake.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Have fun with it, no pressure. Do it for yourself, not anyone else, and certainly not for that weird guy down the street. Be a real person, don't set out to sell books. People will buy your books if you don't try to spam them -- just be an approachable person who doesn't talk about books all the time. How many times do you think I can say the word "book" in this same question? I could use "tome" instead -- nah, too pretentious.

What is your favorite Website?

At this time in my life, I am obsessed with because I'm about to sell my house and buy another one in a new city. I have always loved looking at houses for sale, even when I wasn't planning on moving. Trouble is, I find a house I love but since I'm not really ready to buy until my house sells, I get sad when someone else buys it. It's pretty much what happens as a writer, you get really excited about releasing a book and then check every hour to see if anyone has bought it the first week, then get sad when it isn't an instant bestseller.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Quotes of the Week

Write like it matters, and it will.
- Libba Bray

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
~Anaïs Nin

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.
~Ray Bradbury

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
~E.L. Doctorow

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
~Elmore Leonard

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekhov

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Read

This weeks tip is short and sweet. If you want to be a good writer, you should read a lot.

Read the kind of books you want to write. Every now and the read something different. Reading inspires me. It relaxes me. It's fun.

There is no way I will be able to read all the books I want before I die. Dammit.

Read. But not so much you forget to live...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Reading: One Year After

Last week I read One Year After by William Forstchen.

This is the sequel to One Second After.

Here is the description from Amazon:

The story begins one year after One Second After ends, two years since nuclear weapons were detonated above the United States and brought America to its knees. After months of suffering starvation, war, and countless deaths, the survivors of Black Mountain, North Carolina, are beginning to recover technology and supplies they had once taken for granted, like electricity, radio communications, and medications. When a “federal administrator” arrives in a nearby city, they dare to hope that a new national government is finally emerging.

That hope quickly diminishes when town administrator John Matherson learns that most of the young men and women in the community are to be drafted into the “Army of National Recovery” and sent to trouble spots hundreds of miles away. He and the people of Black Mountain protest vehemently. But “the New Regime” is already tyrannizing one nearby community.

Will Matherson’s friends and neighbors be next?

--Great stuff. I really enjoy these books.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Lou Antonelli

Lou Antonelli

Tell me about yourself, Lou.

I’m the last of the pulp writers in science fiction and fantasy. I write fast, furious and completely by the seat of my pants.

I like to think of myself as a talented amateur, meaning this isn’t my full-time job. I’ve worked as a journalist all my life, and I would never leave it. It’s unusual that both my job and my hobby both involve typing – which I do with only two fingers. It’s tough on the hands.

Since I write for my personal enjoyment, I’m very self-indulgent as to subjects, which probably hurts my sales. On the other hand, I don’t care about the money and I’ve had some of my best stories published by non-paying venues. But with sales to outfits such as Asimov’s and Daily Science Fiction, I have my professional credentials, also.

Tell me about your current Book:

“Another Girl, Another Planet” is a retro-futurist alternate history. It’s set in 1985, but a 1985 very different from the one we knew. Both Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov did not become full-time s-f writers; Heinlein was able to return to the Navy and shortly after World War II turned the Arms Race into a Space Race instead. Asimov instead developed genuine robotics.

As a result, we have extensive colonies on the Moon and Mars, and they’re lousy with robots and androids.
It’s in that setting we find ourselves in the thick of a murder mystery.

When everyone else panics a hero must keep calm and solve the problem or else mitigate it as much as possible.

Larry Niven blurbed “Another Girl, Another Planet”, said he loved it, “Brilliant ideas well told.”

What are you working on now?

Promoting “Another Girl, Another Planet” and writing the occasional short story while working on ideas for a sequel.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I use a desktop computer, so at my desk.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Writing is like politics – most of the time you lose, most people lose most of the time, the goal is seldom worth the effort, but occasionally you get something right, and then it’s practically magic.

What is your favorite Website?

Superversive SF - Science Fiction for a more Civilized Age



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Quotes of the Week

I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent, deliberate silence.
—Louise Glück

If you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.
—Natalie Goldberg

Write as often as possible, not with the idea at once of getting into print, but as if you were learning an instrument.
—J. B. Priestley

A lot of people talk about writing. The secret is to write, not talk.
—Jackie Collins

Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.
—Marlon Brando

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
—Friedrich Nietzsche

Writers lose themselves in the dark on purpose, and follow the light of strangeness and surprise.
—Andre Dubus

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.
—J.K. Rowling

Say what you mean. Say what you see. Make a photograph, if you can, for the reader.
—Stephen King

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.
—Richard Bach

You can make anything by writing.
—C.S. Lewis

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the inner music that words make.
—Truman Capote

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Audio Editions

All of my novels are also available in Audio Editions via Amazon, Audible and iTunes. When I was a new author the entire industry seemed daunting. There were so many details. Everything was so expensive.

