So you can read my books

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Tech Radar had an interesting article:

Rumors of course. But interesting ones that come from the same sources Reuters uses.

1.) In time for Christmas buying.

(Me, I don't think about Christmas until AFTER I survived Hurricane Season!)

2.) A larger 8.9 inch screen: (The version Amazon wanted to put out last year but was unable to.)

3.) The Kindle 2 will be made of Fae dreams and powered by unfounded hopes.

(Just checking if you were paying attention!)

4.) The Kindle Fire 2 processor is a quad-core Tegra.

The codenamed 'Hollywood' Kindle Fire 2 and will be based on the Nvidia Tegra 3 which will bring a screaming quad-core processor with a 500% performance increase.

5.) The Kindle Fire 2 (Hollywood) will be more expensive.

There's no way you're getting it for $200.

Amazon may be losing money on every Kindle Fire,

but there's losing money and then there's losing enormous amounts of money. Tegra will help with speed and hurt the wallet.

6.) The Kindle Fire 2 operating system is Android.

Expect integration with the Amazon app store and services

rather than Android market and Google books.

7.) Kindle ICE?

It is rumored that in October 2011, someone began buying unusual domain names most of which had kindle ice included in them.

Amazon now has ownership of all of them. Would they have gone to the trouble of buying up those domains if they were not planning on using the name ICE? Rumors. Got to love them.

Talking about the holidays:


"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.

It is the source of all true art and science."
~ Albert Einstein

Science is beginning to believe its grasp of the universe may be flawed.

You think?

The universe appears to be clumpier than astronomers expected, according to the largest galaxy survey ever conducted

 ~ a finding that might lead to a new understanding of gravity.

“Maybe on very large scales, Einstein’s general relativity is slightly wrong,”

says cosmologist Shaun Thomas of University College London.

 “This potentially could be one of the first signs that something peculiar is going on.”

But don't let this deter you.  No, you, too, can become ...


(for $15 ... but a small price for cosmic awareness)

My co-worker Nicholas Savant let me know of this rare opportunity ...

though Conan O'Brien let millions know before the prophet, Nicholas (who is a proud ordained minister thanks to the Universal Life Church.)

Go here for Conan's own struggle to become a minister:

The impressive 3rd trailer for ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Ever have one of those lives?

The very month my book, END OF DAYS, went online, guess what?  AT&T exiled me from the internet for a whole month due to their construction outside of my apartment complex!


 is going through something similar!  Her book, FOUR IN THE MORNING, is out, and she was exiled from the world unable to promote it!  Even so it has garnered 7 rave reviews and 14 "likes".

Even better: it is only 99 cents!  You could make her day by skipping a coke tomorrow and buying her ebook!  How cool is that?

Support another struggling soul in the cyber darkness.  Be a hero.  Be a candle in the darkness of someone's dream.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I hereby declare this:


And not just send good vibes their way ...

DO something nice for them.

Wendy Tyler Ryan:

has a new book out: FIRE'S CHILDREN

Oh, you don't read fantasy?  Your point? 

We all labor for what seems an eternity in writing, polishing, and finally ... finally publishing our books.

Wouldn't you like a friend out there in the cyberverse to pat you on the back in support? 

It is not karma.  It is merely lighting a candle in the dark of someone's dreams.

Listen to Wendy:

"To celebrate the Book II release, I am offering the e-Book of Book I - Fire's Daughter, for the ridiculously low price of $0.99 for a limited time only."

Skip a coke this week and spend the dollar on Wendy's book. Support a fellow blogger.

(And save a few calories to boot!)  A win/win proposition.

Yes, I am off to give a copy to a friend.  (But I am still going to drink that coke!)

{I already have FIRE'S DAUGHTER -- I bought FIRE'S CHILDREN ($4.99) since I could do with one Whopper less this week!  LOL!}

*This just in:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., the publisher of authors from Mark Twain to J.R.R. Tolkien, sought bankruptcy protection to eliminate more than $3 billion in debt.

The filing comes as traditional print-book publishing faces growing competition from e-books.

Sales of adult paperbacks and hardcover books fell 18 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the Association of American Publishers. Borders Group Inc., the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, filed for bankruptcy in February 2011.

What do you think this means for the future of publishing and our chances of becoming a self-supporting authors?


We call them hero now.

But once they were called ... Daddy. Son. My love.

