Category Archives: Book

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ebook cover

Ready to read Chapter 1?

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Here it is- the first chapter of A Blood Moon Swindle!

Quinn jumped up in the air and landed in time with the heavy bass line of AC/DC’s Back in Black. Behind him, floating along in the air, was his Circle of Cerddoriaeth. Quinn had filled the aquamarine magical circle with as much music as he could find and connected it to his emotions. That way it would play the music that matched his mood.

Over time, it had developed a sentience and tonight, it perfectly matched his mood and played the Australian rocker anthem just after he’d struck a deal with Mammon, Hell’s Prince of Greed. Quinn kick stepped down the street while playing an air guitar just like Angus Young, AC/DC’s guitarist.

While Quinn’s air guitar skills were like his dancing, on point, his singing left a lot to be desired. Quinn’s singing relied on enthusiasm rather than any natural talent or skill. When the song ended, the circle thoughtfully played a thunderous applause. Quinn threw the air guitar out into the invisible crowd and took a bow. He slapped and rubbed his hands together. He snapped his fingers and fired off some finger guns into the darkness.

“Okay!” He said to no one. “Time to save the world, and a killer idea to stop a renegade archangel and his minions from destroying the world… go!” Quinn spun around and pointed at the empty air in another direction.

Nothing happened.

“Hey, this is just brainstorming. No terrible ideas here,” Quinn said to the empty space. “And we will come up with the plan to save the world… now!” Quinn pointed off to the side into the darkness of the street.

The other side of the Savannah, Georgia street didn’t have an answer for Quinn either.

Three women roller skated down the middle of the street. They wove back and forth, moving between each other with an easy skill. They kicked and strutted to the music that Quinn’s circle played as they rolled down the road.

The lead woman, a pale blonde with her hair flowing behind her like a 70s dream, skated along. On her shirt was a print of a massive oak tree. She smiled at Quinn over the rim of her enormous round glasses. She broke from their path down the street to circle around Quinn. She stayed just out of arm’s reach.

Behind her skated an Asian woman. She was small and precise. She skated with the confidence of endless practice. Her shirt had a woman pouring out an old jug of water. The water formed a stream at the woman’s feet. She turned easy and languorous circles without losing her forward momentum. As she circled around Quinn, she ran her hands from her hips up her body to her shoulders. She flared her hands out above her head.

The last was a woman of African descent, with her hair pulled up into a curly and barely contained Mohawk. She skated through the night with the power of the naturally talented athlete. Her cream ribbed tank top had red sheers printed on the front. She trailed her hands through the air, moving her fingers with the currents. 

The three women circled around Quinn, skating and turning in time to a song only they could hear. Quinn was very aware of the sweltering heat of Savannah. As they passed in front of him, each one met his eyes. And then without a word, they peeled off back into the night, pushing to gain speed. None of the three women looked back as they rolled away. The darkness of the Savannah night swallowed them, one at a time, leaving no trace that they had ever been there.

Quinn stood still for a minute, hoping the ladies would come back. When they didn’t, he let his breath out and sighed.

“Well, I don’t see how three roller skating women will help me save the world, so let’s get something else on the table.” Quinn snapped out some finger guns again.

From behind Quinn, there was a sloping sound of something wet hitting the pavement.

Quinn closed his eyes and bowed his head. He didn’t want to turn around to see what was blobbing into existence. He wanted the three women to come back. They seemed like a lot of fun. He didn’t want to deal with whatever it was gurgling itself into shape behind him. With a sigh, Quinn turned around to see something pull itself free of a membrane egg sack.

“Gross,” Quinn said. In his time in Hell, he’d seen plenty of these creatures. It was a Winged Horror. Winged Horrors were skeletal bird-like creatures covered in a droopy black tar skin. Every so often bones would poke as glistening black skin as bits dropped off the Winged Horror. Fortunately, they weren’t any smarter than a stupid bird.

They also weren’t powerful enough to come through the barrier between Hell and the world on their own. Something or someone had to bring it through.

“Don’t you love my pet,” a man asked.

