MileHiCon Wrap-Up and Griffin’s Feather IS LIVE!

Griffin's Feather CoverI’ve been all over the social medias with the news, but I’ve not had time to sit down with this post until just a few minutes ago. I don’t know how many people follow me ONLY on my RSS feed, but just in case there are a few….

MileHiCon 2017 (the 49th one!) went great! I said smart things on my panels (so others told me). I asked smart questions on the panel I moderated (so my fellow panelists told me). I got to hang out with some old friends (some of whom I only see at MileHiCon). I made a few new friends. I bought a few books. I generally hung out with folks and had a really great time.

The highlight of the weekend, however, was not MileHiCon. The con could have easily been the highlight of the weekend, but it got overshadowed by the release of GRIFFIN’S FEATHER on Saturday! The original publication date was supposed to be Wednesday, November 1st. However, things fell into line. The book was ready, and the amazing team at WordFire Press whipping things together and got the book out over the weekend. I’m immensely grateful to the whole team. I’d thank them personally here, but there are gobs of people “behind the scenes” that I don’t know the names of, so I’d be leaving some folks out. I don’t want to make that error of omission. If you’re one of those great folks that helped me get my words out into the world: Thank you!

I can’t wait to see how the world reacts to my novel. It’s surreal. It’s exciting. It’s new. It’s…. well… mind-blowing. I’ve been trying to conceptualize the fact that I now have a published novel, and the mere idea of “published novel” with “J.T. Evans” on the cover still escapes me even though I know it’s a real thing.

You can find Griffin’s Feather at these fine locations, or order it from your favorite local bookstore.

Amazon Paperback

Amazon Ebook

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Kobo

Thanks to everyone that’s supported me over the past 11 years of effort that it took to get to this point. Here, I’m going to throw out a few names because they’re important enough to me to acknowledge:

Granny and Papa — I wish you could still be around to see this happen. Thank you for all you did for me throughout my life.

Kimberly — Without you standing by my side, I wouldn’t have the confidence to attempt this. Love you so very much.

My son — I know I “stole” some of our father/son time away from you to work on my novels. You’ll probably never know how much I love you for this.

Mom — You’ve shown me support and love throughout everything. I don’t think you’ve seen all of the struggles of the past 11 years, but you’ve highlighted the successes that I’ve had. Thank you for that. Love you.

Hank and Hollie Snider — For started CSFWG and welcoming me into the group with open arms. Relaunching my passion for the written word through the CSFWG led to this day.

Pikes Peak Writers — There are way too many people here to thank that are involved in this organization. Without PPW, I wouldn’t have been able to learn and improve as much as I did.

Linda Houser — You taught “The Tools in Your Writing Toolbox” (or something of that nature) at my very first PPW Write Brain. I learned so much in that night. It set me on the right path with the right mindset. It also showed me that others loved words as much as I do. (PS: I still have the clock hanging over my desk.)

Patrick Hester — You’ve been my rock for quite a few years. You’ve called my bullshit. You’ve told me when I nailed it. You’ve kept an eye on me and let me know when I’m “off base” mentally. Thank you for your friendship, and I promise to never type “the two women” again, unless absolutely necessary.

Craig Barnes — You took me and my family in during the Black Forest Fire. You’ve been one of the most solid friends I’ve ever had. You’re very much like a brother to me. Love you for that.

Front Range Fiction Writers — While this critique group is now defunct, it was a great three years. Thanks to all of the members over the three wonderful years that pointed out where I did great and where I didn’t.

Dave Butler — For picking up where others left off and giving me an amazing opportunity. Thank you for believing in my work as much as I do and giving it a shot.

Manny Frishberg — For taking my slew of words and pushing me to do better throughout our editorial process. You rock!

Jeff Herndon — For giving me a cover that I fall in love with every time I see it.

Kevin J. Anderson — For giving my book a shot. I hope it does WordFire Press proud.

… and there are certainly others I’m forgetting to thank. I apologize if I spaced out on you and/or your name while typing this up. There are so many people who have helped me over the years. Thank you all.

Griffin’s Feather Update

My debut novel, Griffin’s Feather, is now in production with WordFire Press. The cover art is done. The cover layout is in process. The interior layout is in process. These are all great things.

