So you can read my books

Monday, September 30, 2013


"Dang dab it, Roland!" the ghost of Mark Twain grouched as he sat at my table.  "What's this I hear about you doing a seance?"
The shadows of Meilori's, the haunted French Quarter jazz club, seemed to close in as if to eavedrop.  I shook my head.
"You know I don't do seances, Mark.  I don't have to what with writing here at my table."
The ghost of H P Lovecraft gloomily sat down beside me.  "As well you shouldn't."
His long face grew longer. "What do you living know of the world and the universe about you?
Your means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and your notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow.
You see things only as you are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses you pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos,
yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things you see,
 but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses you have."
Mark Twain grumbled, "Excuse me for a decade, H P, while I break out a thesaurus and riddle out what you just said."
"Wait, guys," I said.  "I'm just participating in the GREAT BEYOND HALLOWEEN BLOGHOP."
Lovecraft intoned, "Which is?"
" Well, the rules are simple -
participants should write a post for October 30 that talks about a famous deceased author (or celebrity?) they would like to contact in a seance.

Then TaraTyler, Angela Brown, and Gwen Gardner will randomly choose winners for their prizes."
Mark's eyes sparkled.  "What are they offering? "
"Tara will be giving away a printed, signed copy of Pop Travel, and I will be giving away autographs of Mark Ruffalo and Cobie Smulders of THE AVENGERS."


His face fell.  "No date with Megan Fox?"
"Mark!  She's married."
"I ain't the jealous type."
Lovecraft just sighed, shaking his head.


"Demon" she calls me.  Rose Red calls me names.  That is almost funny.  Almost.

Am I a demon you ask?  Don't look to me for straight answers.  The world doesn't give you straight answers.

At least not in Bottle Bay.

Bottle Bay is such a quaint little town.  Turn one street and you walk into rubble and death.  Turn onto the next street ...

and Death runs after you.

Bottle Bay deserves the Second Avenue Secondhand Shop.  It is said that its customers deserve the cursed objects they buy there.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  All I know is that my only friend in the world deserved better than he got. 

And he got two, not one, cursed objects with the damnedest price to both ...


How did compassion buy Adam death and damnation?  I'll let him tell you in ...


Sure, you'll never have a good night's sleep again. You don't believe me?  Who could blame you?

After all, I am called a demon.  As if you humans knew what that word meant.

Hit your cursor over the book's image, and you'll be taken to the stuff nightmares are made of.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Halloween whispers to the child in all of us ... the darkness is not empty nor friendly.

The darkness murmurs to the monsters hiding behind human faces and suddenly evil begins to look lovely in too little light.

Stop by Milo James Fowler's blog, IN MEDIA RES

Yes, stop by every Friday (or better yet: subscribe to his blog) for free downloads and raffles courtesy of Aaron Polson, Anthony J. Rapino, Bob Eccles, Cate Cardner, Christine Rains, Deborah Walker, Ellie Garratt, Erin Cole, James Garcia Jr., Jeff Chapman, Lyndon Perry, Michelle Ann King, Rhonda Parrish, Roland Yeomans, Simon Kewin, and Stoney Setzer.

The Creepy Freebie Train's first stop is this Friday 10/4. 

My own THE RIVAL will be FREE OCT. 11TH & 12TH! 

Spread the word!

On November 1st
I will draw for this double AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO
of Christian Slater and Brad Pitt
Just FACEBOOK about this giveaway or
write a post about this great drawing sometime in the month of October
(paste the link in the comments section here if you blog about it and email me about your FB comment).
Join in the fun!
You know you can write about wonderful me
and Milo's great CREEPY FREEBIES
more than once.
Like they said about voting in Chicago in the Roaring 20's


