So you can read my books

Thursday, October 31, 2013



(Just give me your address, Siv)


Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,233 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)


Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,233 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
(So few have entered my bloghop that there will not be another.)

pulls out all the stops.

Hell invades Wellington, New Zealand -
the island nation called "God's Own Country."
Can a 14 year old orphan and the Last Fae stop the madness?
As the Mandarin told Iron Man,
you will never see the end coming.

Post about the book which scared you the most as a young reader and the book which scared you the most as an adult.


Should you post a review of my LUCIFER'S ORPHAN that would be great.

In fact, posting a review with give you a SECOND


One of my blogfesters will win --

In Old Chicago they used to say -


The more times you post on LUCIFER'S ORPHAN


the more times you will be entered!


This is a Blog Hop!

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Check out my visit to Samantha Redstreake Geary:


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Check out my visiting Samantha Redstreake Geary:


Tara Tyler:

 is doing a blog hop with her buddies, Angela, Gwen, and Roland Yeomans! (Humble me)
Here is my contribution:

The small palms by my poker table hissed through the shadows of Meilori's with their flaying leaves.

The ghost of Julie London swayed by on her way to the stage.

She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again like a theatre curtain.

The ghost of Raymond Chandler took a sip from his glass. 

"I know that trick, kid. That was supposed to make you roll over on your back with all four paws in the air.”

"Woof," I said.

Mark Twain chuckled, "God created women so that Man would learn seeing ain't always believing."

Stephen King smiled, drawing a card.  "And why was Man created?"

Roger Zelazny snorted, "So Taylor Swift would have lyrics to her songs when she broke up with one."

Hemingway puffed on his cigar.  "My NaNo post did well last November, didn't it?"

Roger nodded.  "Surprisingly so since you nay-sayed their dream of slapping a novel together in a month."

Hemingway said, "Dreams alone won't fill libraries."

Roger looked off into the darkness. 

“I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.”

Mark puffed on his own cigar. 

“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”

Chandler sighed,

"They are wasting a month hurrying a novel when they should be carefully crafting one.  But there is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.”

Roger nodded, "I always forced myself to sit down and write five pages each morning.  Then, each evening I would slash and hack those pages down into three."

He smiled sadly to me.  “No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.”

William Faulkner murmured,

"Memory believes before knowing remembers.  Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders."

Roger Zelazny tapped his cards against his teeth.  "Perhaps. Here's a tip for you, Roland.

Occasionally, there arises a writing situation where you see an alternative to what you are doing, a mad, wild gamble of a way for handling something,

which may leave you looking stupid, ridiculous or brilliant -

you just don't know which.

You can play it safe there, too, and proceed along the route you'd mapped out for yourself.

Or you can trust your personal demon who delivered that crazy idea in the first place.

Trust your demon.” 

Stephen King laughed softly,

"I always do. "

He turned to me.  "Roland, books are the perfect entertainment:

no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent.

What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.” 

An evil gleam shined in his eyes behind his glasses.  "While we're giving tips to you.  Here's a few:

 “Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.  Learn the strip-tease delay of good fiction, revealing as you go along.  Great fiction is the truth within the lie."

Chandler took a slow sip of his drink. 

"It all boils down to your hero, kid.  He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man.

He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor --

by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a hero at all.

He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job.

He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without due and dispassionate revenge.

He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks -- that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness.

The story is the man's adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure.

He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.”

"What about women heroes?" I asked.  "Ada Lovelace created the first computer program 100 years before the invention of the computer. 

Abigail Adams healed the rift between two U.S. Presidents. 

Alexandrine Tinne was a Dutch explorer who made the first female attempt to cross the Sahara.

  Aletta Jacobs was a Dutch doctor, a feminist, a pacifist, and a human rights activist."

Chandler smiled crooked, "That was then.  Now, we have Taylor Swift."

The ghost of William Faulkner shook his head. 

"That is your cynicism talking.  Roland, always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” 

Mark Twain lit another cigar.  “What would men be without women? Scarce, Roland...mighty scarce.” 

Stephen King gently smiled at me.  "As with all creation, Roland, it begins with the Word.  But it must be the right word in the right way at the right time."

He looked away from me, and his eyes darkened as if he looked within himself. 

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them --

words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out.

 But it's more than that, isn't it?

The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried,

like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away.

And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way,

not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it.

That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” 

All became silence.  For a time, my friends and I were lost inside our own secret hearts.
We hope you will join us for a ghostly good time!


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Monday, October 28, 2013


"Alone.  That was the word with teeth.  The most awful word there was.  Hell was just another way of saying it."
 - Victor Standish

          My Twelfth year was a bit like Twelfth Night, the eve that church-goers call the Eve of the Epiphany … a fancy adult word that describes what the donkey felt when the two-by-four smacked him.