They were the guys next door, just living normal lives.  Perhaps they wanted a better life, a better education, or a chance to be seen as an equal.

They enlisted. They found themselves in situations they never dreamed would happen to them. They stood their ground ... or they charged towards the sound of the battle. 

The Age of Heroes is not over.  Like the demigods of Greek myth, heroes live among us, living ordinary lives ... until they find no one to step in the breach ... but themselves.

Bow your head in respect.  Heroes have fallen.  But their spirit lives on.

{Image courtesy of CBS NEWS}

WE FORGET THE HEROES_Memorial Day Thoughts

We forget the heroes. Evil, however, clings to our memories like scars on a beautiful woman's face ... or heart.

On one of Marlene Dietrich's last pictures before WWII broke out,

a lowly assistant director was sent home with a high fever, along with harsh words for ever having shown up. He awakened late in the evening to find a woman on her hands and knees scrubbing his kitchen floor.

It was the star of the picture he was working on : Marlene Dietrich.

She had heard he lived alone and had brought over some hot chicken soup. Finding his kitchen floor could stand a washing, she was doing the job herself.

For three solid years during WWII, Marlene entertained our troops on the front lines, despite a death sentence on her head. She was with the troops in winter frosts and under broiling sun.

She bathed out of a helmet like an infantryman, slept on the ground, and refused to be evacuated when artillary pounded the ground around her. She was willing to do anything to amuse the troops : playing musical saw and wearing a jeweled sheath over long G.I. underwear to parade to the sound of enemy fire in the distance.

3 years. And she didn't make one movie all that time and cared not a bit. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom. Hitler would have given her a bullet ... after long hours of torture.

Marlene came back from her three years on the front lines of WWII very much changed. She never got over the horrors she saw there. She slept for months in jeeps, on floors, even on bare dirt.

One afternoon after VE Day, she was walking through a little French village. All around her was rubble, and she couldn't understand why -- all the buildings along the street were still standing with curtains blowing frilly and snapping clean-crisp in their windows.

Then, she looked through one of the windows to see that there was nothing behind it. The fronts of the buildings were still standing, but everything behind them had been destroyed. There wasn't a single living person past the false fronts of those caricature buildings.

With her face cupped in trembling hands, she stood in front of that window, weeping silently, refusing to be comforted ...

"... for there is no comfort for the dead," she whispered.
Ernest Hemingway also wrote this of her : "She is brave, beautiful, loyal, kind, and generous. She is never boring and is as lovely looking in the morning in a G.I. shirt, pants, and combat boots as she is at night or on the movie screen.

She has an honesty and a comic and tragic sense of life that can never let her be truly happy unless she loves. When she loves, she can joke about it -- but it is gallows humor.

TODAY is the LAST DAY to get THE RIVAL for FREE by buying END OF DAYS:

Ernest Hemingway wrote of her : "If she had nothing more than her voice, she could break your heart with it. But she has that beautiful body and the timeless loveliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it."


Friday, May 25, 2012


What is free?  THE RIVAL is free ... that's what!
{Do you miss THE WALKING DEAD? 

The 1st 60 pages detail the adventures of a 7 year old Victor Standish, Becca, and Trish in a zombie-infested Detroit!

The rest of the action occurs in 1834 New Orleans:

voodoo, Marie Laveau, the insane Delphine LaLaurie, the mysterious Meilori (yes, you get to see her finally), young Edgar Allan Poe, and

 Sergeant McCord,

Alice Wentworth meets her mother young. Victor survives the Menage a Trois of Death

only to fight a duel with President Andrew Jackson under The Oaks

-- Jackson on horseback with his saber -- Victor riding Chiron, the centaur, weilding a katana!}




FOR $1.99 AND GET THE RIVAL (usually $2.99)


Just email me the Amazon confirmation of your purchase of END OF DAYS, and I will send you THE RIVAL for FREE!


* Erin Kane Spock

liked the cover to THE RIVAL.  So I am showing her what that cover to BEST OF ENEMIES 

 that was so "scandelous" that I changed both the cover and title to stem the flow of hate email:

In END OF DAYS, a rag-tag group of misfit, supernatural teens and adults dare certain death to save our planet for those unable to fight for themselves, much less for the world.  Here is why ...
"Sometimes to fight for the Light, you must do it in the Dark. "
- Victor Standish.