For many, this fear of the dark begins in childhood as a fear of the unexpected,
Thomas Ollendick, professor of psychology and director of the Child Study Center at Virginia Tech, told LiveScience,
 that something or someone will pop out of the closet or from underneath the bed. Most grow out of these fears as they get older.
A survey of 2,000 adults conducted this year by Go Glow found that 40% of us are scared when walking around the house with the lights off.
One in 10 admitted they were too terrified to even get up for a toilet trip in the darkness.
It’s something Katie Johns, 39, a Londoner who works in communications, knows well – 
she can still vividly recall what prompted her lifelong fear of the dark when she was a girl.
 “I was half asleep, and I thought I saw someone standing at the top of our stairs, just looking at me and my sister.
I lay there in the dark, staring and being scared, not wanting to move.
After that I slept with a crucifix for about five years and shared a bedroom with my grandmother. I couldn’t sleep alone.”
Now an independent and confident woman, Katie is still not comfortable sleeping in a pitchblack room, and leaves her door open with the landing light on.
Researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health have found a powerful link between stress and anxiety,
indicating that even moderate stress might make you freak out when something happens that's just a little spooky.
Especially if it happens when it's dark.
Of course it's no secret that humans have an inherent fear of the dark.
Scientists, and even us common folks, have known that for a long time.
With apologies to Simon and Garfunkel, we know that darkness is really not our old friend.
Humans are diurnal, meaning we spend most of our working time in the daylight, and thus are more averse to darkness. So if you want to scare a human, turn out the lights.
"At night, when I go to bed, I still am at pains to be sure that my legs are under the blankets after the lights go out.

I'm not a child anymore but... I don't like to sleep with one leg sticking out.

Because if a cool hand ever reached out from under the bed and grasped my ankle, I might scream. Yes, I might scream to wake the dead.

That sort of thing doesn't happen, of course, and we all know that.

The thing under my bed waiting to grab my ankle isn't real.

I know that, and I also know that if I'm careful to keep my foot under the covers, it will never be able to grab my ankle."

Fear is the emotion that makes us blind.
How many things are you afraid of? 
Are you afraid of the dark?

Saturday, September 28, 2013


 {Cover courtesy of the genius of Leonora Roy}
The 2nd part of my SERIAL TRILOGY comes out October 13th!  Don't miss it.
Angela Brown has come to LUCIFER'S ORPHAN resuce, giving him another review to replace the one Amazon snatched from him:
Good and evil collide in a young man's journey, September 28, 2013
This review is from: LUCIFER'S ORPHAN (Kindle Edition)
Written in first person POV, fourteen-year-old Blake Adamson takes the reader on a journey of discovery that is anything but your normal fantasy or paranormal trek.

Blake goes from the orphan-hard-knocks-kid to the unexpected heir of riches. That would be so awesome if the very riches he was set to inherit when he came of age weren't already in the hands of evil incarnate. Blake, being "just Blake," is full of more good than even he realizes. With such evil and good, the stage is set for intriguing conflict, acts of beautiful love, and more.

The imagery is vivid, so be prepared for your imagination to be worked in a good way.

It ends in a way that clearly lets you know more is to come. I enjoyed the read a great deal.


Ratatoskr, the Asgardian squirrel, is happily ... ah, all right, not so happily reading my latest novel,

Being the laid-back subtle squirrel he is, Ratastoskr reminded me forcibly,

while guzzling suger-infused ice tea what FIVE tests I could give my book to see if it was ready to face the world.


  • Feeling reveals passive voice and generic narratives.  As in: smile, frown, face (as verb), glance, nod.

  • Replace these reactions/actions in between bits of dialogue with dynamic action and body language.

    Fix These Issues by:
    • Using dynamic language.
    • Inject more personality into your characters.
    • Change the character’s behavior
    • Change the entire scene – move the character around.

    Your protagonist should change, undergoing an arc of growth, throughout the novel. 

    The hero has learned hard lessons, having some of the answers to the questions that puzzled him in the first chapter.

    Your heroine of the last chapter would respond differently to the situation(s) of the first chapter. 

    flaws help readers relate to your heroine even at the end of your novel.  Having grown doesn't mean becoming perfect.


    Like the fox above, is your heroine/hero really in a tight situation?  Is it universal, primal and most importantly:


    4.) SAY AGAIN?

    Go from chapter to chapter reading the dialogue aloud. 

    Does each character speak in her or his voice. 

    Could you tell who a character was just from the words and the way she or he speaks?

    Does the give-and-take between characters stand out?  People talk differently to different persons in their lives. 

    The manner and attitude of Sally towards her mother is not the same as her dialogue to her best friend,

    her boy friend, her pet unicorn (just checking to see if you were paying attention!)


    Each of your chapters should appeal to all 5 senses.  There is an ambiance to any place you happen to be.