The twilight wind moaned from the northwest, and entered the woods and bared the golden branches, and danced over the dying day, and led a swirl of scarlet and gold leaves.  Had they dreaded this day?
If so they danced now that it had come.  And away with a raspy ballet of spiraling leaves, high in the dim light of the Harvest Moon went wind and leaves together.

           None of the trudging people beside me noticed the dance of the dying leaves … or me, for that matter.  I studied the troubled eyes of those who could not see what I saw.  After a bit of thinking, I decided I had been wrong about them.  They were not alike, but different one from another, because they held different dreams … or the corpses of them in those sad eyes.

        If I managed to live long enough, would my eyes deaden into the black pools they were?  For me it was still very difficult to draw away from the call of my dream.  It was like a warm fire, or a hard-earned sleep, or like a haunting song from one of those sirens Ulysses dared to let himself hear.  Yet there was a stillness all about it, a stillness full of Christmas lights … my dream of home.  Not a place but a person who would want me just for me not for what they could get out of me.

          Typical of my luck, my Greyhound bus had broken down in the most remote part of the state of New York.  But at the time, anywhere out of Cleveland was all right by me.  It had been a long hike to the only house in the diseased landscape.  I’m not being colorful here.  The whole countryside looked like it had been passed over by one of those famous plagues that had finally made Pharaoh toss the children of Joseph out of the country. 

          I always identified with those wanderers.  Having your mother abandon you in the roughest cities in the country, then pick you up when her latest bad boy love had ditched her will do that to a kid.  At least that was what I thought was happening at the time. 


          I was wrong, of course.  So sue me.  Parents don’t make it a habit of explaining the screw-up’s of their lives to their kids.  We just have to play catch-up, try to make sense of the madness the best way we can, and deal with the fallout while keeping our heads low.  Childhood, despite what adults keep saying, is no picnic.  Mine sure as hell wasn’t.  But on the plus side, it wasn’t boring.

           I made my way carefully in the deepening dark.  A twelve year old kid was very small, and this night seemed very large and full of hidden dangers.  I have always known I was an outsider, a stranger no matter where I roamed among those who were still men.  There are horrors beyond life's edge that most don’t suspect, and once in a while a wandering stray calls them just within range.  Yeah, all too often I was that stray.

           I learned to walk on cat-feet by living on the streets of too many hard cities for six years … since I was seven.  I knew why dogs howl at the dark and why cats prick up their ears after midnight.  I shuddered, for all too often I heard the beating of black wings and the scratching of half-seen shapes on the pavement hidden by shadow.

          We walked into an uneven clearing, whose floor was veined with gnarled roots.  A huge mansion towered over us like the cast-aside skull of some forgotten and damned god, its twin blank windows looming over us as if they were the eyes of a lost soul searching to see if we would feed its hunger.  I smiled of salt.  I had gone hungry for so long that a meal of my scrawny body wouldn’t fill a ghost.

          The owner of the place met us at the door of his broken-down mansion as if he had been expecting us.  I didn’t like the look of him as he sat smiling in his weird-shaped wheelchair.  I couldn’t quite make out his face in the dim light.  All I saw was that big smile as if he was the big bad wolf, and we were all Little Red Riding Hoods.

          And he smelled funny. 

           Not “Ha-Ha” funny.  Damn odd funny.

          The six other stranded bus passengers hugged the heat of the room’s fireplace. 

But not me.  Something struck me strange about the dark room with all its dusty mounted heads of bears and deer on the wall.

          It should have been roasting hot in this place.  And here I was still shivering.

           Of course, I had eased into the far corner.  Even the shadows around me seemed cold and unfriendly.  I might have only been twelve years old, nearly thirteen actually, but I hadn’t survived all by myself for years on the mean streets of ten cities by being trusting.

          So there I stood.

           No one's life should be rooted in fear. You take one look at a new baby, and you just know deep down we are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of life, to be awed by the beauty of the world, to hunt for truth and meaning, to pick up a scrap or two of wisdom here and there, and by our treatment of others to brighten the corner where we are.  But life on the streets beat the truth into me: the predators out there don’t give a damn for your dreams … or you for that matter. 

          Our host at the far end of the dining table called out to me.  “Come, boy, warm yourself by my fire.  It was a long walk from your broken down bus to my estate.”

          “Name’s Victor Standish, sir.  And I’m just fine right here.”


          I strained to make out his features, but the shadows, that didn’t seem to be cast by anything, swam with a life of their own around his face.  All of this had gone from strange to spooky.  I smiled bitterly.  Story of my life.

          “Where’s our driver?” I asked.

          The old man cackled, “He asked me where the phone was.  He seemed in a hurry to contact his superiors.”

          I snorted, “He had that many quarters?”

          “Show some respect to your elders, boy!”