When STILL FALLING was published I quickly started receiving requests for the release date of the Audio Edition on Audible. I took time and researched how books were created on Audible. Fellow authors pointed me to

ACX is like a dating web site. You create a profile, you add your book, the cover, a description, some simple metadata and an audition chapter. I like to pick a chapter that has mixed, multi-character, dialog and emotional content. After it's listed on AXC, producers and narrators will begin sending you auditions.

Here are some random tips:
  • Don't decide too quickly. Make sure you get multiple auditions that you can compare side by side.
  • Listen to them carefully as you are reading the text.
  • There are a couple types of contracts you can choose from:
    • Pay them Per Finished Hour (PFH). This model allows you to pay the producer between $50 to $1000 PFH. This means if your book is 10 hours long and you are paying $100 PFH the project will cost $1000 total. You will receive all the royalties in this contract type.
    • You can also make a royalty share agreement. This type of deal does not cost the author any cash up front. The producer pays for the narrator, studio time and post production editing. In exchange, they get half the royalties for seven years (in my contracts). 
  • If you select the a Royalty Share agreement a good producer also has a vested interest in the Audio Edition. They will market the title through their channels. The Narrator may also have fans that will bring people to the title.
  • When first starting out a lower out of pocket startup cost is very attractive.
  • Create a document that contains character descriptions, name and place pronunciations. Maybe even record these. It's easy on your phone.
  • Another option is that you can record the audio yourself. It's a lot of work but some authors are also great narrators.
    • It takes about six hour for each finished hour of audio.
    • Have professional gear and a silent studio to record. Sounds of traffic, dogs barking, and screaming kids, or you AC unit, are not great for listeners. 
  • You will have final approval for each chapter. Listen to them carefully.
--I highly recommend Audio Edition. They are fun and another great revenue stream!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Read: Red Sister

Last week I read Red Sister by Mark Lawrence.

Here is the description from Amazon:

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy, young girls are raised to be killers. In some few children the old bloods show, gifting rare talents that can be honed to deadly or mystic effect. But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls.

A bloodstained child of nine falsely accused of murder, guilty of worse, Nona is stolen from the shadow of the noose. It takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist, but under Abbess Glass’s care there is much more to learn than the arts of death. Among her class Nona finds a new family—and new enemies. 

Despite the security and isolation of the convent, Nona’s secret and violent past finds her out, drawing with it the tangled politics of a crumbling empire. Her arrival sparks old feuds to life, igniting vicious struggles within the church and even drawing the eye of the emperor himself.

Beneath a dying sun, Nona Grey must master her inner demons, then loose them on those who stand in her way.

--Really interesting world building Scifi Fantasy.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Stephen Kozeniewski

Stephen Kozeniewski

Tell me about yourself, Stephen.

I'm a joker.  I'm a smoker.  I'm a midnight toker.  I play my music in the sun.  I'm a picker.  I'm a grinner.  I'm a lover and I'm a sinner.  I sure don't want to hurt no one.

Tell me about your current Book:

THE HEMATOPHAGES is a rip-roaring space adventure with two scoops of unfathomable horror.  It starts out on a satirical white collar spaceship that will hopefully remind you of wherever you work, that is, until they first cross paths with a band of mummy-like space pirates.  But the danger from piracy is only the tip of the iceberg as our heroes set out to salvage a derelict ship infested with a creeping, crawling menace that threatens the whole galaxy.

When a derelict spacecraft is discovered, a doctoral student must uncover the secret to the wreck, or else evil space lampreys will devour the human race.

If "Office Space" and "Alien" had a baby, that baby would wish it was a tenth as damn good as THE HEMATOPHAGES.

What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on three things.  First is final edits on a sequel to THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO.  The second is a haunted house or ghost story I haven't quite nailed down the specifics on, but I'm doing research.  Third is something that should be fairly interesting, a sort of take on "Dexter" or "The Sopranos" which examines the inner life of a secret policeman.

Where is your favorite place to be when you write?

I do enjoy being outside on the porch if the weather's nice.  That is a good place to write right there.

What is your favorite lesson you have learned about the business of writing?

Take care of people.  Writing may be a solitary act, but publishing is wholly social.

What is your favorite Website?

I'm casually addicted to  It keeps me up-to-date on basically all pop culture, if only at a shallow level.  And then if you drill down I love that they do in-depth analyses on individual television shows and so forth.  And it's all with the signature snark of "The Onion" so it's not like I'm just ingesting boring data.