    The air to the Badlands is so dry it cuts the insides of your nose and throat when you breathe. 

    The air you can wear in New Orleans is like a heavy, invisible moist blanket wrapping around your whole body. 

    And the smells of urine, rotting garbage, and stale beer in the early morning of Bourbon Street would tell you where you were even with your eyes closed.

    But in the spring air of early evening, while walking St. Louis garden,

    you will catch the throaty laughter of college co-eds as they begin their vacation adventure of exploring the wicked French Quarter.


    Of course, there is more. 

    Asking "How do I know my novel is ready?" is like asking "How do I know I'm in love?"

    You just know deep down.  It "feels" right.

    All your chapters end with a question that has to be answered, a life that has to be saved, or a mystery that pulls you into the next chapter. 

    You want to be one of those authors who keep their readers up all night reading.

    The ending, while perhaps surprising, is logical.  It springs naturally from the chapters that went before it.

    It answers the major questions of your story.  The best endings keep some things in the air, for that is the way of life. 

    Only half-hour sit-coms neatly tie up everything.


    I am William Faulkner. I am dead. Yet I did not die.

    I, like so many who did not believe in an afterlife,

    live here in the jazz club, Meilori’s.


    the center, the focus, the hub; sitting looming in the center of the French Quarter’s circumference like a single cloud in its ring of horizon,

    laying its vast shadow to the uttermost rim of horizon; musing, brooding, symbolic and imponderable, tall as clouds, solid as rock,

    dominating all: protector of the weak, judge and curb of the passions and lusts, repository and guardian of the aspirations and hopes of the helpless.

    Here, I find myself standing outside the window of the storefront of humanity, still observing as a writer but unable to reach out and touch with fingers of new prose.

    Except through Roland’s kindness.

    Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained that by now we can almost bear it. Of course there are still problems of the spirit. Yet one question looms above all:

    When will I be blown up?

    By terrorist plot,

    by Nature’s increasingly hostile hand,

    or by the cruel strangulation of mishandled economics.

    Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing

    because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat of wresting something from nothing.

    You must learn them again.

    You must teach yourself that the basest of all things is to be afraid.

    And teaching yourself that,

    forget it forever,

    leaving no room in your writing for anything but the old truths of the heart,

    the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed - love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.

    Until you do so, you labor under a curse.

    You write not of love but of lust,

    of defeats in which no one loses anything of value,

    of victories without hope and,

    worst of all, without pity or compassion. Your griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars.

    You write not of the heart but of the sex glands.

    I remember that night in Meilori’s when McCord and I talked.

    How words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly living goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other.

    That sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they have forgotten the words.

    Forgotten the words by being too busy living them.

    So write those words in your prose.

    Write them so that others may prove their truth by living them,

    And in so doing, forgetting them as they forget they are breathing.

    {To read more from Faulkner, Twain, Hemingway, Hitchcock, even Bruce Lee on writing : }


    Friday, September 27, 2013


    Can you believe it?
    It's one of the biggest commercial successes of all time and garnered extremely positive reviews, but "Marvel's The Avengers" has at least one rather notable critic:
     its own writer-director.
    Whedon's biggest criticism of his creation?
    The structure, which he refers to as "haphazard" in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
    I am a hybrid.  Not a plotter or pantser -- but a blend of the two.
    I have a three act structure in my head.  I know the beats I want to have in my tale.  I have an end that I am shooting for: my novel's horizon.
    But some of the moments are vague and open to a twist that I think will make a better story.
    I am currently writing HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS.
    I knew the mood I wanted to convey, and a great way to ratchet it up came to me. 
    So I wrote it, and then went ...
    "Merde, how do I get them out of this? 
    Oh, that would be a great way. 
    Ah, did they even have fire extinguishers in 1927? 
    All right, I fixed it but now the situation is even worse! 
    What do I do now?"
    Not to worry.  The story is coming along just fine after a little Josh Whedon-ing!
    Have you ever written yourself in a corner?
    1.) Getting yourself out of the writing corner may mean a complete shift in the journey your story is on.
    You may need to backtrack, back up and examine how you got in the corner in the first place.
    2.) Are you rigid about your initial idea?
    Does this idea have enough potential to be able to present you with open doors to creative development?
    If not you may need to do a serious re-structuring or rewrite
    to get the ideas flowing and the pathway open and clear to proceed.
    3.) Go past if you can to another spot in your novel,
    Writing the next episode may cause to think of a novel way to foreshadow what you're now writing in the corner you only think you stuck yourself in.
    4.) Don't be afraid to ask.
    Have an insoluble trap?  Ask trusted, clever friends what they would expect people in a movie to do if they ran into your obstacle. 
    Their answers may surprise you and provide the inspiration to carve a window into the corner you've written yourself into.
    5.) Ask yourself questions.
    Like what you say.  "What might your hero do, given the kind of character he is?”
    "What are all the items you might find in the setting of your impossible situation?  Have you overlooked the ways any of those items might be used in a novel way to escape?"
    Have you written yourself into any corners?
    What did you do to write yourself out of them?

