Final Week for Giveaway

oneeyedjacksThis is the last week to sign up for a free ebook copy of the urban fantasy, crime-noir novel One-Eyed Jacks.

If you’re an Amazon customer, it’s really just a matter of clicking a button.

Well, probably more than one click, but the mouse does most of the work.

The only catch is that you follow me via Amazon, which I believe means you’ll just get a notice once in a while that I’ve put out something new.  That’s it!  Easy-peasy!

Click here to go there now and check it out!

Casting Call: Chris Pratt or Nathan Fillion?

Who will play the Jack of Spades? film

Honestly, probably neither of these guys, but that’s the fun of a fancast, right?  Today I’m going to cast the would-be movie of my new book, One-Eyed Jacks. (Which you can still pre-order at a reduced price until Halloween…)

Here’s the book description:

Rails End, California. 1980s. As a former Vegas magician, Jack knows the world is full of shallow illusions. That’s why he’s grinding out a new life for himself as a smuggler, counterfeiter and debt collector for a local crime boss, and trying to stay off of everyone else’s radar.

Unfortunately, keeping a low profile just isn’t in the cards for the Jack of Spades. After a little trouble in Chinatown, Jack’s employer decides to send him on a working vacation. He’s to retrieve some stolen museum pieces on the island of Saipan. But Jack’s not the only person on the job and the other interested parties are more than they appear.  Hell, they may even be more than human…

Urban fantasy, crime-noir, and Asian myth merge in this darkly entertaining novel of pulp adventure.

jacks-mama-miniThe story takes place sometime in the 1980s, and Edgar casts Steve McQueen and Tom Selleck in the two top roles.  (McQueen passed away in 1980, but Edgar refuses to accept that.)  If this book were being made into a movie today, here’s how I see it breaking down…

(Images omitted, unfortunately, because I’m not sure where the world stands on copyright and the internet at this point.)

JACK:  Our hero and narrator, the Jack of Spades.  He’s calm and collected with a sense of humor and sense of adventure.  He’s also the Wanderer, the Dark Stranger.

My top two picks would be Chris Pratt of Guardians of the Galaxy and The Magnificent Seven (although their names were different, as far as I’m concerned, Pratt played Steve McQueen’s character from the original movie).  He’s funny and charming and has a good disposition for this role.  Though, honestly, he may be a little too beefy for Jack’s part.

Not that Nathan Fillion is out of shape either, but I think he’s got more wisdom and subtly.  I can definitely see Jack being more akin to Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly than Star Lord on Guardians of the Galaxy.  I think Fillion might be the better pick for this role.

EDGAR:  Eddie is Jack’s partner in crime (literally) and the comic relief of the book.  He’s also a Mexican American who thinks he’s Magnum, P. I.  Therefore, Edgar would like to see Tom Selleck play his part, but…  He’s giving himself too much credit.  I’m thinking Michael Peña, who provided great comic relief in Ant-Man.  I can definitely see him as the tough but not tough looking sidekick to the Jack of Spades.

FELIX:  Felix Caterina, also known as Felix the Cat on the street, is Jack and Eddie’s employer.  He’s a relatively small crime boss, an older guy with a fast temper but a good heart underneath.  Let’s put Clint Eastwood in that part.  That would go great with one of his lines and make it very ironic: “You think you’re Clint Fucking Eastwood, Jack?”

I can’t tell you much about the rest of the characters without ruining the surprise, so these will be quickies.

ALMA:  Just a casino girl or more than meets the eye?  I have to admit that I don’t know any Filipina actresses off the top of my head, so I asked Google for help.  And they gave me many choices, but I picked the lovely Angel Locsin.  (I hope she speaks English…)

NAGASHI:  The mysterious Japanese man who seems to be watching everybody.  There are only a few Japanese actors I can think of, one of whom has that eerie quiet down to a science.  Hiroyuki Sanada, from SyFy’s Helix series.

PETEY JACKSON:  I wrote this story before I knew director Peter Jackson was a person, okay?  Just so you know.  And this casting is overkill for the role, but who cares?  We have an infinite budget!  Forest Whitaker of the up-coming Rogue One would make a cool cigar-smoking scoundrel!

MING & POH: Felix’s underworld contact from Hong Kong and her bodyguard. Lucy Liu can be both tough and sexy.  And Ken Wantanabe, from The Last Samurai and Batman Begins, has a nice, threatening presence.

All right, get those agents on the phone and let’s get this thing moving!

In the meantime, here are some places you can find One-Eyed Jacks.  Give it a read and let me know who you would cast in the movie!







Free Halloween Horror Story

Just a reminder: my short-short story Mime is always available for free!  That includes now, during the spookiest time of the year.