Quinn turned to his left. A man wearing a tight leather bodysuit tastefully wrapped in barbed wire stood on the other side of the alley. The Winged Horror pulling itself from its egg sack.

“It will feast on your body as I watch,” the freak said as he bit his lip. He ran his hand down to his crotch to give it a squeeze. He giggled in anticipation.

“Pal,” Quinn said. “I am not in the mood for this. Why don’t you get you and your freak parrot back to Hell before I send you there?”

The man laughed in time with the Winged Horror’s shriek. The minor Hellish creature reared up on its back legs and spread out its skeletal wings. The black tar-like skin stretched out to form sagging wing membranes. Little globs of the skin dropped off the bird creature and hit the concrete with a sizzle.

Quinn sighed. He had first fought Winged Horrors when he’d started fighting in the pits in Hell. When he had first started fighting in the pits, he would fight them in small groups. In his head, he called the small groups of Winged Horrors a goop. The downside of Winged Horrors, they were too stupid to be distracted by illusions, which was Quinn’s greatest strength. But Quinn had more up his sleeve than a few tricks.

Quinn whispered and gestured into being a Crimson Chain of Chast, a holding spell he’d learned from Oscar. The glowing aquamarine chain sprang up from the ground to wrap around the throat of the Winged Horror. Quinn’s musical circle flared brightly and jumped straight into DMX’s X Gonna Give It To Ya.

The thing squawked as the magical chain wrapped around its throat. The creature pulled against the chain, flapping its goo-skeletal wings to generate lift and leverage to get free. Black viscous goo splattered as the beast flapped its wings harder and harder.

Quinn turned to face the leather-bound man. Quinn twirled his hand through the air, curling his fingers as he turned his hand to bring out a Circle of Hunllef. He added a Rune of Arswyd to the circle. It flared with a wicked intent, and Quinn threw the arcane circle at the face of the man.

The Circle of Hunllef with the added rune would show the recipient their darkest and most gruesome fear being enacted over and over again.

The man stopped in mid-stride as the Circle of Hunllef hit him in the face. He stared into the Circle, watching his darkest fear play out. He groaned with desire. His hand traced its way up to his chest and pinched one of his exposed nipples.

“Oh, you’re gross,” Quinn said. He strode forward and summoned his Wind Blade. The weapon of a fairy knight was powerful. It could cut through just about any substance in the mortal, or any other world. The neck of a Winged Horror offered no resistance to the blade.

The headless body flopped to the ground, ichor spilling out of the neck onto the cement of the sidewalk. It continued to flap its wings. The butt rose into the air as the neck plowed along the sidewalk, leaving a trail of green blood as it pushed along. Quinn took a quick step forward and kicked the body out into the street.

The headless body tried to flap its wings, somehow sensing that it was now airborne, just in time to be run over by an approaching limo. The shiny black body popped as the car ran it over. The green ichor exploding to coat the underside. The skeletal body got caught in the front grill of the limousine. One wing spur was jabbed into the car, holding the body up as it was dragged along by the car.

Quinn turned his attention to the freak in the leather suit.  He was on his knees now, hand furiously pumping inside his pants, masturbating to whatever horror was being presented to him by Quinn’s Circle. Quinn dispelled the Circle a moment before kicking the freak in the head.

The leather and barbed wire-clad rocked back from Quinn’s kick. Blood burst on his face from his broken nose. He groaned in disappointment as the vision of his greatest and darkest fear disappeared.

Quinn grabbed the freak by the back of his head and said, “I don’t give a damn who sent you. Whatever this is?” Quinn punched the freak in the face. “It ends. Got that?” Quinn punched him again. “Do you understand me?”

Quinn punched the freak in the face one more time and then threw him to the ground. He walked over to where the head of the Winged Horror was still on the ground. He pulled the pocket square he’d stolen from Mammon, the Prince of Greed, out of his jacket coat and grabbed the head.

“My dark prince will destroy-,” the man blurted through bloodied lips.