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Quotes of the Week

The glory of a good tale is that it is limitless and fluid; a good tale belongs to each reader in its own particular way.
—Stephen King

If your book doesn't keep you up nights writing it, it won't keep anyone up nights reading it.
—James A. Michener

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.
—George RR Martin

The profession of book writing makes horse racing look like a solid, stable business.
—John Steinbeck

Write hard and clear about what hurts.
—Ernest Hemingway

Everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter...a book, a phrase learned.
—Anaïs Nin

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often hopelessly, into another's skin, another's voice, anothers soul.
—JC Oats

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.
—Mark Twain

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tuesday Tips: Just do it

If you read this blog you already know my brother died this week.

I always tell people to write every day, even if you don't feel like it. To say I don't feel like it today is a massive understatement.

I hope to begin getting back into my regular routine today. I have already dropped a family member off at the airport today, at 3:30am. Groan... I pick up my brothers ashes today. I get his death certificates and finish the closure of a life. I will probably nap. I will cook dinner.

I will also write for two hours.

The pain that remains from the process of escorting my brother to oblivion will likely loom large into today's chapter.

It has made it easy to know who will be in the dedication of my next novel.

--Lessons in life are said to make me a better writer. I'd rather be a crappy writer and have my brother back...

Monday, July 10, 2017

RIP: Carl Wilsey

Tony Adams took this at Woodstock Fire Tower
My Brother died yesterday.

He took his final breath while I held his hand.

His final whispered words to me were, "I love you too."

We knew it was coming. I sat up with him for two all-nighters in a row, watching cheesy action films, Godzilla and the Antique Road Show. Mini strokes had taken the left side of his body, but his channel surfing finger was fit until the end.

Carl moved to Virginia about six years ago after he almost died from another health crisis. I flew to Pensacola Florida to get him and Roadtrip back in his car, packed with all his stuff. Carl wasn’t a guy that had a lot of stuff. He traveled light.

He said many times that all he needed was, “somewhere to sleep that will keep the rain off.” He lived for many years on boats. He made living in an RV seem like a waste of too much space. He had built a 300 square foot tiny house before they were cool.

For the last six years, he lived near me, here in Manassas Virginia with my sister’s family. Amy has one of those big, wonderful, houses, always full of children and grandchildren and friends and family and chaos. It more than just kept the rain off.

On Carl's Boat in the 80's

He had a few other small requirements for life: A comfy chair, coffee, “good tuneage,” wheels, movies, and a nice place to sit outside.  

Every week he spent a couple nights at my house. We have a couple guest rooms, but he loved sleeping on the sofa in front of a big HDTV watching chick flicks or Pawn Stars after we had all gone to bed. We had watched over a thousand movies together in those years. Most of them were crap, we knew it, but it wasn’t about the movies. It was about being there.

He liked to cook for us once a week. He’d spend the day shopping, then usually roasting meat in my smoker. Some meals were complete disasters, worthy of sitcom comedy. Some were the best meals of my life. Some were tragic within the last year as his alcoholism got the better of him. But we were together.

Camping at Elizabeth Furnace in 2015

I will miss our camping trips. I will miss sitting outside on lovely days, playing music and telling stories of how the music reminded us of past loves or adventures. I will miss driving out to the airport to talk while we watched the planes and choppers come and go. I will miss what Carl liked to call, “exploring.” We’d wander to placed that were off the beaten path, like the Woodstock fire tower, abandoned factories, cemeteries, creeks, or under bridges to check out the graffiti. Bonus points if the place was restricted in some way. But mostly I will miss our talks. He was there for the publication of every one of my books. He was always encouraging, and interested. Even though he never read a single one of them. Until they were released as audio editions that is. He’s made it easy to decide who the next novel will be dedicated to. I will miss the coffee stops with him. He wasn’t a Starbucks coffee guy, more like McDonald's, Waffle House or better yet a mom and pop diner in the middle of nowhere. I will miss his dreams of winning the lotto and buying a big boat and sailing it from the Chesapeake to Pensacola. He never bought a ticket as far as I know. But he owned that dream.

My coffee went cold as I wrote this. It seems fitting. Carl was the self-proclaimed, “King of Cold Coffee.” Hail to the King.

He didn't want a big funeral service. What he wanted was a quick cremation and his ashes placed in a Folgers coffee can like in the movie The Big Lebowski. We will scatter his ashes in one of his favorite places in all the world. The last roadtrip.

I still have not written his Obit. It will be impossible to boil his life down into a few column inches. So it will be just the facts. Sigh.

--I love you, bro. It has been a pleasure, a privilege and an honor to have you in my life.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Fast Friday Interviews: Michael W. Layne

Michael W. Layne.

Tell me about yourself, Michael.