The cure for discouragement.

No. Sorry to disappoint you. I don't have it. Discouragement. That I have. In abundance.

I shouldn't. I walked into becoming a published author with my eyes wide open.

And even if I didn't, I had a crash course in it every time someone asked what I was writing.

"A writer? Oh, wow. That's neat. Where can I buy your books?"

The look in their eyes when I tell them I only have ebooks out says it all. Dreamer. Wanna be. No talent.

I bet you had the same exchange with friends and relatives. What did Mark Twain write? "Everyone is a crackpot until he succeeds."

Let's face it. When you set out to be published, you've guaranteed yourself a lot of pain.

But is that any different from an Olympic hopeful, a want-to-be NBA player? Success is promised no one. Failure if we do not try is certain. And a gnawing, forever doubt will haunt us all our days if we turn our backs on our dreams.

We are creative. It is who we are. We have to write. Period. The end.

We are not defined by our failures. We are defined by what we have learned from them. Janet Reid, the literary agent, has a great blog :

Periodically she posts tallies of her replies to incoming queries. On the last day of last year, she posted an array of statistics that hopeful authors could torture themselves with :

She started keeping notes sometime this summer. Between that date and today, she requested 124 full novels.

Here's what happened:

Just plain not good enough: 21 (a novel needs to be in the 99th percentile-these were closer to 90%--not bad, but not good enough)

Good premise, but the rest of the novel didn't hold up: 11

Not compelling or vivid, or focused; no plot/tension: 10

Slow start or the pace was too slow: 9

I didn't believe the narrative voice: 5

Structural problems with the novel: 8

Interesting premise, but not a fresh or new take on familiar plots/tropes: 7

Had caricatures rather than characters: 2
Boring: 3
Grossed me out: 2
Major plot problems: 2

Needed more polish and editorial input than I wanted to do: 2

Good books but I couldn't figure out where to sell them: 7

Got offer elsewhere; I withdrew from scrum: 2

Great writing, just not right for me: 2

Not right for me, refer to other agents: 9

Not quite there/send me the next one: 1

Sent back for revisions with editorial suggestions and I expect to see them again in 2013: 9

Getting second read at FPLM: 1

Got offer from me: 2

(the rest fall into the miscellaneous category of problems too specific to list here)
How do you fight discouragement? With truth. And what is the truth we can find in Janet Reid's statistics?

It's not you. It's not that you are not cut out for this writing business. It's not your inability to get it.

It's just a problem to be solved. You have a head. You have intelligence. You have perseverance {or you wouldn't have stuck with me this long.} Your query or your novel simply has a writing problem to be fixed.

Look at Janet's list above and study your novel, holding her reasons for rejections next to your manuscript. Every carpenter needs a level. Use Janet's list as your level. You'll spot something in your creation that needs a bit of fixing.

Roll up your sleeves and start fixing. The cure for discouragement is getting back up and fixing that flat on your manuscript vehicle. It won't fix itself. But you have creativity and a dream. You can do this.

Difficulties are there to spark creativity not defeat.

You want the formula for success?

It's quite simple really. Double your rate of failure. Hold on. Stay with me here.

You're thinking of failure as the enemy of success. It is its tutor.

You can be defeated by failure or learn from it. Go ahead. Make mistakes.

Make lots of them. Each one is a lesson learned. And success? It's waiting for you at the graduation ceremony.

I had a friend with useless legs and a near useless left arm. He went about in a motorized wheelchair. And I cringed going out with him. Not because of his handicap -

- but because of his optimism.

He would literally ask any girl we met out. Waitress. Nurse. Pretty blonde in the same elevator. Any girl. It drove me crazy.

"Steve!," I finally moaned, after the flustered waitress left our table, having been asked out by a total stranger in a wheelchair. "Why do you ask out every girl we meet?"

"Roland, it's statistics."


He looked at me with sad wonder at my inability to understand what was so obvious to him.

"Statistics. I've counted. You have to ask out 10 girls before one agrees. Well, look at me.

The odds go up to one in a hundred. So I mow through those hundred just as fast as I can. Oh, look! Here she comes back. I know she'll say yes."

And you know what? She did. She liked his spirit and sense of humor. And guess what else? He went out more times than I did.

Learn from Steve. Learn from Janet's statistics. Attack reality with intelligence, courage, drive, and humor. You will grow into a better writer, into a better human being.