I know I’m sounding a bit analytical about it all, but that’s because it’s all so surreal to me. I’m trying to wrap my head around the concept that I’ll soon have a published novel that people can buy, read, review, love, hate, do cosplay as one of the characters (that just blew my mind as I typed it), lose sleep over, or simply enjoy and escape reality with.

You figure that if I’m writing stories about an immortal Roman Centurion who works as a bounty hunter for the gods of the ancient world in modern-day San Antonio, I’d be able to wrap my head around getting a book published. Well…. I can imagine all sorts of crazy things, but nailing down the reality that I’ll soon have my name on the cover of a book is…. I don’t know. No words. Strange for a writer, right?

Let me talk a bit about the cover. I’m sure you can see it here in the post. Isn’t it beautiful?!!? I love what Jeff Herndon did for my novel. This captures a scene somewhere around the 2/3 mark of the book. Yeah. Okay. That’s a bit spoilery. Sorry. I won’t give anything else away. I love what he did with the colors and splashes of light and capturing the raw power of the griffin. The fine details are what make it for me. Check out the wing tips on the pixie (click the image for a larger version). Yeah. Aren’t those wonderful? Thank you so much, Jeff, for bringing my words to life with your painting.

I’d also like to thank Manny Frishberg for editing the novel. We went through a couple of rounds of edits, and Manny was fantastic, supportive, encouraging, and pressing through out. When I say “pressing,” I mean he pressed me forward to greatness. He really challenged me in the right spots and congratulated me where I did well. There were a few times where he put in a comment along the lines of, “I can tell you got lazy here. You’re better than this. Rewrite with X as your target.” Yeah. He used the word “lazy,” but he also told me I was better than how that scene was written. He knew I could do better. Deep down, I knew I could do better. He pressed me forward with that nudge to do better and I did. Griffin’s Feather is orders of magnitude better now than it ever was before thanks to Manny giving me the guidance I needed.

A shout out goes to Dave Butler, WordFire’s acquisition editor, for taking on the project, speaking so highly of it to Kevin J. Anderson and others, and telling me that my original title (Freyja’s Daughter) was not quite up to snuff. We brainstormed a handful of titles and finally settled on Griffin’s Feather. This title has provided me with a pattern to the novels for the rest of the series (that’s right, I said, “Series!“). Book two is tentatively titled “Viper’s Bane.” Don’t get all excited for me yet. Book two isn’t under contract. We have to see how the sales for Griffin’s Feather goes. (This means you, my wonderful readers, need to spread word and boost the signal about the book if you love Marcus Barber and his adventures. The only way Viper’s Bane hits the shelves is if Griffin’s Feather does well.)

Lastly, thanks to WordFire Press for giving me the opportunity to get my words out into the world. I’m eternally grateful for this chance, and I hope the end result doesn’t disappoint everyone working in that fine organization. Even beyond having my mind shattered by getting a novel published, joining the esteemed ranks of authors WordFire has published is boggling. I hesitate to use “peer” or “equal” or anything like that when comparing myself to these luminaries, but I’m at least standing in the same room as them. This is an incredibly warming feeling.

How did all of this come about? Wow. Long story. A Inigo Montoya once said, “Let me explain. [pause] No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

In July of 2006 (yeah, 11 years ago), I found a flier for a local critique group. I immediately started attending and joined the membership of The Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group in November of 2006. I wrote tons of short stories to get the basics of storytelling, writing, and craft down. My intent all along was to write novels, but I didn’t want to screw up a novel (and I knew I would) since that takes a year (more or less) to execute upon.

Late in 2009, I started my first novel (now trunked, sorry) and finished it about a year later. I also wrote the second book in the trilogy, and started the third book. I never finished the third book because I realized it was more an exercise in futility since book one never sold.

Sometime in 2014 (see how much time had passed?!?!) and with a new critique group, I started telling Marcus’s story and all that it entails. Less than a year later, the novel was done, critiqued, edited, and ready to hit the streets. I started querying in the summer of 2015. Lots of the usual. Requests for partials. Requests for a few full manuscripts. All ending in rejections. While at WorldCon in Spokane, I was hanging out outside a bar waiting for others to show up. Peter Wacks (acquisition editor for WordFire at the time) and I were chatting. He asked what I was writing on. I told him about my querying travails with Griffin’s Feather and about the novel. He was very interested and wanted me to send it to you. That was August of 2015.