Here's the untold truth of who I am. I was born an Army brat in what was then West Germany, in a small town in the middle of the country. My first word was Ònein which is german for Òno which ended up setting the tone for the rest of my life. As an only child who moved around a lot, even at a very young age I had to entertain myself a lot, which included a lot of reading and being inventive with whatever I had on hand. From an early age, I was writing down bits of stories and creating drawings that went along with them and doing any number of creative things like illustrating my own story about how the Devil was the one who got a raw deal from God. My teacher gave me an ÒAÓ and suggested I read Dante's Inferno when I had the chance.

As I got a little older, my parents moved to VA and settled in Newport News, and that is where I first met my Uncle Pete. He used to bring over a brown paper bag filled with Thor comics and over-sized magazines like Eerie, Vampirella, and Creepy. He gave me my first Conan, John Carter of Mars, and Tarzan novels. Wow! The stories about dark sorcerers, loincloth-wearing heroes, and scantily clad warrior women combined with the amazing Frazetta and Boris covers that adorned many of the novels, left me hooked on speculative fiction forever.

Then I got older and discovered women and friends, and I took a break from fiction writing. Instead I thought I wanted to be a news reporter. That changed, of course, once I realized how intrusive reporters were with people who were upset or going through times of strife. Once I arrived at college, I began dabbling in writing again, and eventually ended up finishing a novel in my early 30s by using a whiteboard and actual index cards to outline my book.

That was a success for me in the sense that I realized I could indeed complete an entire novel. But it wasn't until technology caught up with the way my brain functions (or dis-functions) that I hit my stride. By April of 2013, I decided to write and publish novels seriously, so I took the one book I'd already completed, gave it a fresh edit, did my own cover, which is thankfully NOT the one currently in use, and I published ÒThe Conservation of MagicÓ on Amazon and Smashwords. Since then, I've written every day, seven days a week, except for about a dozen or so days when I was away on vacation.

And here I sit with my rescue mutt, Rocky, by my side, living in the house that divorce built, adding to my file of ideas daily, and working on my latest novel, ÒA Song of DeathÓ (cheery, right?). By day, I write and communicate for a not-for-profit systems engineering corporation, and by night, I write my novels, usually giving up around 2am, when my brain starts splicing in pieces of my real-life day with the fictional sentences I'm trying to craft.

To date, I've published eleven offerings, all of which are available (at least) through Amazon KDP, with six of those being full-length novels and the others being of novella or short-story length. I also have 37 fleshed-out or outlined novels and series waiting patiently in line for me to type them into existence. I keep telling them that I'll get to each of their stories in turn, but they're beginning to suspect I may be lying. I'm working hard every day to prove them wrong.

Tell me about your current book. 

When a dying rock star is tricked by a demon and imprisoned in the suburbs of Ashburn, he must figure out a way to destroy his demonic captor or else be doomed to live forever in suburban hell.

When dying rockstar David Steele makes a deal with a demon named Ahriman to cheat death, he's the one who ends up getting screwed, because, well that's what demons do. David wakes up in the DC suburbs of Ashburn, VA, healed and healthy, but no longer in his own body. Instead, he finds himself in the body of John Starling, a nerdy but badass demon enforcer who keeps order among Ashburn's supernatural community of forgotten gods, minor demons, and fallen angels, all of whom have been tricked by Ahriman and sentenced to an eternity in Ashburn for some unknown sinister reason.

David can't figure out how to leave the cursed suburban community, so he decides to write some new songs while trying to settle into his new life. But that's easier said than done with a succubus for a girlfriend, a hell-hound for a pet, and a host of darkly humorous characters, like Oizys, the minor demon who feeds off of human suffering and who's found her eternal calling as the president of the local Home Owners Association.

David still gives it a shot, but before he can strike a single chord, he's faced with a series of murdered humans and a rumor that one of the supernaturals under his charge is planning an escape. David has to stop the murders and make sure no one escapes, and even though he would much rather leave Ashburn than do his new job, he knows he has to figure out how to destroy Ahriman first or be doomed to live as a suburbanite forever.

What are you working on now? 

I'm currently working on the first book in a new (sub)urban fantasy series about a dying rockstar who gets trapped in the Ashburn suburbs and has to figure out how to escape while also keeping order among the local supernatural community. I love this series already, because it allows me to lampoon the Ôburbs while telling some interesting tales laced with equal parts fantasy, horror, and humor. I expect this first book to be out by the end of summer.

What is your favorite place to be when you write?

I write all of my books while sitting on my couch with my laptop on my lap.

What is your favorite lesson learned about the business of writing?

I've learned a lot over the last several years, but the most important thing I've learned is that no amount of marketing or superior writing style can replace a good story that people can't wait to read. I've known writers who were huge successes, not because they were particularly good writers, but because they were excellent story tellers and they were publishing tales that people really wanted to read.

What are your favorite websites at the moment? I use it to pretend I will one day find a relationship that works, which is pretty much in keeping with why I write fantasy in the first place, I suppose.


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