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best."
Duke Ellington

And as the Lakota elders would say, "Learn from the eagle."

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Denise and Donna are doing another ROMANTIC FRIDAY CHALLENGE:

It is about wavering in coming to a decision and the consequences.  My entry is from END OF DAYS.

Alice Wentworth and the spectral Victor Standish are the only "survivors"

in a violent quest to save the planet from an extra-dimensional invasion by beings much older than Earth.

Now, with all of Earth's champions dead, the way is clear for the fae High Queen, Oyggia, to lead her forces to conquer the mortal plane.

Victor shook his head.  “We saved your realm.  And unless you want to show your elite killers by your lack of gratitude how little you think of your realm, you owe us a debt.  And you will pay up, bitch!”

Her words were a throbbing husk, “I do not owe you your lives, whelp!”

He made a face.  “Ah, actually you do.”

He held up a restraining hand at her outraged face.  “But we won’t act like you’re sane or anything like that and open to simple reason.”

Oyggia rasped, “For what are you asking, Standish?”

Victor snorted, “Oh, I’m not asking you for anything.  But a last dance with Alice would be a nice touch to the end of the tales told of this night, don’t you think, Sinend?”

Sinend turned to her liege.  “What harm could granting them a last dance do, Your Majesty?”

Her winter frost eyes grew contemplative.  “None.  And there actually may be profit for me in it.”

Victor snorted, “Well, we’ll dance anyway.”

“How, Victor?” I husked.  “We cannot touch and there is no music.”

He winked.  “No music?  With me in your head, au contraire.”

A melodic, bitter-sweet waltz sang in my head with the sighing of violins, and I knew it was echoed in Victor’s as well.

“And touching?” I asked.  “What shall we do about that?”

He smiled as sad as the tune in our heads.  “What we’ve done since we first met, Alice.  We mirror one another, moving in sync one with the other, heart to heart, movement for movement.”

He held out his hand.  I placed my hand above his misty one.  We began to dance slowly and gracefully.  Hot tears blinded me and hid his face from me.  And yet, they did not, for I had his eyes ever before me, whether awake or asleep.  As the Sidhe watched on, we danced.  Some were openly grieved.  Most were bored, ready to slay us at their queen’s command.

Our last dance was much like our whole love affair.  We were so close, yet so far apart.  Mirroring each other in step and heart, but forever separated by our very natures.  Still, we moved as one, fluid and sweeping.  The melancholy tune tugged at me soul-deep.

“What is this beautiful tune?”

Victor smiled, “It’s from a movie, BROTHER’S KEEPER.  I thought it fit me since I am Death’s son.”

“How so?”

“With Death as my mother, isn’t everyone my brother and sister in a way?  And didn’t you bleed and suffer for the whole world, Alice?”

“I fought for those I loved.  To die for an abstraction is beyond me, Victor.”

We danced in sweeping steps that took us all along the circle of hilt-clenching warriors.  Victor ignored them. 
He studied me as if trying to memorize each gesture I made, every word I spoke.  We whirled and twirled in a dance of love unlike the one of death Skeggjold and I had taken but moments before.

He murmured, “I love you, Alice.”

I smiled evilly.  “I know.”

He winced.  “Does that make me Han Solo or Princess Leia?”

“Oh, the dashing Han Solo, of course.”

I fought the urge to nuzzle my head on his shoulder.  Oh, it was so hard to dance like this.  But then had not our whole love been an affair of maddening abstinence?

“Victor, do tell me what is the name of this tune done so hauntingly by these violins?”

He smiled wickedly.  “It’s called COWS ON THE HILLS.”

“You jest!  Whatever made you think of this as the music for our last dance?”

He winked.  “As we waltz this tune, the transformed Queen Meropis is grazing contentedly in the Elysian Fields.”

I giggled, “Even now, with the rest of our lives measured in but heartbeats, still you can make me laugh.”

I drew in a breath I did not need as I swung in circles in our last waltz.  “Are you dead?  Are you a ghost?  Oh, I must know, Victor, what are you?”

“In love with you, Alice.  Leave it at that.”

“No, I simply cannot die without knowing.”

His wavering form kept dancing but his face grew grim.  “You will weep bitter tears at the price of knowing, Alice.  Do you still want me to tell you?”

