Superheroes Book Two


Yesterday I caught back up to where I was on Deus Ex Machina a while back, which is 21,000 words, eight chapters, and about a third of the way through.  Finally nearing the sequel to 2015’s Hungry Gods.  Now I start laying down new work and moving forward!

My plan to get the completed manuscript to my copy editor by the end of August.

Stay tuned!


Memorial Day Reminder: Discount Urban Fantasy, Last Few Days

Reposting this for the last few days of May:

To kick off the summer reading season, starting in the month of May, I’m putting a 50% coupon code on my novel One-Eyed Jacks.


“A great pulp noir piece involving casinos, gunfights, exotic women, and a dash of magic reminiscent of Big Trouble in Little China.  Fun, exciting fiction that reads like my favorite movies from the 80s.” – Barbarian Book Club

As a former Vegas magician, Jack knows the world is full of shallow illusions.

That’s why he’s grinding out a new life 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.

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

To get this book at half price, now through May 31st, just go to its home on and enter this coupon code at checkout: EA34W

Not a Smashwords regular?  Have no fear!  It’s actually one of the oldest ebook retailers, a pioneer of the industry, and is responsible for distributing millions of ebooks to B&N, iBooks, Kobo, and more.  And they take Paypal, so it’s easy and secure.

Get an account now, because each month this summer I’ll be sending out 50% coupons on a different ebook.

And don’t forget that two more books have just dropped as of May 2nd: my shadowy superhero triple play Masks, and the five-author superhero anthology, Hiding Behind the Cowl.


Find Masks on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, and your other favorite sites.

Get Hiding Behind the Cowl exclusively on Amazon.



Nope, You Only Have 2 Days (Changed My Mind)

A few days ago I experimentally reduced the price of a few of my books in a cowardly display of… well, cowardice.  And it makes me feel like I am cheapening my self and my work by doing so.  Bad me!

So I’ll be setting everything back to normal on Thursday, when I’m off work (before having to work all weekend).  So if you want it a buck cheaper, better do it now…



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

Find Hungry Gods on: Amazon, Audible.comB&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.

Find The Prince and the Darkness on: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, & more.


New Superhero Fiction: Chapter 1

You may or may not be aware, but my newest is up for pre-order right now at these locations: Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo!

Just the ebook for now, paperback coming later.

But how’s about a free sample first, eh?


This is Secret Origins: Book One.  The SO trilogy will be all about the histories of some of the mainstream characters in my other Identity Crisis Universe books.  This book consists of a novella, a novelette, and a short story.  And I thought this weekend, I’d share the first two chapters of the cover story, “Masks” —



The nondescript grey van turned left, without signaling, and rolled lazily into an alleyway.

Another car followed from a distance: a small, red Prius with the headlights switched off.  It was a hybrid model, capable of prowling the streets nearly silent on battery power.  That’s what the driver told himself, at least.  Truthfully, the payments were kind of steep on a gym teacher’s salary in Mesa City, but he loved that car.

Tonight he wasn’t a gym teacher, though.  He was a superhero.

Red Mantis allowed ten seconds to pass after losing sight of the van.  Then he crept the Prius to within a block of the alley, gliding along the curb.

There was no other activity in sight.  It was past ten o’clock at night, after all, and this was a small business neighborhood.  There were no residents here.  No one to notice any suspicious activity.  No one to hear a young girl scream.

He eased to a stop, threw it in park, and turned off the engine.

From across the street, Mantis could see that the alley was flanked by a small adobe-faced shop on the left and a larger, dark building on the right.

Papito’s Tailor and Dry Cleaning was a square, one-story structure with a large, darkened front window.  The mechanical centipede of the rotating dry cleaner’s rack made an ominous shadow on the other side of the glass, but there was no obvious movement inside.