After some staff changes, shuffling of paperwork, lots of emails, and loads of being patient (more on that in a bit), Kevin J. Anderson approached me in the bar at WorldCon in Kansas City (sense a theme with bars and WorldCon?) with an offer to purchase my novel. It was all I could do to stop myself from grabbing the nearest woman, planting a kiss on her, and celebrating. Of course, that would have probably gotten me slapped and/or beaten up, kicked out the bar, kicked out of WorldCon, and smeared my public reputation for life. Me, being aware of all of this, thanked Kevin profusely and shook his hand with a goofy grin on my face.

So… WorldCon 2017 in Helsinki just wrapped up (I was not there, so no bar stories for this year), and my novel is coming out soon. Most likely in September from what I’ve been told.

I said I’d talk about patience a bit. Here it is. Get some. Get lots of it, to be honest. The publishing industry is slow. I’m not complaining about it. It’s just the nature of the beast. There’s a bit of “hurry up and wait” going on, but mostly it’s just “wait.” As you can see, my deal took a full year to develop and then another year for the deal to turn into a novel. That’s really not abnormal from what I’ve heard from others. Yeah, there are the lightning strikes that break the mold and someone gets published six months after the ink dries on their contract. These are the exceptions, not the rule.

So… What’s next?

We wait for the book to be launched. I do plan on having a few signings in the Colorado Springs, Monument, and Denver areas. I also hope to make a few more conventions as part of the booth that sells WordFire titles. Stay tuned here for announcements on that. I’ll probably be adding an “appearances” page to the site. Also keep an eye on my social media (look in the upper right corner of any of the pages here on my site for links). Lastly, I’m hoping to land on some podcasts that’ll have me on to chat and talk about the book and just have a good conversation.

BTW: If you haven’t clicked on the image yet to see the larger version… WHAT ARE YOU WAITNG FOR? Go click. NOW! It’s gorgeous!

 

RIP Strigidae Publishing

Strigidae Publishing Logo
Strigidae Publishing Logo

I announced my first novel-length publication contract back in April of this year. The contract was with Strigidae Publishing, and I’m sad to say that this is their last day of being in business.

Yeah.

They’re closing their doors.

It’s because of some health problems with one of the lead folks. I know the details. For his privacy, I won’t go into the details here. I will say that it’s the right decision. The folks over at Strigidae are good friends of mine, and I want the best for them and their health.

In a word about this turn of events: sadness.

I’m not angry or upset or vehemently outraged at losing out on a chance to get my novel published.

I’m, quite simply, sad. I think I’m more morose for Strigidae than I am about my publishing prospects. This is because I know the love of the written word that press holds (and will hold until their last breath… perhaps beyond). I know that stepping away from their publishing house was one of the hardest things they’ve had to do, and I wish them all the best.

For me and my novel?

Well, when I heard the news a week or three ago, I posted about it on Facebook. The outpouring of support, offers of assistance, and general friendship warmed my heart.

Beyond the general support and “being there with me” posts, the following has happened thus far:

  • A good friend of mine is an editor at a mid-sized press. He immediately reached out to me and asked to see the novel. Of course, I sent it his way as soon as the rights reversion letter hit my inbox.
  • Two friends of mine jumped to help and told me to query their agents (with a name drop) in case something opened up in that vein. I’ve sent the queries, and one of them has already resulted in a full manuscript request.
  • One friend offered to do a book cover for me if I decide to go the self-publishing route. I’ll definitely keep her in mind if I go that route. I’ve seen quite a bit of her layout and graphics work. It’s top notch!
  • Another friend sent me her list of services she provides for folks traveling the self-pub road. I checked things out, and it gave me a concrete list of things I have to consider if I self-pub… most of which I can do on my own or with minor help.
  • Lastly, yet another friend, dropped me a link to his small press and an invite to submit. I checked it out. I like their sample contract, and I’m keeping the offer in my back pocket for now. I’m going to see if the agent and/or editor thing works out from the above offers.

