Saturday, May 19, 2018

Then sometimes the unfortunate

I'm a pantser writer. I don't plot real heavily other than a slight roadmap that I need to go from this part of the story to the next. The side effect is sometimes painting yourself into a corner or writing a scene that truly you didn't see coming. I just wrote that scene and one of my favorite characters paid dearly for. I'm reading the chapter over and over again and the thought is, should I do this? What would George RR Martin do? Probably kill the character and move on. What would JRR Tolkien do? Make the death have a heavy significance. What would Hickman & Weis do? Depends on what was rolled. My character didn't have much defense and stood in the way, so another life would be spared. RIP, my friend. That damnable monster rolled two criticals.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Return

As the last candle in the Jack-O-Lantern stirs and gives up its fiery life, the last spirit feels the veil thicken and close off the warmth of the living, and the last demon laughs and goes home, I return.

It's been to long and with the dust I see on the old desk, it's been too neglected.

I walked away from fiction writing to pursue other ventures.  After I achieved those lofty goals, I still have whispers of stories wandering the dark.

I love to write.  I love being a writer.  It's time to come back home.

It's been a long round-trip journey, and I'm glad to have friends waiting on the street under the safety of the light post.

DA Bale, a fellow writer and one of the most ferocious editors I've worked with, has her red pen ready to bleed on my work.  In addition, we're starting a fairly regular podcast.  So, my disembodied friends, come with.  See if I can do this once again.

Our introductory podcast is posted: Coffee and Catastrophe: Writers on a Caffeine High Episode 1.
If you have questions, comments, or would like to suggest a future podcast topic, email us at

Friday, April 17, 2015

New release news

DA Bale,  my long time writing partner is releasing the third of her Deepest Darkness trilogy.

Samantha Bartlett has a new mission – and this time it’s one of her own choosing.  Armed with information worth killing for, Samantha pieces together secrets spanning generations and uncovers the key to Debrille’s plans, including the horror of his true identity.  But will it be enough for redemption?  Especially when facing the bridges she’s burned?

Life was once clearly black or white, but now Joe Roberts has a target on his back – and it’s sighted by his boss at the FBI.  It’s not just from running off with their primary suspect in President Warner’s murder and then allowing her to escape.  No.  He’s the Elite’s latest scapegoat.  That alone begs the question.  Is Sam a cold-blooded killer or a mere pawn used in a global chess game?

World War III looms on the horizon as the Middle East threatens to implode, world alliances are scrapped, and a once tenuous truce with a former enemy collapses – all under President Durksen’s watch.  Shadowed by the Elite’s constant and vigilant guard, Durksen must find a way out of the hole he dug for himself long ago.  But can he accomplish it in time, or will the United States die like so many nations before it?

Explosions light up the night.  Friend becomes foe.  Sister against sister.  Lives are lost.  Sacrifices made.  But in order to realize true freedom, evil must be defeated.

No matter the cost.

Rising From the Darkness is available for pre-order May 1st and will be released July 1st.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Critique Partner's Reissue

One of my critique buddies, D.A. Bale is reissuing her breakout novel "Running into the Darkness".

Samantha never intended to kill the President. As a doctor, she swore an oath to protect life – not take it. But that was before he ordered the murder of her family.

Swept from the frigid New York City winter, Dr. Samantha Bartlett returns to the Midwest to once again confront the sting of death – and face those she left behind. But she’s not alone. A strange man she dubs “Shades” haunts her every step as she seeks answers to the inferno which claimed her grandmother’s life, an eerie reminder of her parents’ deaths. The secrets Samantha uncovers forever shatter the image of those she only thought she knew. 

Confronted by Shades, Samantha joins a secret underworld known only as the Elite, where a web of power and control is woven deep within governments worldwide. Their sights are set on the seat of domination behind the Resolute desk that is the powerhouse of nations – the presidency of the United States of America. Samantha becomes the Elite’s unlikely key to infiltrating the White House at its most intimate levels. 

The Hippocratic Oath. All doctors swear by it. But the most despicable deeds must be avenged. The quest for blood swallows Samantha in a veil of darkness and threatens to destroy everything she once stood for. 

And from the darkness there is no escape. 

This is available now from Amazon for free:

Sometimes life emulates fiction.

Life is filled with tragedy and Ms. Bale's writing reflects this reality. However, there is always a silver lining...even if one must spend their entire life searching for it.

In her previous career, Ms. Bale traveled the United States as a Government Relations Liaison, working closely with Congressional offices and various government agencies. This experience afforded her a glimpse into the sometimes "not so pretty" reality of the political sphere. Much of this reality and various locations throughout her travels make it into her writing.

She dreams of the day she can return to visit Alaska.

Check this out and the sequel: 
Piercing the Darkness (Deepest Darkness Book Two) 

Both of these novels come with high praise from your favorite boogieman, me.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Big Black Dog

As the candles are placed in the Jack-O-Lanterns, the dead reach through the veil to visit. Find your way home . . .

I write this on All Hallows Eve eve in preparation of the big day tomorrow. As I heard in a show earlier, It's the one day where we can act as ourselves.  Witches prepare your brooms, goblins sharpen your claws, demons . . . show yourselves.  I give you, the Big Black Dog from Hell to Pay.

In his bedroom, the digital clock burned into Michael Bailey‘s sleep deprived mind as he counted down to the alarm. 3:48am, another night‘s sleep lost. Negative images flowed into the blackness as something moved in the dark room. He turned on the lamp. The light‘s strength made him wince, but reassured privacy.

He turned the lamp off and fell back into the pillow. His eyes ached from the light‘s intrusion and darkness exploded and encompassed the room. The taunting digital alarm clock returned.

As Bailey accepted his insomnia, he heard the noise again. A rustle of movement from the side of the room.