Quinn threw the severed bird-like head and hit the man in the mouth with it. As the man spit the mixture of his blood, the Winged Horror’s black skin goo and green ichor from his mouth, Quinn closed the distance again and grabbed him by the back of his head. Quinn pulled him up to a half sitting position.

“Listen to me!” Quinn gave him a shake. “If I see you again, I will do more than kill your pet bird. Go back and tell all the freaks, that if I see any of you following me, I kill everyone. Got it?” Quinn shook him again.

The limousine pulled to a stop on the road next to Quinn and the leather freak. Quinn took the opportunity and dragged the other man across the sidewalk. Quinn bounced his head off the side of the car. The leather and barbed wire-clad man fell to the ground with a groan.

A well-dressed white man from the heart of the corporate world stepped out of the back of the limo. He was about the same age as Quinn. He calmly looked at the leather-clad freak weeping over the severed head of the Winged Horror. He turned to Quinn and asked, “Having problems with Damned Ones?”

Quinn looked the man in the eyes. “No. Why do you ask?”

The man looked at the leather freak on the ground. The other man was pulling himself along the concrete, making cooing crying sounds at the severed head of the Winged Horror. He turned back to Quinn and said, “Our lord mentioned that you might need transportation and refreshment. He didn’t mention that you would also need to clean up. I believe you’re already staying at our Lord’s townhouse. Shall we retire there?”

Quinn smiled and said, “That sounds great! I could use a shower. Let’s go. What’s your name again?”

The other man held the door open for Quinn. He waited until Quinn was settled inside the limousine before getting in himself.

“My name is Edwin Thornton, Herald.”

“Call me Quinn, Ed,” Quinn said out of reflex. He dug through the small liquor cabinet. He poured himself a bit of the brown liquid. He offered some to Edwin.

“My name is Edwin,” Edwin said as he shook his head no. He pulled out a phone and tapped on it before putting it back down in his lap. They rode in silence as the limo took them back across town. Quinn was unsurprised to find himself back at the townhouse he and Del had shared in Savannah. She had said it belonged to her boss, after all.

Ready for more? Buy it now!

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Empire of Silence cover art

Empire of Silence (Suneater series book #1)

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Okay. So. Things I liked! 

IT’s clearly heavily influenced by Dune. That’s great stuff. Classic sci-fi/fantasy noble caste system. Based loosely on an idealized greek/roman medieval feudalism kinda thing. There’s an emperor. An oppressive church. All the fun space opera stuff. It’s set as a massive flashback of Space Hitler telling his origin story. 

What I didn’t like: 

It’s got the same problem that The Name Of The Wind from Patrick Rothfuss has. The protag is great at everything he does. Nothing requires effort from him. His Space Opera Hero status is wholly unearned. When he does make a mistake it’s forced on him by the narrative in order to move him to the next episode. 

Like the most egregious of this is when he’s a beggar in the streets. His best friend dies of a convenient plague that he’s immune to. He weighs her down with some rocks to bury her at sea. And walks away to the coliseum to fight in the games and be a space gladiator. Where he literally says “why didn’t I think of this before over the last 2 years?” 

It’s just- ugh, really? 

And he almost gets out of space gladiator status by stealing his dad’s credit to buy a ship. Which at this point, he’s been in hiding/poor for three years? When you’re hungry, you get REAL creative on how to come up with more money. 

Being able to steal your dad’s credit card without being caught to buy a space ship would be like #1 on how to get off this planet right now. 

Oh, hey, while we’re on the subject of space ships. Time is really handled weird here. First it’s “space travel takes time” so people get put in freeze sleep where they’re held until they arrive and they’re woken up.

Standard slower-than-light space travel stuff.

Except… later on people are talking about how they used to travel around all the time when they were younger. And they make a big deal about how old you are and how that’s different than the number of years that have passed since you were born.

And then they don’t make a big deal out of it and everyone talks about space travel like it’s Sci-Fi FTL Star Wars kinda traveling. It really gets to the heart of how an interstellar empire requires faster than light travel because when it takes centuries to get anywhere, it really doesn’t retain cohesion.