          “Respect is earned.  And the name’s Victor Standish.”

          He shifted in his wheelchair angrily.  I went even colder.  His body squished when he moved.  And that blasted wheelchair blocked the only exit out of here.

          “Tonight is a rare night … Standish.”

          His words were spoken oddly … as if human speech itself was a thing foreign to him.  My hands went to my pockets.  I fingered the ice cold ball bearings I kept in both pockets.  He smiled wider, and I saw his teeth were pointed.

          My fingers closed around two ball bearings as he laughed.

          “It is Samhain, summer’s end, Standish.  The Celtic New Year began this nightfall.”

          “Funny.  You don’t look like a Druid.”

          His eyes narrowed, but he kept on in that strange way of his.  “In your ancient Welsh tradition, this evening was called Three Spirit Night, when all manner of beings could wander between realities.”

          I went much colder at his use of “your,” as if he did not belong to the human race.  He wheeled his chair closer to me by only inches, but he still felt much, much too close.

          He wheezed low, “You really should have sat with your fellow passengers.  It was over so quickly for them.”

          I flicked my eyes to them.

          Oh, crap.  Some were slumped on the floor.  Some were sprawled across the table.  Some sat bonelessly in their chairs.

          Their eyes were … melted, flowing down their withered cheeks like candle wax or mucus.  And their shadows were gone … as if they had been eaten by the fire.

          “You hold in your fear well … human.”

          The fingers of both hands picked the largest ball bearings they could find. 

          I glared at this … thing.  “You killed the bus driver, too?”

          “Oh, yes, quite dead is he.  You I kept to play with.”

          “It’s been a long day, sir.  I’m all played out.”

          “I think I’ll eat your sharp tongue last.”

          There was nothing in that for me but pain, so I just asked, “H-How did you get here?”

          He laughed wetly, “You think me some space creature?”

          He turned for a moment to stare into the fire with eyes that seemed to be looking at things I was just as happy not seeing.

          “In a way, I am from beyond the stars.”

          He turned back to me, and the shadows were cast back by the fire’s glow.  For just a moment, I caught a glimpse of a wet, scaled face, more insect than fish.  His eyes were rheumy and totally empty of anything remotely human or merciful.  Then, the shadows happily returned to mask that nightmare face again.

          I fought back a shiver.  He saw me.  He chuckled in a squishy gurgle.

          “It began with the meteorite.  That black seed of my birth landed in the far end of this estate on the night of Samhain in 1843.  Men could not approach the site for weeks because of the intense heat.”

          Again, he squished that inhuman laughter.  “And by then, the trees and the wild life were taking on strange shapes and smells.”

          He wheeled closer still.  “Men of your so-called science finally came to investigate.  Those who managed to survive their sudden illness to race home did so only to die in convulsions in their beds.”

          Ever closer he wheeled.  And I saw that tentacles, not fingers, grasped the wheels.  “As fate would have it, the lovely wife of this estate’s owner was pregnant at the time.”

          The wheels squeaked as he rolled right up to me.  “She did not survive my birth.  I emerged quite hungry you see.”

          He squished a growl, “As I am hungry now!”

          I tore both hands out of my pockets, shooting two ball bearings into his open, drooling mouth.  “Eat this!”

          He choked in wet husks.  I darted around his chair.  Crap.  Three tentacles shot from his middle right at me.  Another kid would have died then.

          But I was Victor Standish.  I knew parkour.  I did a full Arabian cartwheel right over those snaking things.  As I flew over him, I saw razored teeth in a second snarling mouth in his damn stomach.  I sent two more ball bearings into that one as well.

          He squealed in pain.  Better him than me.  I landed behind his wheelchair with a light bounce.  I grasped the handles of the wheelchair with both shaking hands.  I shoved the nightmare creature with all my strength along the wooden floor.  You don’t get expert in parkour without building up a lot of chest and arm muscles.

          I ducked those middle tentacles as I ran.  What did it take to kill this thing?

          I whizzed past the dead passengers and shoved this squirming mockery of a man into the blazing fire.  His screams were … something I still have nightmares about.  But I’m still alive to have them.

         I turned to run when the damn thing started crawling out of the fireplace though he was going up as if he were made of dry driftwood.  I tore the poker from its iron sheath and smacked him three times hard on what was left of his head.  He slumped half out of the fireplace to lie still even though he was burning like candle wax.

          He smelled awful.  I ran out of the room, which was going up in flames all around me.  I was scared down to the marrow of my bones, but I keep telling myself that as long as I have laughter, I’m not without hope.  So I managed to yell over my shoulder.

          “By the way, Squishy, Trick or Treat!”                       

          If I had only known that the trick was on me, and the punch line would come for my soul in the haunted French Quarter of New Orleans.  Sometimes we laugh at the very time when we should be crying.  And we wish for all the wrong things.