"Not now," Bailey pleaded to the empty walls.

When he reached for the lamp‘s safety again, he intercepted hot, damp fur. It started again. The beast pounced upon his chest and drove out a scream. The big black dog.

It paralyzed Bailey as putrid breath filled his nostrils with a stench of things best left for the grave.
Cold drops of saliva burned his face and the attacker howled with an unearthly pitch, like steel being dropped into a vat of liquid nitrogen.

Maybe tonight it will end.

The weight on his chest subsided, and Bailey dove for the lamp. Light filled the room, gently reflecting the sweat that covered his body. The attacker disappeared.

He choked back a sob and searched for a bottle. His hand hit the empty air where it used to stay, below it, the talisman marking three years sobriety. He picked up the token, slumped out of bed, and paced the threadbare carpet between his bedroom and living room, turning on every available light. Each lamp threatened fire due to the wattage of the bulb inside, but if light kept the thing at bay, so be it.

Out now in E-book (, coming soon in paperback.

Follow me, minions.  Rafflecopter giveaway will be announced tomorrow night.

Crossover to the McHughverse

 A couple Coffin Hops ago, I was introduced to the prolific Jessica McHughs, center nova of the ever expanding McHughniverse at  She’s written novels like Pins, Rabbits in the Garden, has a new adventure novella from Hazardous Press and an edgy YA series coming out next year.  I give you, Jessica McHugh.

Give me a memory about a storm?
My clearest memory of a storm was the Blizzard of 1996. It knocked us kids out of school for at least a week, which was amazing in itself. But the thing I remember most is how high the snow was, lining the driveway. There was too much to shovel the entire driveway, so we did as best we could to clear a walking path. The walls of snow towered beside me, so even in the daytime, I was often in darkness walking the path. Also, the snow was stacked only a few feet below our second floor awning, so I was able to jump into it from my bedroom window. It was one of the best winters of my life.

You have an edgy YA series coming out next year.  Tell me a little about it.  With Edgy YA, at what point do you have to pull yourself back? 
The Darla Decker Diaries begin with the titular character in sixth grade. She’s an outspoken, impatient, and argumentative girl, but she’s also really sensitive and sweet. The character just spoke to me, and in perfect Darla fashion, pretty much demanded that I write her story. The first book “Darla Decker Hates to Wait,” which deals with Darla’s impatience to go on a first date, is due out in May 2014 from Evolved Publishing. The next books “Darla Decker Takes the Cake” and “Darla Decker Shakes the State” will be out several months later.
As for pulling myself back, I’m still just figuring out. I wanted these books to be honest about what it was like to be a pre-teen/teenager, so I make sure to include the dirty stuff. Although sexual acts aren’t yet included in the books, they are mentioned—like kids do. I certainly censored some things, but for the most part, I think the personalities and relationships are realistic, even if certain aspects are negative. I have used my childhood diaries to build this world somewhat, but I’ve also modernized them as necessary. Many of the issues tackled in these books will not be ones I experienced in my childhood, which I’m looking forward to delving into.

Why a YA series?
Man, I don’t know. After the release of three “Dominhydor” books, I said I’d never do a series again. Or at least not for a long time. My only answer is basically what I said before: Darla demanded it. If a character is strong enough to break me like that, she deserves to be obeyed.

We are coming up on the launch of Nanowrimo.  Do you have any Nano rituals before the big day starts? 
This is only the second year I’ve done NaNoWriMo, so I don’t think I have any rituals—unless outlining like a madman counts as a ritual. I do make sure I’m stocked with dozens of pens, though.

What project do you have in mind and what advice do you have for struggling authors during Nanowrimo out there?
I’ll be writing a horror thriller (possibly erotic) called “The Train Derails in Boston.” It centers on the Malone family, though mostly the matriarch, Rebecca. After she discovers a mahjong set in the basement of the Malone’s new house, her life spins out of control with hallucinations, sexual deviances, and grisly murders. Is the game haunted? Or are Rebecca's problems part of a different game, started decades before she was born?Darla 
Honestly, the only advice I can give is to outline prior to November, and to get your ass in that chair. Whether you type or write by hand, you just need to sit down and do it. Make no excuses, use your time effectively, and get those words down.

Tell me a little about you writing platform.
I suppose my platform is Genre-Jumping, Beer-Swilling, Ink-Addicted Smiley Pie. Really, I just write whatever stories I want and speak honestly to my audience about those stories. I’m a goofball and pretty down-to-earth, but I’m also a professional when it comes to my work. I don’t try too hard to market myself. I feel like my honest and excerpts do that pretty well.

Think in ink:  I’ve noticed you have a few tattoos, and I have a feeling some are deeply symbolic. Share one of your tattoos stories?
I joke about it, but truthfully, I do wear book promotion on my sleeve. An illustration of the moon from my book “Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things” is tattooed on my left forearm. One, I wanted a tattoo to represent my writing (I already had one for Roald Dahl), and two, my husband drew it, so it’s doubly special. Plus, people often ask about it. It’s a great conversation starter, and it’s sold some books for me. Even Peter S. Beagle and Connor Cochran questioned me on it, then wrote down the “Danny Marble” title to look up later. I love all of my tattoos, but the Danny Marble tat is probably my favorite.

Tell me something about your local mythology?
The Snallygaster is a mythical dragon-like creature that inhabits Frederick County, MD, where I live.  It’s described as half-reptile, half-bird and apparently has a metallic beak lined with razor-sharp teeth. In some stories, it even has tentacles. Its nemesis is called the Dwayyo, which also lives in Maryland. That’s a hairy, more mammalian creature, I believe. I was unaware of these creatures until a few years ago, otherwise I think I would’ve written about them. I hope a McHugh Snallygaster story pops out soon, though!