If you like Dune style space opera there’s some good stuff in here for you. If you like Kvothe and that series of books- you’re GONNA LOVE THIS. 

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cover image for Fortune's Pawn

The Paradox Series

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cover image for Fortune's Pawn

First book in Rachel Bach’s Paradox series

3 stars out of 5

I liked it well enough




Okay,  so up front I want to say that I’m giving the 3 star rating to the series as a whole, not the first book.

Lemme break this down: as I said on my Goodreads review for Fortune’s Pawn that I’ve read a lot of books that claim to be Star Wars + Star Craft = Awesome.  All of these have sucked.  All of them.

Except for Fortune’s Pawn. It is a mash up of Star Wars and Star Craft. There’s a space marine in power armor. She’s bad ass! She kicks, punches, stabs, or shoots her way out of every problem.  Devi is a fantastic “jarhead” protagonist.

Although she wouldn’t use that term. In the book there’s the SkullHead term that I think is supposed to replace that, but let’s be honest here, Devi is a jarhead. As a soldier, I use that term for Devi out of respect. She’s a great character.

There’s a well built romance between her and the shy/cool/aloof ship’s cool. He’s got a dark secret that she wants to uncover!

Oh, and there’s the Force. Although it’s not called The Force, and it’s not an all-mystical power out making decisions for everyone. But it’s the Force. There’s a space religion setup around it. No Jedi, thankfully, but yeah, it’s The Force.

The second book in the series is really good too! There’s a lot of twists about who you thought the bad guys and the good guys where. Lotsa ups and downs.  You find out the cool/aloof guy’s dark secret (his name is Rupert).

Anyway, Rupert does a thing at the end of the first book. It’s not cool. I’m not gonna spoil it, but it’s part of the ending reversal. It’s the sort of thing that ends relationships permanently.

In my opinion, it’s an unforgivable thing that he does.

Anyway, of course Devi finds the truth. She punches, shoots, stabs, and kicks her way out of trouble to snatch victory from the literal jaws of defeat.  And the book ends with Devi and Rupert (the cool aloof dark secret guy) locked in a small ship together.

In Book 3, Heaven’s Queen, the story takes a real crap turn. It’s like Rachel had a “star crossed lovers” checklist and she was going down the list to check off each point.  Like Romance Novel style check list of isolating the pair in a nice setting, they clean up and walk around in shirts/no shirts. Then a jealous old flame shows up.

It was so forced and annoying that I started skimming pages to get past that stuff to the rest of the story- which was still really interesting.

The Devi/Rupert romance really really dragged the book down and really lowered my enjoyment of the series as a whole. I thought she should have shot Ruppert in the head, along with the other two responsible for the Bad Thing that happened at the end of book 1.

So. Overall, I give the series 3 stars.  The first book gets 5 stars! The second book gets 4 stars. And the third gets 1.

Do I still recommend the series?  Yeah. I still do. Other than that forced relationship with Devi & Rupert, it’s a great story that I really enjoyed.

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Neo Noir Story Bundle

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Y’all, something kind of amazing happened a few weeks ago.

A few weeks after launching the Eight in the Chamber Box set I got an email. It was a fairly simple email of introduction and a request: would I be willing to participate in a big box set of Noir-style novels for Story Bundle.  Story Bundle is built on the same premise as the original Humble Bundle.

Humble Bundle went like this: here’s a bunch of independently developed games you probably haven’t heard of and you tell us how much it’s worth to you. That’s how much you pay.

Story Bundle is built in the same vein as Humble Bundle.  Here’s a bunch of cool books you probably haven’t read and they’re chosen around a theme. How much is that worth to you? That’s how much you pay.

Brilliant idea.

Well, I got that email and I immediately thought “Oh, sure, Scammy McScammerson, you want my book. Hah!”  Then I thought, Oh, what if this is for real. This would be a cool thing to be a part of. I better do some research.

So, I asked around. I talked to people. Did some reading. What I found is that Story Bundle was legit, and all the people involved had fantastic reputation.

I emailed back that I’d be thrilled to participate.

So what’s the deal with this Story Bundle?

