Superhero Kickstarter Launch!


At long last, it’s gone LIVE! 

YOU can be a part of the superheroic sequel to the zombies and spandex hit Hungry Gods. Contribute as little as two bucks and you’ll get a reward! (But more is encouraged.)

No sense in repeating on here what the Kickstarter page can tell you better. Check it out here.

And even if you choose not to support financially, please support this project socially: Share it! A nerd near you will be glad you did!

THANK YOU for sharing and for the support!


I’m Back! (In the Bat-Cave?)


With life being so busy lately, I have gone literally MONTHS without writing new words. I’ve done some revision work, going over old words here and there on some short stories as time allowed, but I hadn’t written anything new lately. Which then makes the idea of sitting down and starting again kind of intimidating.

What if I can’t do it? What if I try and it sucks? What if I turn on the faucet and no water comes out, just some coughs of dust and dirt and some unidentifiable rat parts?

Whenever I go back and read something I’ve written, I’m always kind of amazed: “I wrote that? Are you sure?”

Getting into the groove and writing is like going into a trance. I don’t remember much about it and there’s a big blank slate of time missing from my memory. Like being abducted by UFOs.

But this week, I finally got some time (and the courage) to write again.

It’s kind of like riding a bike, I suppose. You always know how to do it, but if it’s been a long time, the idea may be kind of daunting. You might be afraid that you’ll fall over and skin your knee. How does one maintain balance like that anyway? What keeps us up on those two narrow wheels? How is that even possible?!

But this week, I got back on that bike, or that horse, or that UFO, and it feels great!

First, I happened to find (by pure luck) that the Black Library currently has an open submission window. This is the fiction publishing arm for Games Workshop and thus Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy (now Age of Sigmar), etc. And I was excited to see that they weren’t just looking for Space Marines shooting stuff. On their seekers list of genres (still set within their own copyrighted universes, of course), there was also detective, police procedural, and mystery.

And since I enjoy writing noir gumshoe stuff, I decided to take a stab at it.

I found this right before lunch on Monday or Tuesday, and then spent my lunch break swimming laps at the YMCA. So between swimming and driving, by the time I got back to the office, I had a fully-formed idea ready to go!

Now, all they needed was 500 words and a quick blurb/summary, not a whole story. Which is great because who wants to write a whole thousands-of-words story when there’s only one publisher that can say yes or no to it? (Since it’s set in their copyrighted universe.) So I cranked out 500 words easily enough and, BAM, it was 90% ready to go!

After some revisions and some proofreading assistance, I sent that baby out. Now, the chances of it getting selected for a full write-up are pretty slim, but having only spent a few hours on it for an opportunity to get in front of scifi and fantasy readers around the globe? Well worth the time and the risk, if you ask me. I’m not afraid of getting shot down by then. Rejection is a natural part of writing (of life, for that matter), and my thick callus formed long ago. I can take it. It’ll be several months, before I hear back anyway, if ever. No response means—guess, what?—they don’t want it. It doesn’t fit what they’re readers generally pay for. Which, from what I can tell, is generally a younger audience than I usually write for anyway, so… Oh well.

If that happens, I’ll just change the elements of the story that belong only to the 40K setting and make it my own. The story is good without their stuff.

Moving on.

The bigger accomplishment—and much more intimidating monster—was getting back to writing Deus Ex Machina, my next big novel release. I’ve been back and forth on that so many times, and away from it for a very long time.

Last I remember working on it was in a Mr. Doughnut shop in Yokosuka, Japan, while I was on night shifts. This would have been about 10:00 at night and about the only place left open in town, save the bars, which are not quiet, conducive environments for writing. Mr. Doughnut was the only place open till 11:00 and when I was there, it was pretty much just me and the two young Japanese kids who worked there. And some strange, Mr. Doughnut-brand oldie’s station piped over the speakers in English.

Anyway, the submission package for Black Library was a nice distraction and excuse for avoiding DXM. But that was now done. And being Good Friday with nothing much happening, I squared off some time to make this happen.