Crime-noir meets ghost-horror in this flash fiction story.

Mobster thugs Pauli and Mouse come across a street clown late at night who seems to know more than he’s telling.  Maybe too much.

But you know the best thing about killing a mime?  No one hears him scream.

Then again, by the time this story is over, it won’t be him screaming.

This flash fiction story is also featured in Eating in the Underworld.

Find it FREE on: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.

You can also revisit my rather Halloween flavored story Moondance at, an e-zine of modern pulp fiction and it’s always free to read.

Also now free, but not necessarily Halloweenie, is The Quest, a fantasy novel that also happens to be part one of the Tarnish Trilogy.

Praised for its unique storytelling, engaging detail, and heart-felt characters, Tarnish stands alone in the annals of fantasy fiction.

Everyone knows the stories of the Colors Three.  That trio of adventurers who traveled the breadth of these realms in the post-war years, stalking the traitorous Crescent Moons and bringing justice to those downtrodden left in the Dread Duke’s wake.

Tavern masters have been spinning those tales for ten years.  Ian the Black and Trevor the Red are ten years older.  More so, for the warrior’s life is a hard one.  And Gregor the Golden?  Most likely dead along a mountain pass, in search of more glory than any mortal man needs.

Who, then, will defend Redfield when evil rises from the Blood Marsh?

Billy Cole is the sixteen-springs-old son of Ian the Black.  Maybe older.  Being the heir of a legend is a heavy burden to bear.  And though “Billy Strong Back” is used to hard labor, it takes more than strength to become a man.  And more than a sword to become a hero.

You can find it here (the audiobook, btw, is not free): Amazon, AudibleB&N, iBooks, KoboSmashwords, & more.

Evolution of a Book Cover

A quick museum display on how the final (as in final, like I’m not making more changes, I swear) cover for One-Eyed Jacks came about.  (You know, that urban fantasy, crime-noir novel that’s up for pre-order right now…)

So it started with a sketch I made for what I was looking for.  Then I had to find an artist with much more talent than myself to make that sketched-out dream come true.

Years ago (2010, maybe?), my friend Dan Michael drew these two possible plans as further developments of the drawing I sent him at that time.  But, alas, 2010 wasn’t Jack’s year.


Jump ahead to this year, 2016.  I sent a new drawing with more Asian flare–the skeleton wore a samurai helmet–to Henry Ponciano, who had already done a fabulous job on the cover for my book Invasion.  He sent me three sketches to pick from:

henrysketches You can guess which I ultimately went with, though it wasn’t an easy decision!  He then worked that up to this png image, which has no background (as per my request):


Now, way back in the day, I used to have some talents for the visual arts.  Like in high school.  Maybe a little in college still, but since then…  If you don’t use it, you lose it, right?  So now I suck.  But I still like to try.  So I started playing with Henry’s awesome image and I came up with these book covers.  Well, these and at least a dozen others, of multiple fonts, colors, and styles, but these two I called “done”.


The one on the left has a great texture to it, but as Dan pointed out (still acting as a design consultant), it’s so rough that as an actual playing card, you’d never be able to shuffle it into the deck–it’d rub all the other cards the wrong way.  So I softened that a bit.  Then I changed fonts to make it look more like handwriting on an actual playing card, which I kind of liked.

Dan was working on this version (which I really like!) when my wife finished the one below:

In the midst of all this, my wife America decided she’d better help me out before I pushed out a could-have-been-awesome book cover with my own less-than-awesome design skills. So she put her considerable talents to use for me (*cough-cough-finally!-cough*) and produced the cool cover you see here.  And in a relatively short amount of time, too.  This is the cover now published by Fugitive Fiction:


I’ve actually skipped a few evolutionary steps here, but you get the idea.  There isn’t a huge difference from one to the next on the whole, but the overall effect of each is quite different.

To pre-order the ebook now at a reduced price (now through October 31st), click one of the links below:






If you’re reading this after Halloween, 2016, you can still use these links to find the book at its normal price, which is $4.99 (US).

Pulp, Noir, and Asian Mythology for Pre-Order Now!

Fourteen years in the making, the first short novel (now not quite as short) I’d ever written is finally ready to be published!  And you can pre-order it today at a reduced price!


Rails End, California. 1980s. As a former Vegas magician, Jack knows the world is full of shallow illusions. That’s why he’s grinding out a new life for himself as a smuggler, counterfeiter and debt collector for a local crime boss, and trying to stay off of everyone else’s radar. 