Kate Sullivan, the intrepid founder and once-mastermind of Candlemark, put together a fantabulous StoryBundle of neo-noir speculative fiction. From space opera to swords and sorcery, from horror to urban fantasy, corrupt elves, werewolf cops, ghostly soul-whisperers, and Twitter-obsessed superheroes, it’s all there— just take a gander at that snazzy lineup!

Did you see the Concrete Goodbye cover in there?  Looks pretty cool, huh?

Yeah, I thought so too.

So what’s the deal? Well, like the inspiration Humble Bundle, the Story Bundle costs as much as you think it’s worth. It starts with $5. For that $5 you get Gods of Chicago, Mr Blank, The Concrete Goodbye, Trouble in Double.  If you think it’s worth more than $5, you pay more than $5!

Now you’re like “That sounds pretty good, but I see more titles than the ones you just listed right there.”

And that’s because if you go up to the bonus level you can get ALL the titles: Gods of Chicago, Mr Blank, The Concrete Goodbye, Trouble in Double, Green Light Delivery, City of Devils, Deep Space Dragnet, Hard Times in Dragon City, Fresh Hell, The Coconut Swindle, and if you sign up for the Story Bundle Newsletter  you get The Tau Ceti Transmutation!

How much do you think that’s worth?  Well, that’s what you’ll pay!

Did I mention that you can set 10% of your purchase to go to charity? Yeah, that’s right, if you buy the Neo Noir Story bundle, you can help make the world a better place.

That’s you doing dope stuff. Heck yeah!

What are the charities? Two that sit close to home for me. Girls Write Now and Might Writers. What charities are these?

Girls Write Now helps mentor girls so they can develop writing skills, leading to a more successful future no matter what path they decide to choose. From young women exploring writing to seasoned professionals practicing their craft every day, GWN is a community of women writers dedicated to providing guidance, support, and opportunities for high school girls to develop their creative, independent voices and write their way to a better future.

Mighty Writers’ mission is to teach Philadelphia kids to think and write with clarity. Our free programs combat the literacy crisis in a city where nearly half of high school students drop out and some 50% of working-age adults are functionally illiterate (can’t read bank statements, fill out job applications or easily comprehend news articles).

I have volunteered for a writing program like Girls Write now. The one that I worked for was for boys and girls in economically disadvantaged Texas schools to help teach kids how to write. The book those kids produced that year ended up in the George W. Bush presidential library.

I know, cool right?  Something I worked on ended up in a Presidential Library.

But, hey, Story Bundle!  $5 gets you Gods of Chicago, Mr Blank, The Concrete Goodbye, Trouble in Double.

If you go bonus level you can get ALL the titles: Gods of Chicago, Mr Blank, The Concrete Goodbye, Trouble in Double, Green Light Delivery, City of Devils, Deep Space Dragnet, Hard Times in Dragon City, Fresh Hell, The Coconut Swindle, and if you sign up for the Story Bundle Newsletter  you get The Tau Ceti Transmutation!

If you bought the Eight in the Chamber box set I was a part of you’ll recognize Alex Berg and Matt Abrams. They both had stories in that box set.

But here’s the link to The Neo Noir Story bundle: https://storybundle.com/noir
You pay what you think it’s worth. And you get to help make the world a better place.

Go you!

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The Art of the Con cover

The Art of the Con: How to Think Like a Real Hustler and Avoid Being Scammed

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The Art of the Con cover

4 out of 5 stars



A little history on why I’m suddenly reading books about Con Artists.  I had an idea for an urban fantasy series but instead of a standard detective like I’ve been writing with my Jack Story series, I decided to do something more fun; urban fantasy in a Sting/Ocean’s Eleven setting.

Which meant two things;
1) I had to watch Ocean’s Eleven and the Sting pretty much on constant loop. (skip Ocean’s 12 and 13.)
2) I needed to learn a lot about cons, con men, and how that all operated.