It took me longer than usual, 2 or 3 hours all told, between reading to catch up, looking through old notes, checking back chapters for details, and everything, but I finally finished chapter 22, which I had started some months ago, and plotted out what happens next in chapters 23, 24, and 25. Which will then be the end of Part II. (I generally go with the three-act structure on my novels.) And it flowed well, I got somewhere, made some new discoveries about my characters and story I didn’t know before, and all was wonderful with the fictional world.


DXM is 60,000 words long now, and I project it’ll be no more than 85K when done. Which puts me about 70% of the way through. I had estimated 80% before, but I guess I was wrong.

Or I could be right—don’t know how long it’ll be until I’m done. But I can say with some confidence that Part/Act III won’t have more than 10 chapters to it. Once we crest that hill, I want it to be pretty much roller coaster speed from there to the end. Shit’s gonna turn bad real quick and force some hard decisions to be made by Spitball and his buds.

The writing should go faster at that point, too. And I hope that a lot of the deadly, hot lava formations from the volcano eruption that’s been my life these last few months will be cooled off by then, making it easier to find writing time.

Still on the Lava List: our damn taxes still need to be done(!!!), checking into the Navy Reserves, taking my semi-annual Physical Readiness Test with them, and finishing the purchase of and moving into our new house.

So, you know, nothing major… (YIKES!)

Also on my list is finishing up and launching my Kickstarter Campaign to help get DXM off the ground. Especially after the said volcanic eruption, I’m going to need some help getting cover art, editing, and voice narration done. That’s still coming, folks, so if you want to help, stay tuned! As soon as I can figure out what the hell I’m going to do for a video, it should be ready to go.

That’s all for now.

(Wasn’t that enough? you’re saying to yourself.)

Happy Easter and enjoy your holiday weekend!

(So what does the picture above have to do with anything? Nothing at all! I just needed some kind of image to go with this. *shrug*)


As Promised: 2018 Publishing Schedule

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I’ve been promising a prospective schedule for 2018, and finally, here it is!

Please excuse the delay, but (as you are probably aware) my family and I have had a 95% total life change—new hemisphere, country, job, school, etc. And the transition is far from complete, and the list of crap I have to get done (aside from my writing, which is more important to me than most of that other stuff) tends to get longer instead of shorter.

But rest assured, I have a bunch of stuff in the can for 2018. I realized not long ago that most of what I publish one year was probably written the previous year. Or even years before that. Much like big-time cheatin’ publishing, I imagine, although I’m generally getting stuff out in 12 months or less, while big publishers take 2 or 3 or more years to make their giant clunky machines work.

So here we go…

For one thing—or seven things—I have the GREEN-EYE SEQUENCE. Seven stories, from shorts to novelettes, that will be released over the year, generally one per month, and culminate into Green-Eyes Monster, a collection that includes all seven (and at a collective, bargain price).

If you’re reading this, you may choose to wait until the big collection volume comes out. Or you may not, up to you. Maybe you’ll just pick and choose the ones that sound best along the way.

If you’re signed up as a patron of mine on Patreon, you’ll get each story as they release. (Which you can sign up for at only a dollar a month (or more, if you wish), for those interested… Check out and for more info…)

The Green Eye Sequence will include the following stories (in no particular order):

Green-Eyed Monster. A short story first published by Meerkat Press in their Love Hurts anthology in 2016. It was inspired by a contest that provided an image and asked for people to write a story to go with it. I did but failed to keep the story short enough to submit. So it went on to be published in a bigger way by Meerkat Press. Oh, darn.

Platypus, an Orwellian dystopia. I first wrote this novelette in 1999 as the thesis story for my Bachelor’s of creative writing program at Bowling Green State U. I have updated it a bit recently for its worldwide debut.