As you can tell, the writing community I’ve immersed myself in is packed (I mean, packed) full of people willing to jump in the deep end and help out a fellow author who might be flailing in the deep end. This is my tribe, and we stand strong together for each other no matter what happens.

The selfless offers of help and the loud and strong voices of support in these trying times are what keep me going. I’m sometimes blind to it and get down on myself for not having accomplished more in the 10+ years I’ve been serioiusly working at becoming an author.

If someone out there sees me with blinders on and focusing on the negative, slap me hard enough to knock the blinders off.

This experience has certainly done that.

To my friends at Strigidae Publishing. May your business merely be on a lengthy hiatus for now, but if it never rises from the ashes, I want it to be known that I deeply cherish everything you’ve done for me during the decade we’ve known each other.

Here’s to many more decades down the road!

Overdue WorldCon Report and Publishing Announcement

MidAmeriCon IISo…. WorldCon was over three weeks ago, and I’m just now getting around to this. Most things are a hazy memory at this point, so this’ll probably be the world’s shortest WorldCon wrap-up report.

The drive from Colorado to Kansas City was long and interesting. We got a little lost at one point (there is a Hays, KS, and a Hayes, KS. Make sure you know the difference!). Not a big deal. It only added 45-ish minutes to the overall drive. Then again, I was a passenger all the way there and back, so I didn’t worry too much about the drive time. (PS: A huge thanks to Patrick for driving all the way there and back!)

Once there, we got settled in and prepped for several days of con and BarCon and festivities and networking and panels and all sorts of great things.

I got to run into old friends, make some new friends, network with some folks (old and new), and just have a great time. The panels I went to were really good (except for one, more on that later). The Hugos were surprisingly pleasant to attend even though I really didn’t want to go. I’d been full up on my people quota and wanted some downtime. Shannon and MB talked me into coming down from my hotel room and heading off to the Hugos with them.

I had some great meals with great friends. I’d love to try to list everyone off here, but I know I’d forget someone possibly offend them. To avoid accidental offense, I’m just going to say it was great breaking bread with everyone around the various tables of the con.

BarCon was BarCon. It went as I expected (except for one thing, more on that later). Meet ‘n’ greets with new friends, old friends, and just friends in general. It was a great time being a social butterfly and floating around with a drink in my hand. So many faces and names flash by in my memories. Many of the names I remember. Some I don’t. After all, it’s been three weeks. I had a great time chatting with everyone I ran into. Again, no names to dodge that “offense bullet.” If you ran into me and chatted, just know that I had a great time for the either brief moments we were together or the longer times we had sitting down.

My main disappointment was that I didn’t get a chance to run into Neil Clarke or Kate Baker. They were high on my list of folks to track down and hang out with, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Ah well. Such is life at a large con.

A few things stood out in my memories:

Hanging out with Teri and Dave Robison on repeated occasions made for wonderful conversations and productive idea generation on all sides of the conversation. Also, the true compassion and depth of love Dave shows for everyone around him makes me proud to call him a true friend.

Mary Robinette Kowal broke my brain. Innocently on her part, but it still happened. Here’s what happened. I was talking with Alasdair Stuart (host of PseudoPod) and Marguerite Kenner (hostess of Cast of Wonders) and was tracking the very cool conversation well despite being used to hearing both voices come out of my car stereo. Then Mary Robinette started speaking to someone behind me, and I didn’t know she was there. It shutdown my brain. Hard. The cognitive dissonance of three podcast voices (Mary Robinette is part of the Writing Excuses team) in my brain and only two being part of my active conversation just broke me. I recovered quickly enough, but man… What a mental feat that was!

The drive home was fast. Then again, I was snoozing on and off for part (most?) of it, so that helps. 🙂

Ok. Now that I’ve given over all thoughts and some specifics, there are two things I earmarked as “more on that later.”

There was a panel (forget the topic now) I’d been looking forward to. The moderator arrived right as the panel was supposed to start. She proceeded to allow the panelists to introduce themselves (which is normal and expected), and then she took the panel in a sideways direction away from the description of the topic and refused to allow the other panelists to speak. It wasn’t a diatribe or screed or soap-box speech. She decided she was the subject matter expert on the off-base topic, and just went with it. She also… talked… really… really… slow… and… had… to… stop… every… three… or… four… words… to… catch… her… breath. After about 8 minutes of this, I got up and left. I couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t know if the actual panelists had a chance to speak or not. If you are moderating a session at a con, it should be an absolute requirement for you to go read this post by Chuck Wendig and scroll down to #5 on the list!