So, for Step 1 I bought the Sting and Ocean’s Eleven.  Great movies. Pulling off a heist or con is all in the setup and finding the motivation in their character. Like in the Sting they’re pulling the con in order to get revenge on a mob boss that ordered a hit on Luther, a venerated older con man. Played by James Earl Jones’ father, btw.

In Ocean’s Eleven, we don’t find out Danny’s motivation until we’re well into the 2nd act. If the movie has a writing flaw, it’s that one.  Oh, they set it up from the very first scene and sort of allude to it in conversation but it should be clearly sooner.

But it’s still a dang good heist movie.

The second- I needed to find books on con artists, cons, and the psychology of cons and the people who pull them.

I found this book: The Art of the Con; how to think like a real hustler and avoid being scammed.

And I have to say, it’s really good. It’s written by R. Paul Wilson, a man who has studied confidence games his entire life, and has produced, started in, and written TV shows about cons.

He breaks down the various types of cons from the short con that happens when someone walks up to you, to the mid game where you’re hooked into a situation, and the “big game” cons that take thousands of dollars from people.

Not only does he break some of them down, he runs the reader through how he pulled those exact scams on his various shows.

He even gets into the thinking of a con artist. In his view, and I would have to agree with it, that all con artists are motivated singularly by the desire for money.  They’re after the money, and they’re ready to do and say whatever it takes to get it. They’ll sacrafice everything- even their relationships- to get more money.  And they’ll blame you for letting them get away with it.

He also says that he’ll get into why people fall for the cons, but I feel like he’s less successful here.  This is why I rate it 4 stars out of 5.  He suggests rather than categorically states, that people fall for cons because they’re stupid or greedy, but because manipulated by social expectations and by the con artists.

I agree with all of those, but I also think that a fair number of people think they’re smarter than the con that they’re faced with. Like, take 3 Card Monty.  You can see that the game is rigged just by watching it for 3 seconds. But it’s easy to think everyone else is a sucker and we’re the one person who can pull this one out.

But overall, this is a really good book to read up on cons, how they work, and how the people who pull them think. If you’re looking for a book like that, I recommend this one.

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book cover

Out of the Shadows



As an American, I enjoy reading stories from non-American authors.  I really like the subtle and small differences in the usage of English slang like Take Away instead of Take Out.  Ashlee’s style is both eloquent and a smooth read.

Normally I don’t like a book that starts with one character that is “in the know” then switches to an “innocent” character who is discovering the world. I feel more comfortable as a reader when we start with the innocent and stay there. That’s just me.  Ashlee is an excellent writer, so even though that very thing happens here, I didn’t mind it and kept rolling with the story.

If I have any quibble with the story, it’s how the supernatural world fits into the normal world. It kind of felt to me like a supernatural world where everything was “out of the closet” but they’re not.  Frankly, it’s a minor quibble.  If you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll glide right past it for an enjoyable read.

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Book Cover

Dark Sacrifice


3 star rating

Dark Sacrifice is the third book in the Hidden Heritage series. I haven’t read a paranormal romance in a while and when the opportunity to read this book came up, I went for it.

Overall, it was a good read. The premise is interesting- it reminded me of Howl’s Moving Castle but more of an older/adult take on it. Not “ADULT” though.

The point that really drew me out of the story is that the characters often talked about exactly what they wanted to talk about. Which seems like a weird complaint, but think of that first scene in the Princess Bride with Wesley and Buttercup, right? She makes a demand and he says “As You Wish,” and we all know what they’re really saying to each other. There’s isn’t any of that here, and I think it really brings the work down.

I was provided a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Under a curse


So, I go through this cycle when I start a new project.  I think of it as my very own personal creators curse.

  • Step 1 is “Wow, this is a really good idea!”
  • Step 2 is “This is just so much fun! I love this idea.
  • Step 3 is “Huh. Hm. Well. This is a good idea. Well, I mean, I like it. But…”
  • Step 4 is “OMG, why do I even think I can do this! This is the WORST IDEA EVER!”
  • Step 5 is “Okay, I’ll just finish this draft and that’s it. No more.”
  • STep 6 is “Well, this isn’t so bad. I mean, with a little work…”
  • Step 7 is “You know, this is actually pretty good. Not amazing, but…yeah…”
  • Step 8 is “I AM SO SICK OF LOOKING AT THIS THING! Whatever! It’s done! I don’t care!”