Kiss of the Maiden. This short story can stand alone but was actually the first chapter of a proposed novel for a major sci-fi wargame universe. Sadly, they weren’t interested. (It’s a huge, globally loved universe and I’m sure they received thousands of submission. In fact, they are no longer taking outside submissions at all.) I’ve since taken out all the universe specific stuff that might chain it to that publishing company. At that time, I had envisioned a series of novels, and still do! Add them to the list of ginormous writing projects I still need to get to.

Hunted. Another story originally intended for that same media game universe, now geared up to be all my own. And as I am right now finishing up the final rewrites on it before sending it on to my copy editor, I am foreseeing a possible trilogy of novellas for this hero and his sci-fi mysticism as well.

Moondance. A noir-detective, urban fantasy story first published by Crimson Streets, an online magazine that started a couple years ago. In fact, if you’re really chomping at the bit, you could probably find it there now. It’s a fun little tale, for which I struggled terribly to find a good title. This one… works okay, I guess.

Snake Eyes. Written specifically to be included in this collection. It was an idea I had years ago—kind of a crime story with a single strange scifi element—which I was reminded about when I found a tattered little notebook in a coat pocket I hadn’t worn in several seasons. So this winter I sat down and made it happen. It also makes a good bookend for the collection with the title story “Green-Eyed Monster” since they’re both “eye” stories.

– And finally, The Proposal. This pulp-era dark fantasy short just got picked up by Doug Draa for Weirdbook magazine and will be published around November. So some of my eventual release dates will be contingent on that. I may end up publishing some of them in the spring and then some in the fall.

The main event for this year, however, is a book I’ve been working on and off for a couple years now. The sequel to Hungry Gods, Deus Ex Machina is a novel that’s part superhero story and part James Bond adventure, featuring rookie outlaw spandex hero Spitball and the Identity Crisis Universe. I’m planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help get this book off the ground. And I’ll definitely let you know when that’s going to happen. (All contributions and spreading of the word are greatly appreciated!)

DXM is 80% written right now. Hoping to have it done and in your hands by this summer. (If this whole world-shifting of my whole life cooperates with that plan.)

Other stuff not necessarily published by me:

The two-part space pirate adventure Littermates comes out in Cirsova magazine this year, too. Part one, I believe, will be in the summer issue, then part wo in the fall. That’s basically two short stories making up one novelette. And all related to the debut of Captain Leonidas Hawksblood and his motley crew in Cirsova #3 a couple years ago. I intend like a six-book series for them at some point.

So that was my planned 2018 as of New Year’s day. Then, just recently, a new deal has come up too.

Michael James Ploof and Traveling Bard Publishing have, just weeks ago, offered to republish the Thunderstrike Saga books under their label and have vowed to bring their resources to bear to market it and get it the audience it deserves.

I finished the big fantasy novel Tarnish the very month my son was born. He’s seven now. In seven years, Tarnish has floundered and been barely noticed. With Traveling Bard in my corner, I’m hoping to finally get some eyeballs on those books And if that does happen, if it takes off well, then the other books in that line I’ve had in mind for 7 years will finally have a reason to get written. So… squeeze those into my schedule too.

If only I were a full-time writer! I could actually crank out all these projects in months instead of years!

Prioritizing is the hardest part. What should happen next? I plan to get them all written, but which should be next? I guess reader reaction will fuel those decisions.

And by the latter half of 2018, I hope to start writing whatever that next book is. Will it be superheroes book 3? Fantasy book 2? A new sequence of space pirate tales?

It’s shaping up to be an exciting year for me and my dreams. So welcome to 2018!

(I know, it’s March already. Just go with it.)

My New Year Starts… NOW!


Or, now-ish, anyway.

I’m now officially done working the floor at the hospital. Nothing left to do here but checkout.

And sell our car, turn off our Japanese cell phones, pack out everything we own and ship it overseas, figure out where we’re going to live in the States, get David into school there without missing too many days, buy a house, start my new job, get into the Navy Reserves, and a hundred other things.


No wonder I’ve had an eye tick for last couple weeks.

No, really. I have. I’ve also averaged 4 hours of sleep the last three days. That doesn’t help either.