“Yes!  I will not die without knowing just how you come to be dancing with me, to have helped me these past days though all say you are dead.”

He and I danced as one, our feet seemingly floating above the still smoldering grass.  He brushed my lips with his.  They tingled.  There were tears of farewell in his eyes.

           “I can see where you would have to know before you died.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

THE END OF DAYS visits Jennifer Lane!


visits Jennifer Lane Books Blog:
END OF DAYS you ask. There's a story to that novel in more ways than one.
I received so much hate email due to the provocative cover to BEST OF ENEMIES that I commissioned a new cover ...

and I changed the title to better reflect the epic scope to the YA urban fantasy.

It also dove-tailed with some devastating news I later received so the title change is poetically ironic.

Jennifer Lane is a special lady and new good friend.

Her trade is in psychology as mine once was. And the meaning of a life well-lived is one of the themes to END OF DAYS. (Once again, unintentionally prophetic to my news which I am pledged to keep confidential.)

Jennifer doesn't read fantasy, so she is being a Super Trooper for doing a post on END OF DAYS. Reward her kindness to me by visiting and commenting, telling her what a friend she is.

Nathan Bransford has an intriguing question on his blog: Where did you hear about the book you're currently reading? So? Do recommendations sway you, or do you have to find a book on your own?

Judge: And what is your profession in general?
Accused: Poet-translator.
Judge: Who recognized you as a poet? Who listed you in the ranks of poets?
Accused: No one. Who listed me in the ranks of humanity?

—from a transcript of the trial of Joseph Brodsky (born on this day), taken down in shorthand by a Soviet journalist and sent to the Western press.


Gore Vidal said that of a book written by Harold Robbins. He also added : "To call Harold Robbins an author is like calling a woodpecker a carpenter."

Those words were brought to mind by a milestone of history trivia.

On this day in 1184 BC, according to calculations made some 900 years later by the North African Greek, Eratosthenes, Troy was sacked and burned.

And we've been sacking and burning it, and other icons, ever since.

I thought to myself : when did archetype devolve into cliche? And can we revive archetype back to life in our writing?

I asked that after thinking of the movie, TROY, and reading the reviews for DARK SHADOWS and BATTLESHIP.

An acre of craft goes into a bad novel.

How much more must go into a great one. You must fertilize it by going beneath the surface with wit and intelligence ... and love.

Yes, you must love your idea.

How else do you expect an editor to even like it if you don't love it?

And the protagonist ...

do you know him/her down to the depths of his yearnings, her doubts, his sense of humor?

Do you like him?

Would you like to spend time with him on a roadtrip? If not, why would expect a reader to want to spend days reading about him/her?

Whether he is Sherlock Holmes or Hannibal Lector, he thinks along lines that are beyond your abilities --

but not your dreams. He says and does the things you wish you could, whether in your dreams or your fantasies of revenge.

And you must know where he's going. Listen to Mickey Spillaine's wisdom :

Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle.

They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore.

The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book.

And know what the readers want of your hero. Mickey has advise on this as well :

Imagine a guy hits Mike Hammer over the head with a wooden coathanger and knocks him out.

No reader wants that.

You hit Mike Hammer over the head with a wooden coathanger, he'll beat the crap out of you. That's what the reader wants.

And how do you discover what the reader wants? Read the kind of books you are writing.

Time's a problem with that? Stephen King has a word for you :

"If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."

And try to keep a sense of humor about it. Stephen King has a word about that as well :

When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, "Why god? Why me?"

And the thundering voice of God answered, "There's just something about you that pisses me off."
— Stephen King (Storm of the Century: An Original Screenplay )

King winks at us and says,

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie. Good books don't give up all their secrets at once. If yours does, guess what kind of book yours is?"

But I began this post by talking about how to breathe life into cliche, making it vibrant archetype. How do you do that?


I thought about this method while walking today across a hospital lobby as I delivered rare blood to an ailing patient.

On the wall TV was the tail end of an interview with a poor woman, sobbing in despair and loss over the death of a loved one in Arkansas.

The CNN camera switched to the newscaster in the studio.

Her face was glowing. Literally glowing. Not somber with empathy. No, her plastic Barbie face was bright, cheerful even.

"That video certainly brings it home to our viewers, doesn't it, Bob?"

And I suddenly realized why her face was so radiant.