WordFire Press Contract HeaderNow for the Big News of WorldCon (for me, at least). At the Friday night BarCon, Kevin J. Anderson approached me about a book that I’d submitted to his publishing house (WordFire Press) shortly after last year’s WorldCon. He gave me a verbal offer of publication for one of my novels on the spot. Wow! I was hoping something like that would happen, but I rarely set myself up to expect something like that will happen. This made my WorldCon even more special than it already was. I loved hearing the words from KJA, “We’d like to publish your book.” I’m not sure who was smiling more, me or him. What made the deal even sweeter was the fact that Dave Butler (the WordFire Press acquisitions editor) made a huge deal about it all weekend. As a matter of fact, the entire WordPress team made me feel at home, welcome, and special throughout the con. It really made me feel like I’d finally gotten to the next level with my writing. Here’s to a long and happy relationship between WordFire Press and myself! *clinks glasses*

Novel Publication Contract for Warmaiden

strigidae_contract_header_photoWow. Where to start?

Not from the beginning. That takes too long.

This weekend was the 24th Pikes Peak Writers Conference. It went fantastic! I met loads of cool people. I made oodles of new friends. I attended quite a few excellent workshops. I met with editors, agents, authors, friends (new and old), and hung out with my tribe. It really and truly can’t get much better than that. I can’t wait to see what Laura, MB, Patrick, and Charise have in store for the 25th year!

While at the conference, a good friend of mine, Kevin Ikenberry talked to me about a contract I’d turned down in the past. Strigidae Publishing had approached me last year (also at Pikes Peak Writers Conference) about publishing Warmaiden. I’m going to be brutally honest here: I wasn’t a fan of the contract. The financial terms were great, but there were various clauses in there that made me feel a uneasy about the deal. This happens sometimes. I know Hank and Hollie very well, and we’re really good friends. However, this was a contract. This was business.

I let them know what my concerns were, and turned them down. Again, this was all very professional and extremely friendly. There were no hard feelings on either side.

Jump from last year to this year, and I was talking with Kevin about it. He told me that they’d made adjustments to their contract based off of my feedback and input from others. The clause that gave me the biggest issues had been heavily revised. Based off of what Kevin told me and my friendship with Hank & Hollie, I agreed to take another gander at the contract.

Sure enough, everything that led to me to turn them down a year ago had been resolved, except for one thing. I pointed out that one thing, and Hank looked closer. He admitted he’d intended to fix the one thing and had missed it. He said he’d fix up that one missing clause, and shoot me a revised contract the next day.

He was good to his word and sent over the contract around noon on Sunday. I was still eyeball deep (or deeper) in helping around PPWC. I noted the email arrival later that evening and promptly let Hank know that I’d received it. However, I needed more sleep in my system before I could fully read and evaluate the contract.

The next day, once I was home and (mostly) rested, I printed up the contract and read through it. It made sense. It was clear in its intent in every area. The various pieces I’d pointed out as bothersome had been resolved and cleaned up.

Let me be clear….

I didn’t negotiate changes with them. As a friend, I did the respectful thing in letting them know why I turned down the original contract. I was very clear in what gave me concerns.

They, in turn, respected my opinions and feedback and did the non-ego thing to consider my input. Based on what I told them and what others told them, they did the intelligent thing for their business, their authors, and themselves in revising their contract. I applaud and honor them for taking these steps. Many wouldn’t have done so.

The changes in the contract led to me signing it on Monday evening and giving Hank and Hollie a phone call. We’re going to meet on Saturday to discuss specifics on scheduling and editorial work and cover art (yes, I get input), and such like that.

It’s going to be quite a while before Warmaiden sees the light of day, though. I’m 4-5 books in the queue behind being the next book Hollie works on. If everything goes wonderfully well, we’re probably looking at sometime near the end of this year… maybe the beginning of 2017. I’m perfectly happy with that. I’m wonderfully happy if it takes a little longer than that!