It’s when you have massive life upheaval like this that you realize, unless you actually make a living as a writer, that you’re writing really isn’t that big of a priority. It still is, in my mind and heart, it’s still the thing I think most about, but it sure as hell isn’t paying any bills right now, getting us across the Pacific Ocean, or feeding my family, so… Not a big deal.

And when I start my Master’s Degree this spring or summer, it will unfortunately take a further back seat. Which sucks. I love my writing. And I have more stories in my mind right now than I will probably get done in my lifetime. At the rate I’m going, anyway.

Although once I’m out of the Navy and settled into my next life, I expect to have more writing time. Eventually. And in seven more years, when I can retire from the Reserves, I hope to have even more time. Maybe by then I’ll actually have enough books out there that they’ll be paying some of the bills.

Dare to dream.

Most writers, in case you didn’t know, do not sustain their lives on writing alone. Even many of those published by the Big Five companies. Most writers are not millionaires. And the forecast is that fewer and fewer will be. The hay day of the millionaire writer is over.  I never asked for a million dollars anyway. A tenth of that per year, a twentieth, would suit me just fine. At that point I would consider myself to be a “professional writer.”

And I don’t know that I would ever stop working, anyway. I’m leaving the Navy as a nurse and moving on to teaching nursing school, something I greatly enjoy doing. Even if I were making a sustainable wage as a writer, I’d probably still teach at least part-time. It’s a worthwhile cause and I’m not sure I would feel satisfied with a life where I spend every day just holed away typing on a keyboard in the basement. I’ve always felt a need to do more for more people. I don’t know that just entertaining folks with wild stories would be enough.

And so begins 2018. Bye-bye 2017. We barely knew you. And we won’t really miss you.

Starting last new year (has it been a year already?!), I had stopped tracking my daily writing word counts. That seemed to be more accounting than was worthwhile to me, and sometimes only reminded me that I was not writing as much as I wanted to be. Instead, I tracked only words published, which I continue to think is way more valuable. A lot of people patter around on their keyboards writing words that no one ever sees. Published words are out there in the world.

So I simplified my tracking system from a day by day account to a monthly task account, further divided into quarters. This was codenamed “Stormcloud.” (I love to make up codenames. All my pricing matrices have codenames, my file for book blurbs is called “Witchdoctor,” etc.) So whatever task I completed or book I worked on would have a colorful entry in my spreadsheet simply noting what it was. For example, in January of 2017, I have some orange blocks that say, “SIDs finished” (SIDs is shorthand for Secret Identities) and “Kronos pubbed” (The Scythe of Kornos). If I did some marketing, sent out a newsletter, or some other writing-related task, I noted that there too. For example, in October I took a vocational vacation to the Oregon Coast and spent a week in a writer’s workshop learning a crap-ton about the business end of writing and publishing. That’s definitely in the Stormcloud matrix.

In 2018, I’m thinking of going even simpler. No more big, colorful monthly graph where I continue to track my every move just to justify to myself that yes, I did do something toward my writing career this month. The new system is codenamed “Scarecrow” and it’s just a schedule. Just a plan of what I want to get done in 2018. And it doesn’t take up much space.

Two major books: Green-Eyed Monster, which is a collection of 7 novellas and stories (some of which will also appear as solo stories once a month over several months), and Deus Ex Machina, which is the quirky superhero novel following Hungry Gods. And that’s it. And pretty much all of those things are already written or very nearly written.

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Much like in the world of Big Publishing. The stuff that comes out this year will have been written last year or, more often, years before. In the case of most of these things I’m bringing out in 2018, most of these words are two, three, or more years old and are just now, finally, seeing the light of day. Or were published in magazines previously, so I had to wait for the rights to come back to me. The shorter stuff was also waiting for me to have more stuff to package them up with, in the case of the Green-Eyed collection.

So how did everything total up? Was 2017 a good year?