The cameras had caught a scene certain to grab the audience and boost the ratings.

She was oblivious to the trauma of the woman, fixated only on her own needs as a reporter, eager to be promoted to a better time slot.

Some writers are like that reporter. They want a bestseller.

They want to snare millions of readers. They need a tragic trauma to happen in the lives of her characters. In the compulsion to write of an epic crisis, they see only the details of the situation --

not the soul of it.

To touch our audience, to make our novel throb with life,

we must bring it home to the readers. We must touch the heart. Do more than describe what happens.

We must merge the terror, the heartbreak of the characters with the mind of the reader.

Speak to the universal fears of people everywhere :

abandonment, loneliness, yearning for love, caught up in a desperate need to belong, yet feeling always on the outside.

I believe most of us who write are more aware, more sensitive than that CNN reporter.

I think we believe what William Faulkner once wrote :

"A man's moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream."

I believe we as writers must bear that curse proudly and follow the path William Faulkner urged the writers who followed him to take :

"Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do.

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. If you do that, you're a writer.

And a writer is a creature driven by demons. You won't know why they chose you. Luckily, you'll usually be too busy to even wonder why."

To me, TROY told the surface story. GLADIATOR, on the other hand, touched the heart, the soul of its viewers. Here's the trailer for that movie,
followed by the song by Loreena McKennitt that I played on a constant loop while healing from my burns.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012


{"If two people love each other

 there can be no happy end to it."
— Ernest Hemingway.}

Raymond Chandler, ghost, here.

I don't know if I totally agree with those words of Hemingway.

But they occur to me as I think of the star-crossed love

of Alice Wentworth, the Victorian ghoul, and Victor Standish.

The pair remind me of a young Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in my BLUE DAHLIA.

You, who visit Roland's blog, think their love affair is fiction. Alas, it is not. Fiction, unlike truth, must be logical.

And as Alice Wentworth keeps saying : Their love breaks the chain of reason.

Reason you say? Yes, and good fiction must obey the RULES.


Rules. Most struggling writers think there are mysterious magic rules out there that if followed will insure success.

There aren't. But I'll give them to you, anyway.

Rule #1 :
The most durable thing in writing is style. I had mine. Hemingway had his. We're both imitated.

Be inspired by your favorite authors but leave them be. Keep the original. Lose the copy. Be yourself. But a self that grows each day.

Rule #2 :
Unlike the age of Jane Austin, this age is not remote. It is as intimate as a lonely heart and as intense as the bill collector over your phone.

Do not cliche your words. Brutality is not strength. Flipness is not wit. Do not mistake cool for character, attitude for competence.

It is not funny that a man is killed. But it is sometimes funny that he should be killed for so little, and that his death should be the coin of what we call civilization.

Rule #3 :
It's the journey, the struggles of the hero that grab the reader and keep him turning the pages. Make the hero sweat. But let him get the girl. Even Victor got to -- no, I won't go there. I can't.

Rule #4 :
Pull your nose from the computer keyboard and live life -- don't just write about it. Tasting each drink, feeling each breeze, touching the soft skin of the woman who loves you and only you.

God, I hope Victor did that with Alice  ...

if only for a moment.

Sorry, you don't need to read an old ghost's keening.

Rule #5 :
Remember that human nature has learned nothing over the centuries, yet has forgotten nothing either. Men do things for reasons.

Your characters, if they are to be believed, must do so, too. You cannot shove them into actions that your prior words would not imply they would take.

Yet human nature is fickle : a man who is steel in the fires of adversity will melt at the glance of a pair of ice blue eyes. Eyes like Alice had ....

Sorry ... that ... that is all I have the heart for.

I will sit out on Roland's terrace now and look out as the night fog slips away from the bordering bayou.

The rains are over. The fields are green.

And with my ghost eyes I will look out over the vastness of America to the Hollywood Hills and see snow on the high mountains.

The fur stores will be advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen year-old virgins will be doing a land-office business. In Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees will be beginning to bloom.

And none of that will matter ... for I know how it ended for Victor.

The French have a saying that to say good-bye is to die a little. They are right. I am a ghost, and I thought I was past feeling dead inside. I was wrong.

I think I will always see Victor walking down lonely streets, leaning against the grimy bricks of shadowy dead-end alleys, saddened but never quite defeated.