    Thursday, September 26, 2013


    And you can have his AUTOGRAPH and the DNA to go with it. 
    You'll have to get Lola on your own.
    Out of the next FIVE people who send me proof they have bought the audiobook of RITES OF PASSAGE,
    I will select the winner of Clark Gregg's autograph.
    And so he will not be lonely, I will add his hero's autograph, too
    Hear how Sam McCord first met Meilori.  See his first meeting with the dread DayStar.
    Listen in on the meeting between McCord and the last Sidhe, Fallen -- who wears the face of a murdered girl.
    Can one Texas Ranger fend off a shipload of the undead as the steamer heads into the Bermuda Triangle?
    From the first 10 reviewers of RITES OF PASSAGE
    I will draw for the winner of
    the autographs of the main stars of THOR 2!

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013


    1.) “Am I Ready?”
         You ask this before you start your project and before every day of writing: am I ready?
    Writers get fired up about their project, their next chapter ... and often they just belly-flop into the sea of prose.
    But have you finished tying up those loose ends?  Have you thought the scene, the novel through?
    Be like a James Bond villain -- get all your plotting and scheming done before you start.
    2.) "Why Am I Writing This?"
    Asking this will prevent the reader from asking, "Why am I reading this trash anyway?"
    Figure out what makes your story worth writing.
    Maybe it’s a character. Maybe it’s an idea.
    Maybe it’s one scene somewhere in the third act you just can’t wait to write.
    Find out why you’re writing this.

    If you’re just phoning it in, wandering aimlessly through the narrative without purpose, the audience is going to feel that.
    3.) "What Is This About?"
    No, not plot.  This question asks what is UNDER the plot, the THEME of your story:
    "You dance with the devil; he doesn't change. He changes you."
    "There are no small people.  There is just small thinking."
    This question insures that your word count adds up to more than numbers but to a story worth the reader's time.
    4.) "Does This Make Sense?"
    I swear: these blockbusters on the screen must have writers who are smoking the "wacky tobacky."
    Bruce Wayne, his spine sticking out of his bloody back, is "cured" just by dropping his body from restraints.  Wow, and my mother went through neurosurgery for her back!
    Bruce then leaps and jumps mere weeks later out of a prison pit, half the world away from Gotham, penniless, in the middle of the desert, looking like a mad man. 

    The next scene he's back in Gotham City ---
    Ah, just how did he accomplish that miracle?  It took me out of the movie.
    Well, the 1001 other plot holes before that took me out of the movie, but you get my point.
    5.) "What Do The Characters Want?"
    Is the villain doing terrible things just to make opportune conflict for your hero? 

    What each characters wants must make sense to the reader -- who would want that in the character's place.
    The wants must be primal, desperate, and pressing:
    You travel to a new town.  Your child vanishes.  Everyone swears you never had a daughter. 
    You stand hopeless outside the police station.  A van passes.  Your daughter wildly reaches out to you from the passenger window.  She is clearly scared out of her mind.
    The van turns the corner.  A policeman leaves his patrol car, the motor running, the door open.
    What do you do?
    6.) "What Does The Setting Add To My Story?"
    Don't say nothing.  Every locale adds something.  My New Orleans certainly does.  Each city speaks in its voice, hiding its own secrets.
    If your background is blah, then you are only half-doing your job as a writer.
    7.) "Do I Have This Backed Up In A Dozen Places?"
    If you don't, then eventual heartbreak is awaiting you.  Just saying.