Sure it was! Even though I feel, as every writer does, that I didn’t write nearly enough words and didn’t get nearly enough out for readers to grab onto, it was a good year.

In 2017, I published 81,500 new words. New, as in they’d never been published before 2017. Pretty darn nice for one busy-as-hell guy doing all this on his own. (With some hired help from editors, artists, and the wife.)

But when you add in repeated words—such as stories that were published by a magazine or anthology and then later by me too, or the books I revived from previous years that I had removed from publication for dumb reasons, that total is way more impressive: 274,000 words! Over a quarter million! Wowzers! Almost half of that is the revival of my Tarnish: Thunderstrike Edition all by itself, which combines everything so far in that universe into one volume.

Those totals beat out 2016, when I published 77,500 new words and a total of 99,500 with reprints and all. Which is still pretty darn good itself!

And according to Scarecrow’s estimates (like it’s secret artificial intelligence or something), I expect to publish about 100,000 new words in 2018, between the Green-Eyed stories and DXM. Plus (I nearly forgot!), I have another Leonidas Hawksblood space pirate installment coming out this summer in Cirsova Magazine. Two installments, actually, as it’s a story in two parts. That’s another 11,500 words.

Words already written in 2016, along with at least 70,000 that are done as of right now.

Which makes it easier. Especially with the HUGE life changes we’re about to go through. Having the hardest part already done gives me a full year to get them finished up, polished up, and out the door. All the while, going through massive real-life stuff, starting new jobs and graduate school, ensuring the family makes the transition without too much psychological trauma, and everything else.

So my 2018 is already shaping up to be a hell of a year.

How’s about yours? Leave a comment and let me know!



By the way, you can still grab everything published in 2017, plus a couple bonus stories, via the Swords, Superheroes, and Space Opera Bundle. Hundreds and hundreds of pages worth of fiction for only SIX BUCKS. Get it while it lasts, folks, because once I get settled into my new life and 2018, this incredibly cheap bundle of books is going to go away. (Click here to find it on Bundle Rabbit, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.)

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

(2018 image from, btw)

The Resurrection Sequence: Hitting the Return Key

portrait of a brutal warrior with sword in smoke

Amidst the swirl of life-changing chaos that is the maelstrom of my life right now (we’re leaving Japan in 2 months with no solid job, house, or fool-proof plan at this point!), I also at work on the next phase of my writing career.

Kind of the next phase.  It’s also partly the old phase.

“Okay, hold the phone. You don’t have a job, but you’re screwing around with writing?!”

“Well, we have a semi-plan and some good prospects, but we’ve managed to save enough that we can float for now and not drown. We’ll be fine in the short term and once we’re back in the States, we’ll be in a better position to figure out the long term.  But thanks for your concern!”

Anyway, after having attended and learned so much and been inspired by the Oregon Coast Masters Class, I have some proto-plans forming.  One aspect of those is what I call “sequencing” or “burst publishing.”  (It’s not that I invented the idea, it’s just that I don’t know what other people call it.)

The gist is this: instead of publishing stuff here and there as they come ready, and then having months in between releases, you save up related books/stories and release them in sequence, one a month, in a nice, neat string.

This has two advantages:

  1. It gives readers a nice steady feed, so if they buy and read book 1, book 2 is coming right along behind, followed right away (a month later) by book 3.  (I, for one, am so far terrible about releasing–or writing–series in any fashion that allows for steady following. Hopefully once I’m out of the Navy I’ll be in a better position to avoid that problem.)
  2. On the Amazon side of the house (which is just one side, by the way–they might be king shit in America, but they certainly aren’t king shit of the world), having a steady release, like once a month, activates something in their mechanism that says, “This person is a regular publisher, let’s push his books more.”  The algorithm likes that.