The other place was a much larger lodge hall, three stories of dark brick.  The Honorable Brotherhood of the Sunset Horizon, the sign read.  The lodge crest looked Native American in theme: a red semi-circle resting on a thick black line, irregular, like a brush stroke.  A falcon or hawk soared above and a sinuous snake crawled beneath.

“That even sounds like a cult,” Red Mantis mumbled to himself.  “Why hasn’t anyone looked into these guys?”  He peered over his steering wheel.  “Huh.  Maybe that’s why.”

A smaller sign read: “Food Pantry: Tuesdays 5-7pm” and “Bingo Night: Thursday at 7”.

Maybe I’m chasing the wrong suspicious van

He looked at his watch, its face spun around to the underside of his left wrist to allow for the rigid plastic brace that was strapped to his forearm.  The digital display read 10:14:49, alongside the time zone and his current pulse rate, which was an excited 92 and anticipating more.  (Let’s face it, the watch had probably cost more than he’d needed to spend, too.)

He’d now allowed twenty-seven seconds to pass since the van had left his sight.  Too long.

Without another second of hesitation, Caesar Hernandez—the Red Mantis—popped out of the driver’s seat, adjusted the crimson plates of his segmented combat armor, pulled the pointy-frilled mask down over his face, and burst into action.

The big cargo van idled in the alleyway, its side door ajar, brake lights casting a sinister crimson glare behind it.  Two figures in shiny green robes, like shapeless satin gowns, were struggling with a blanket-wrapped bundle between them.  Or rather, the bundle was struggling in their grip.  One emerald-cloaked cultist was backing away, the other was still inside the cargo hold.

Neither was prepared for the stout, muscular man in red plastic armor who came sprinting into the alley in a wide-curved arc, heading right for them.

The Red Mantis came hurtling through a haze of scarlet-lit exhaust fumes and ploughed straight into the cultist standing on the ground.  The villain was blasted off his feet and thrown to the asphalt.  Thanks to his armor and mastery of balance, Mantis bounced off his victim and near-perfectly replaced him, catching his end of the blanketed burden.

Something squirmed and kicked inside, bound by hooked bungee cords.  The prisoner was petite, not much more than five-feet tall and little over a hundred pounds.

The man on the other end of the bundle stood paralyzed, hunched over in the van, shocked by the sudden transposition he’d just witnessed.  Mantis shoved the writhing thing between them, forcing the second cultist backward and feeding all three of them back into the vehicle.  The cultist—a brown-skinned man with a black scrunchie for a headband—stood with mouth agape and eyes wide in surprise.  His hands unconsciously fumbled with the human bundle as it slipped away from him and folded up on the van floor.

Two red-plated fists struck his bulging eyes shut and slammed him against the van’s opposite hatch.  Mantis then hugged and flung the man bodily.  The thug nearly cleared the prisoner on the floor and rolled against the extended van’s rear doors.

“It’s all in the hips!” Mantis bragged, panting.

He snapped toward the driver’s seat.  (His unexpected speed in the ring had always been Caesar’s greatest asset.)  A third villain, the wheelman, sat half-turned around, arm wrapped around the headrest, hipster glasses mismatched with his heavy Cheech and Chong style mustache.  Just as he opened his yap to fling out a string of curses, Red Mantis’s thick hands slapped onto either side of his head.  He squeezed and pulled simultaneously, jerking the driver half out of his seat.

The Spanish obscenities came fast and loud as the driver tried to wrestle with the forearms that had arrested his face, but he found gripping the irregular arm guards problematic.

Mantis pulled again with his full weight, dragging the now screaming hipster cultist into the cargo space.  He let go with his left hand, only to bring it back with a vengeance.

The blanket-bound captive screamed too, the high-pitched wail of a teenaged girl—Mantis had stepped on her.  The van’s hold was big, but not that big.  Collateral damage was unavoidable when fighting outnumbered in a confined space.

Then the entire world came unhinged: the van was moving!

“The brake!” Mantis realized aloud, spitting the words into the wheelman’s face, as if it were his fault he was no longer standing on it.