I’ve been floating between disbelief that this is finally happening and crying-like-a-baby elation in this wonderful turn of events. It’s so incredibly wonderful and amazing that my physical, outward enthusiasm has been tempered a wee bit. I’m just afraid it’s not real. I’m afraid that it’s too real and will take me over while I’m here at the Day Job where I have to focus on information security.

In the end, I’m happy with what happened. I was disappointed that I had to turn down my first novel publication contract. However, the results in the end will lead me to being happier with the end result.

Now I guess I have to dust off the second book in the trilogy, Warmistress, and give it a good polish for down the road. Perhaps I have to actually consider finishing up the third book, Warmother, as well.

What Have I Done?

patreon_mediumI’ve had a Patreon account for a while. I’ve been backing a handful of worthy folks and efforts for several months. It’s been very rewarding to know that I’m supporting my fellow artists in chasing the dream.

As many of you know, I’ve been hard at work on writing a short story a week for 2016. Some of these stories are weird enough to be hard to place. For those highly marketable (whatever that means these days) stories, I’m going to have more than I know what to do with. I’ll be flooding publishers with so many stories, it’ll take me years to place them all.

I’ve decided to release some of the stories into the wild via Patreon. In this case, you pay me what you think a short story is worth to you, and when I publish a story, I get paid. If I happened to not write (*gasp!*) or not edit/polish a story for a particular month, then I don’t get paid.

No, I don’t plan on getting rich off of this effort. It’s more of a “test of validation” to see if I can build an audience wanting to see my work, and if I can keep that audience suitably entertained to keep them around as patrons.

If you’re curious about what I’ve written before (to get a taste or sample before you plunk down your hard-earned cash), you can see my Freebies Page or maybe go buy one of the books I’ve been published in.

Obligatory 2014 Recap

new-years-day-2015Wow. What a year. Ups. Downs. Even some sideways curves thrown in. I’m not going to go through every, gritty little detail and bore you to death. Here are some highlights of the year for me!

  • The year started out with a bang as the government decided it wanted back taxes on my grandfather’s estate. I damn near blew a gasket as my dad had promised this wouldn’t happen again. The stress of this all damn near drove me to stroke-level blood pressure for a couple of months. In the end, we had to sell my grandparent’s house (the house I spent ages 12-19 living in) to pay the taxes and get some cash out of the deal.
  • While this ordeal was going on, I received the good news that Phobias: A Collection of True Stories had been released with one of my stories in it. It’s a non-fiction piece, but it’s a gripping tale of how my arm was mostly amputated in a car wreck, and what’s gone on with me (physically, mentally, and emotionally) since that dark night in 1988.
  • Then came April with the annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Yet another great conference was had by all, and I was extremely grateful to be able to meet and hang out with old friends and new friends alike. The highlights of my 2014 PPWC were meeting Chuck Wendig, Jim C. Hines, and Michelle Johnson. Michelle asked for my full manuscript while at conference, but ended up passing on it later in the year. More on that later.
  • The rest of the year passed as I cranked out short stories, submitted them to a variety of markets, and let the rejection slips pile up in my inbox. Such is the life of a writer. You keep at it. Write more. Become better. Submit stuff. Accept rejection. Rejoice in acceptance.
  • July found me at a new Day Job. I’m still doing software engineering duties, but simply for a different employer now.
  • August rolled around and another anthology I’m in was officially released. The road was long and arduous for this particular anthology, but it got pulled off and I’m quite happy to have a story in Carnival of the Damned.
  • September found me in Paris for ten days (including travel time) for work. It was nice to go back again (I went as part of a tour group when I was a teen), but able to go alone, do what I wanted, when I wanted, and all that good stuff. However, I did get sick right before the weekend. Horribly sick. I bounced back quick enough, though. I was still able to see some of the sights I wanted to visit, but not nearly as many. That’s ok. I guess I’ll save up some things to see for next time I make it there.
  • Then in October a few things hit nearly at the same time.
  • Early in the month a flash fiction piece I’d written called “Broken Violence” was featured on HorrorAddicts.net.
  • Then later in the month, MileHiCon rolled around. This is a near-local (just up in Denver) convention that’s very well-priced (less than 50 bucks) and is always a hoot to attend. Again, I got to meet up with old friends and make some new ones while I was at it. The convention was all-around great (again) even if the fire alarms went off a few times on Saturday night and forced us to move the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show to another room.
  • When November rolled around, I received a very nice and thoughtful rejection letter from Michelle regarding Warmaiden. At this point, I’d been shopping the book around for an agent/editor for over five years. I decided it was time to move on from Laurin’s stories and write something fresh and new. The struggle to publish my first novel (and its sequels) was just becoming too much of a burden, and I needed to step away. It all, I trunked around 320,000 words from the trilogy. I still have them around, but they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
  • December rolled around, and I was writing more short stories, and decided to take a break from them to crank on a novel. I took two “short” (they’re short-to-novelette length tales) stories about the same character, merged them, added more material, amped up the grit and blood, and created (what I think is) a pretty decent urban fantasy tale. It’s a bit on the short side (about 44,000 words), so I’m going to run it past the critique group and get their input on places to improve/expand the story.
  • If you look to the right sidebar of my site, you’ll see that I came up one story short on my goal, and 10 submissions short of that particular goal. I’m okay with that. I now have one more publication from those submissions (Broken Violence), and eleven more stories to shop around once they get some polish on them.