Right now, I am firmly in Step 4.  The “creative doldrums” usually hits me in the outline stage. And I’m right in the middle of the outline stage. About two weeks ago or so, I really loved this idea.  Now that I’m working it out, I’m less enamored.  I know from experience that I go through this every time. What it takes to get out of this slump is to keep working on it.

I just gotta power through it.

If I switch to working on a different project, I will end up in the same place with that new project. So, I know it’s best to keep working on this project.

There’s a lot to be learned every time you complete a book. You get better at creating sell-able ideas. You get better at writing.  You get better at finishing. Being able to finish writing a book is an incredible valuable skill. There are an endless amount of books that have been started and never finished.

No one buys an unfinished book.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to go finish.


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Obsidian Son (The Temple Chronicles #1)


3 star rating

3 out of 5 stars


cover image

#1 Nate Temple series

I’d be remiss if I criticized this book for having an unlikable protagonist.  My protagonist, Jack Story, is designed to be unlikable.  However, I do have to say that the protagonist in Obsidian Son is unsympathetic.

A lot of people think that you have to make your protagonist likable for the audience to root for them.  You don’t.  Two examples right off the top of my head are the MCU’s Tony Stark and Mel Gibson in Payback.

Tony, despite how charming RDJ’s performance is, is not likable. He’s rude. He’s a jerk to his friends. He only keeps people around based on how useful they are for him. His treatment of women is deplorable.

Mel’s character in Payback is a straight up bank robber. There’s nothing likable about this guy.

But we root for both of them, finding them sympathetic, because they do what we consider to be “the right thing.”  Sure, Tony is all those things I said he was, but at the end of the day he straps on the Iron Man suit and goes up against the forces of darkness.  Mel’s character just wants his cut of the money from the bank he robbed. Not all of it, just what’s due to him.

Things we think we would do in that same situation.  Thus we find them sympathetic.

This isn’t the case with Nate Temple. He’s got a Batman Origin, his parents were murdered. He’s a billionaire. He’s got magic at his disposal. But unlike Batman, he doesn’t do the sort of things we think we would do in that situation.

Imagine if you had magical power and essentially unlimited money.  Now add in the certain knowledge that your parents had been murdered. How would you spend your days?

Hunting down your parent’s murderer or would you run around collecting rare books for clients?

Exactly. Nate  doesn’t do that. He isn’t Batman. He is living his life as if no tragedy had touched him. And has a rare book store.

But there are some good things about the story. The use of the Minotaur from Greek myths is fun. The bookstore sisters are interesting. The action is fun. But I found Nate to be unsympathetic.

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2 Weeks Later…

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It’s amazing how exhausting launching a book can be.  I’ve done it 5 times now, and each time it is an emotional rollercoaster.  It’s pretty much impossible for me to get any solid writing done during the whole time.

And this was the most successful launch I’ve had to date.  An “average” book will sell 200 copies in the first year.  Over a 10 year lifetime, they sell about 2000.  The Concrete Goodbye, on its first day, sold 61 books. On day 2, it sold 33.  in the first week it sold 175 copies.

It made it to the #1 spot in Pulp and Pulp Mysteries.  And #21 in Noir.  Not too shabby, huh?

Of course, that only lasted for a day or two. It eventually started to slide, and settled down to #6ish of Pulp and well further down in the other genre’s.  And with it the emotional high that comes from selling books.

And now comes the hard work of reaching out to reviewers, my mailing list to see if they can leave a review. On a recent Book Bub post, and an Amazing Insights post, it’s been proven that reviews- verified or not- are 90% as good as a purchase. The more a book is reviewed, the more Amazon bumps it up in the rankings even if there isn’t a sale to go a long with it.

Of course, I’ve also got to get cracking on the next book, The Nightingale’s Song. So, cheers, y’all!

I’ve got writing to do.