Down those mean streets Victor went who was not himself mean, who was neither tarnished nor afraid ... only mortal -- who loved too well ... and not at all wisely.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I hope so.  But then, I am a romantic.

Life has a way of hitting us in the gut with the worst news possible,

only to demand we rise to the occasion.

I am fond of tales of Ragnarok. Brave heroes facing personal doom for the salvation of the world.

I have written my own End of Days tale: BEST OF ENEMIES:

Not that it is all doom and gloom.

There is a slumber party with teenage girls: one a werewolf, another a goblin princess, two street orphans, two hellhounds, and one emotionally shattered ghoul, Alice Wentworth.

There is a crooked poker game with a vampire priest, the last Titan, Samuel McCord, and those same teenage girls and ghoul.

There are history classes taught by a Lakota shaman, Wolf Howl. 

Physical education classes turned lethal coached by a Chooser of the Slain. 

And a vampire priest teaching about how to view life from an annotated edition of DRACULA.

At the end there is a grand Wagner-style finale, pitting all my linked heroes against the End of Days and a multitude of converging enemies.

Until there is only one champion left standing.

Can a slain hero come back from the dark shores of death by the sheer force of love and will alone to stand beside his love one last time?

Hey, this is Victor Standish we're talking about.

And I like to think that the last light that will shine at the End of Days will be love.

{Artwork courtesty of the artistic genius of Leonora Roy}

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Fiction is not reality.
Like Mark Twain said, "Fiction has to make sense."

I.) Fiction reflects reality through a mirror darkly ...

A.) That mirror reflects society's face with all its ...

1.) Blemishes

2.) Scars

3.) Hopes

4.) Its dreams and the smiles despite the inner pain of most of the people you walk past on the streets.

II.) Fiction distills reality, revealing more truth than reality does in a shorter span of time.

A.) Fiction prunes out anything that doesn't propel the story and themes forward.

B.) Fiction is more intense and dense page by page than our lives are day by day.

III.) Fiction is a crucible ...

1.) holding our characters to the fire to purify and hone their spirits so that they are stronger, purer or broken or shattered at the novel's end.

2.) We are the blacksmiths, hammering our characters on the anvil of adversity. If our characters are having a good time, our readers grow bored.

IV.) As in reality, adversity introduces our characters to themselves and to the reader.

1.) Unlike reality, all dross events are sifted from the narrative.

2.) The best fiction reveals the characters of our players in what they do and why they do it.

3.) Shallow fiction makes prose puppets, forcing the characters to do things, not letting their actions flow from their inner natures.

V.) That is why everything in fiction serves multiple purposes.


Like packing a solitary suitcase for a long trip, each item, each scene must serve multiple functions.

1.) Life is often haphazard, cluttered.

2.) Fiction must never be those things.

3.) Fiction ultimately relates seemingly unrelated items and scenes.


a.) Parents give a gun to a young boy for his birthday instead of the bike he wanted.

b.) How does that relate to anything?

c.) It was the same gun that his older sister used to commit suicide.

d.) Based on a true incident from M. Scott Peck's PEOPLE OF THE LIE.

VI.) Like a skillful mother, an author should be doing 2 things at all times in the same scene or action.

A.) As in the prior example :

1.) The gun wasn't just an inappropriate gift to a young boy.

2.) It was a silent message : We want you to kill yourself, too.

B.) Likewise each scene should propel the story forward, upping the tension and suspense at the same time :

1.) As with the above example :

2.) Boy now knows his parents want him dead.

3.) What does he do with that knowledge? What can he do? 

He is just a young boy at the mercy of insane parents.

VII.) Each incident should ...

1.) Set the scene in the context of the character's thoughts.

2.) Reveal the hero's character by he or she makes of the situation and what she does with it.

3.) Moves the story along with suspense and tension.

VIII.) A spear has no branches.

1.) Streamline your prose to chisel the story in crisp detail and image.

2.) Chunky paragraphs sink your prose into the sea of boredom.

3.) Don't tell the reader your character is this or that.

4.) Show your character in action, revealing his or her thoughts about the situation.

5.) When you have the reader make up his own mind about the character of your hero and villain,

your story will become more "real" to your reader, making it take on a living existence for him or her.

IX.) As a woman is the echo of the girl she once was, by the end of the novel, your main character should be the result of his past decisions, realizations (true or false), and his actions.