Unfortunately, keeping a low profile just isn’t in the cards for the Jack of Spades. After a little trouble in Chinatown, Jack’s employer decides to send him on a working vacation. He’s to retrieve some stolen museum pieces on the island of Saipan. But Jack’s not the only person on the job and the other interested parties are more than they appear.  Hell, they may even be more than human…

Urban fantasy, crime-noir, and Asian myth merge in this darkly entertaining novel of pulp adventure. 

 Find it at these retailers now at $2.99.  Once the book officially launches on October 31st, the price goes up to $4.99.






(Note that this new cover may not appear on some of these sites quite yet.)



Now Free on Amazon: Mobsters, Horror, and Scary Clowns

My short-short story “Mime” has been free everywhere else for literally years, but it’s just NOW available for free on

So if you’re exclusively Amazon (or nearly so) and haven’t checked it out, now’s the time!

It’s only been there for a few days and it’s already ranking high!

— #13 (out of thousands) for Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense reads under 30 minutes

— #16 for Organized Crime

Click here (or either of those linked lines above) to go there now!

Steeped in the Mire

The hardest thing about writing, I think, is the tenacity.  The keeping at it to complete a book, or at least a long one.  Short stories I can turn out fairly quickly.  Even some short books I’ve been able to get out in a surprisingly short amount of time.  But the longer books…  They take more endurance.

I’ve been working on Twilight of the Gods, which is a prequel of Hungry Gods, and the more I work on it, the longer it gets.  There are a lot more characters with a much, much bigger plot going on.  This one’s going to be a superhero epic!  But, damn, does it take a long time to write!

Which wouldn’t be an issue if I were a full-time writer.  Then my job would be to entertain all you fine folks!  I could do so much more!

But it’s not.  My actual job is much more demanding, with much more responsibility beyond myself or even my family.  In fact, both of those things are considered secondary to the greater goals of the service.  So in order to feed my family and stay out of the brig, I need to dedicated most of my time and energy at my “real world” job.

But, hopefully, I’ll be transitioning away from that job next year.  I’ve officially put in a request to get out of the Navy (yes, I have to request it, it isn’t an automatic thing) next summer.  I could go on for days about the goods and bads of being in the service, and I’m very proud of what I’ve done, the people I’ve worked with and for, and the places I’ve seen in over twelve years of selfless service.  But ultimately, I just don’t want to do it anymore.  It’s a young man’s (or woman’s) game.  I have a family now, and dreams other than those issued to me.  It’s time to move on and make a new life.

The bad side of that decision is that my whole life is about to be turned upside down, dropping me and my family into a situation where nothing is guaranteed anymore.  Uncle Sam won’t be there to protect us and nurture us anymore (or throw us into war-torn territories, for that matter).  Which means, I NEED TO START LOOKING FOR A JOB!  So that’s also going to draw precious time away from what I’d rather being doing, which is writing for a living.  Of course, at this point, we’d all starve to death if I hinged our future on that.

(Part of that starvation I’ll contribute to pirate websites and those who download from them, since I’ve just been alerted to another one benefiting from my hard work while I go unpaid for my labors.  Don’t do it, people!  You enjoy an artist’s work?  Then pay them for it!  Is pitching the artist or author a few bucks really that terrible?  Why pay some internet asshole instead??!)

Anyway, the point of my rambling (mostly to myself) is that my superhero epic is going to be delayed more than expected.  I may even push it back a month or so further so that I can shift gears and get a short novel I wrote 13+ years ago up and running and out into the world.  It’s an urban fantasy-noir-Asian mythology story that I’ve been afraid of working on because it’s so important to me.  But now I’ve realized that being afraid of screwing it up and therefore not ever getting it published, isn’t doing me or any potential readers any good at all.

So while I’m working on my resumes and job hunting, I may find time to get that shorter project done.  If so, I’ll let you know.  And then it’s back to the epic, one page at a time.

Thanks for “listening.”  And if you hear of any good nursing jobs opening up next summer—or even better, any creative jobs where people get paid to do what they really love (supposedly they exist, but I just can’t imagine—it’s called “going to work” because you have to do it, not because you love to do it, right?)—don’t be shy about sharing.

(It’s not that I don’t enjoy nursing, but it’s not my dream job.  I’d much rather turn out 4-5 books a year instead of just one per year, you know?)

Okay, better quit rambling and get something else done today…

* * *

p.s.  Another delay in getting more novels out (none in over a year now!) is that I spent a lot of last year writing short stories.  Two of which have been published in the last several months, two more are coming out this fall, and three more are out to editors, awaiting judgment.  “So I’ve been writing, honest I have!” I insist, reminding the stern glare from the mirror…

p. p. s. Amending this the next day: In looking through my old notes on the noir story I mentioned, I see that the first draft of Solitaire was finished almost 14 years ago to the day: 07 August 2002.  Wow.  Now I have to get that story done before any more years go by!