Selective darkness moved beyond the windshield as the headlights probed the walls on either side of the alley.

Mantis climbed on top of the kneeling driver and dove between the seats—but found that his broad shoulders with their (perhaps overly ornate) armored plates couldn’t squeeze through.  His head poked into the cab and came to an abrupt stop.

Just in time to see someone new appear in the headlamps.

Mantis gasped.  This headlong tumble into chaos was all happening too fast.

A figure stood before the runaway vehicle, buttoned-up in a trench coat with an old-style fedora on his head.  His hands flashed up as if to somehow stop the two tons of rolling steel.

“Move!” Mantis roared.

But the man only had time to stare up at him.

Half a second later, he was under the van.

Mantis froze.  Hunched over, shoulders pressed between the headrests, too stunned now to act.  The momentum of his attack had been broken and someone had just been run down by the errant vehicle, thanks to his rash, thoughtless assault on the driver.

If he was real.  Did he even have a face? 

In that flash of panic, as the figure had glanced up just before disappearing beneath the van’s nose, Caesar’s eyes had been convinced that there was no face in the V formed by the raincoat’s up-turned collar; nothing at all beneath that archaic hat brim.

His weight jostled as bodies moved behind and beneath him in the chaotic cargo hold.

The van continued to idle further down the alley’s throat, picking up speed.

Hands clawed at Mantis from behind.  Both cultists came at him again—were already on top of him.  The black scrunchie headband, swollen eyes, the hipster glasses, a bloodied nose.

Three men became entangled in a very tight melee, all on top of the poor girl bound in a blanket on the hard steel floor.

Have to end this quickly, he thought.

Luckily, this was his element.  Little did the cultists know that Caesar Hernandez was even more adept at ground work than slugfest.  His days in the MMA circuits had made him a consummate grappler.  Even tangling with two men at once wasn’t much of a challenge when his opponents were untrained in the arts.

He wrapped one flailing arm—he didn’t know whose—against his own shin and pulled.  Something snapped audibly, followed by a howl of pain.  The scrunchie curled to one side, no longer a threat.

Boom!  The van—and their world—suddenly crashed to a violent halt.

The dogpile of bodies lurched forward.

Mantis found himself near the bottom now, with a whimpering lump beneath the small of his back, a hand wedged against his throat, and gritted teeth growling above him.  He heard the click of a switch blade and saw the van’s pale internal light glistening off the thin plane of steel.

“You’re dead, muchacho,” Hipster Chong snarled.  He stabbed down to pierce the would-be hero’s heart, but the strike was blunted by his sturdy plastic armor.

Finally good for something!  The thought blurted across his mind, but his relief was short-lived.

The blade dragged itself across his red chest plate, dropped a quarter-inch off the edge, and found nothing but cloth backing to protect the sternum beneath.  The gap between plates was little more than thick elastic.  The chink in his Red Mantis armor.

A toothy grin split wide beneath the fogged lenses and their thick, black frame.

Every muscle in Mantis’s body exploded in an effort to escape, but they failed to free him.  His burst of motion managed only an inch of disruption.  Not enough to save him from the knife that was about to splinter through his breastbone.

The girl squirmed under him.  Once he was dead, there’d be no one to save her.

Suddenly, two gloved hands appeared on either side of Hipster Chong’s sweaty, wild expression.  Ten fingers curled around his ears and yanked him backward.

He disappeared with a yelp.

Mantis shot up into a sitting position.

Outside the van, Hipster Chong was stabbing wildly at a trench coated figure who now had the thug in a sleeper hold.  The knife landed several vicious points right into the man’s face, but he never blinked.

In fact, he had no eyes.  Nor any other features.  The head beneath the hat brim was smooth, blank.

He had no face at all.

* * *

Chapter 2 up tomorrow!