I gotta say…. Except for the shitty start to the year, I’ve had a pretty good one so far.

Here’s to hoping 2014 was nice to you, and may 2015 bring you as much success as you can fit in your hot little hands!

PS: Resolution for 2015 will be posted tomorrow. I’m still mulling around a few ideas, and I’m not sure which one to jump on just yet.

Carnival of the Damned is Released

Carnival of the Damned
Carnival of the Damned

I can feel the utter fright creeping into your veins as I type this. An anthology full of creepy clowns, strange carnivals, dark circuses, and sideshow freaks has hit the virtual shelves of Amazon.

That’s right, folks. Carnival of the Damned is out! I have a brief description of the my story on my short stories page.

I’d love to chat more about how great this book is, but I can’t just yet. I’ve only seen my story. I can tell you that I’m itching with anticipation to get my hands on the book. I share a table of contents with some great names, and I know I’ll be blown away by their horrific imaginings.

Coming Soon: Carnival of the Damned

Carnival of the Damned
Carnival of the Damned

My story called “Children of the Carnival” is due to come out soon in the Carnival of the Damned anthology from Evil Jester Press edited by Henry Snider. I don’t have the full table of contents handy, but I do know that I’ll be sharing it with two great friends: R. Michael Burns and Amity Green.

The general theme of the anthology is that of horrific things happening at carnivals, circuses, boardwalks, sideshows, and similar locales. If you’re creeped out by clowns, you’ll enjoy this anthology! If you’re downright horrified by those pasty-faced bastards, I suggest buying the book anyway as a flavor of aversion therapy.

My story is about a team of Hunters making their way through an abandoned traveling circus in an effort to save a little girl from the C.L.O.W.N.S.. The C.L.O.W.N.S. are people suffering from Cognitive Loss from Overnight Withering of Neurological Synapses, which is transmitted by cheap-ass makeup made in China. You’ll just have to read the story to find out how bestial humans can get when their higher thought processes are stripped away. It’s more than you think. Trust me.

When the book hits the shelves (virtual or otherwise), I’ll update you here and add it to my Short Story Publications page.

One-Thousand, Eight Degrees

phobiasI’ve told the story of the night my arm was nearly amputated in a car wreck on a horrific autumn night in 1988 many times. I was encouraged by a few people to write the story down for others to learn from. About the same time I received this encouragement, there was an open call for Phobias: A Collection of True Stories. As fate declared that I must travel through a vast majority of my life with emotional, physical, and mental scars from that night, fate seemed to want me to share my story with others.

Well… that story is finally out in print. If you’re interested in what happened to me on that night, what it’s done to my body, mind, and soul, and how I’ve been dealing with it for the past 25+ years, you can check out the anthology. My story is entitled One-Thousand, Eighty Degrees, and can be found under my name. There are other stories about phobias and how the authors deal with them. It’s not a self-help guide by any means, but if you have a serious phobia, reading about how others came to theirs and what they do with them might help you get through the day with a little more security or solace.

I hope you check out the book!