New Superhero Trio for Pre-Order

MASKS, book one of the Secret Origins series, is now up for preorder!  Order now and get the ebook on launch day, which is May 2nd.


A doomsday cult has risen in Mesa City. 

Signs of the Never-Ending Serpent haunt alleyways and nightmares, and the police seem powerless to stop it.  Medicine Man and Coyote stood against them and Coyote paid the ultimate price.  Her partner hasn’t been seen since.  Gone off the deep end, they say.

Is there no one who can save us from the End of Days?

Red Mantis doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he’s no stranger to combat.  And the mysterious Shadow Puppet appears impervious to death and everywhere at once.  But when faced with the true horrors of the Never-Ending Serpent, will these rookie saviors prove friends or foes?

Nakai and Nizoni Proudtree are Native American kids growing up on the wrong side of Mesa City, where it’s not cool to root for superheroes.  No wonder: the patron cape of the neighborhood is currently on a rampage.  Probably not a good idea to steal his car, then, even if it is for the right reasons…

Masks is a triple play of action, adventure, and pure pulpy fun.  Combining the classic conventions of the genre with gritty new twists, this trio of superheroic tales is sure to please comic book fans young and old.  The featured story “Medicine Man” also earned an honorable mention from the Writers of the Future Contest.  

Pre-order it on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and Kobo.

“But why do we have to wait until May 2nd?”

For one thing, pre-ordering is a great way to give a new book a little shot in the arm come publishing day.  All those pre-orders count as sales for that one release day, which helps it jump forward into a more noticeable algorithm on the retail sites.

For another, that day would be my Grandma Jones’s birthday, if she hadn’t just passed away a few weeks ago.  (There’s also a brief dedication in the book for her.)

Cowl_Cover_Ebook_miniMay 2nd also happens to be the release date for Hiding Behind the Cowl, a multi-author anthology of superhero tales that features my novella Secret Identities, which will actually become book two in the Secret Origins series!  So if you want a jump on the next background story planned for my Identity Crisis Universe, that’s the way to go!

To look into pre-ordering HBTC on Amazon, click here.

New #Superhero #Ebook on #KindleUnlimited


Eight tuxedo-clad felons are committing copycat robberies, mimicking infamous criminals from the late ‘90s.  Normally, the Phenomenal Five wouldn’t bother with something as mundane as bank heists.  They’re superheroes.  They’re supposed to fight monsters, thwart terrorists, and jail supervillains.

That’s what Silk Spider tells herself, but the team has her on the case nonetheless.  She’s putting her detective skills to work, as well the vast resources of a superhero HQ.  

She’s also jonesing for a cigarette.  And when she catches up to this new Eight-Ball Gang with her bullet-proof corset and denied urge for nicotine, she’ll make them sorry they ever put on their masks.  

Behind the Eight-Ball is a supercharged, superheroic story of crime and justice, action and adventure, fantasy and science fiction, set in the mature spandex world of the Identity Crisis Universe.

That’s the latest story from the Identity Crisis universe.  It was originally written as three chapters in the forthcoming Twilight of the Gods books.  But it makes a great story all by itself.

For the first 90 days it’ll be exclusively on Kindle Unlimited (click here), so if you’re a subscriber it’s free for you there.  After that, it’ll be everywhere: B&N, Kobo, iBooks, etc.

The paperback chapbook (only about 60 pages) is also in process.  You can order it for $5.49 right now via Create Space (click here), and on Amazon in the next few days.

(Forgive the hashtags in the post title.  Trying something new.)

Sci-Fi Boxed Set Still Available on a Planet Near You


The Out of This World science fiction bundle is still out there!  It may have run out of time on Bundle Rabbit, but now it’s a little closer to the planets you visit most often: namely, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and Kobo!

You get 16 ebooks for less than ten bucks!  You can’t beat that deal with a Klingon stun baton!  (Do Klingons use stun batons?  Probably not.)

Here are your links.  Get it while you can, before this super deal goes supernova!