So my first sequence in this new vision unto the future is “The Resurrection Sequence.”  It has a few aspects to it, as well:

  1. The main “resurrection” thing is bringing back a couple of books I’d previously published but retired for different reasons. Namely, A Long Walk Down a Dark Alley (terrible title, but a nice, genre-specific cover) and the Thunderstrike Edition of Tarnish, which is basically a four-book omnibus. A Long Walk became Eating in the Underworld (perhaps not a severely improved title, either).  The collection has now reverted back to Walk and Eating is it’s own standalone story from that collection. Tarn-TS is still in the works. I also made a new, much cooler cover for my story Puppet Theatre and relaunched that.
  2. Republishing several (and eventually all–probably) of my titles in a new format using Vellum and with improved front and back matter.  (If you don’t know what the hell any of that is, don’t worry about it.  That’s more writer-speak than reader concern. The stories are still the same.)
  3. Launching my first single-author bundle on Bundle Rabbit, which will basically be all my titles Fugitive Fiction published in 2017, gift-wrapped as kind of a readers’ introduction to my work.  Buyers will be able to get $30+ worth of ebooks for less than 10 bucks.

Detective walking at night city lights.

But to get there, and in reformatting to Vellum, I am hitting an issue.  I am being haunted by the Return Button.

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

You may have noticed that I sometimes tend to write in big blocky paragraphs.  (Or have tended to write–past tense, as I’m trying to be more conscious of it.) As I’m re-upping older work, especially the 125,000 words of Tarnish, I’m finding that the asshole perfectionist in me wants to spend lots of time combing through and breaking up those huge half-page long blocks of text.

I think doing so will make for a smoother, easier read, but holy shit does it take time!  Time I could be writing new stories, of which I have hundreds to go!

Dean Wesley Smith would probably say, “Those old books are snapshots of how you wrote then. Stuff you write now show you’re improvement. Don’t waste your time on the past. Move forward.”

And I would agree.  Or at least I’m trying to.

But it’s hard for me, in good conscious, to republish those big ugly blocks when I could improve on them.

On the other hand, some of that stuff is 5 years old. And I am definitely feeling the withdrawal symptoms of not writing new, fun stuff. This old shit is getting to be like an anchor around my neck! I have to move on!

We’ll see how this inner struggle goes. Either way, I’m hoping to get it all out well before the New Year. But if I allow my insecurities and neurosis to drag me back through 400+ pages, I might not make it!

Planes, trains, and Automobiles


“Those aren’t pillows!”

If that line means nothing to you, you’re either too young or it’s been too long since you’ve seen that movie. But the holidays are coming up, so chances are it’ll be on TV. Just in case, though, here’s that scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on Youtube, via Fandango’s “Movie Clips.”

Why am I referencing that John Candy and Steve Martin holiday classic? Because that was my day coming back from Oregon to Japan. I traveled for about 18 hours straight, crossing the International Date Line and losing a day on the calendar. Two hours by car from Lincoln City to the Portland, about three in the airport, 11 in-flight, another 1.5 on a bus and then the last 30 minutes by train.

I’m not kidding!

But it was worth it. I learned so much at that Writers’ Master Class that I still, days later, am not prepared to process it all. And now I have to go back to work for the Navy (leave’s over), to night shifts, and continue my preparations for getting out of the Navy in just 2.5 short months! Whew! But it’s all downhill from here. Looking forward to the roller coaster ride into the next chapter of our lives!

Meantime, I’ll slowly be implementing changes to the way I do business as a writer, publisher, blogger, and general weirdo. Hopefully for the better, for me, my family, and even you, the reader eager for quality escapism and entertainment. Stand by for those.

The first will be a freebie book available to my Conspiracy Newsletter subscribers. If you’re not onboard yet, enrollment is always open. Join the conspiracy and join the adventure! I’m eager for feedback as I start up new and exciting avenues down the developing indie author pathway. And as soon as I get a chance to explore a new cybernetic delivery system, everyone on the mailing list will get a chance to test it out for me in the form of a free downloadable book.

“Join the Conspiracy!” Sign up by clicking here.

More coming soon…

(Note that this post is slightly out of sequence. I actually traveled before Halloween but the costume pics yesterday—and the offer for a free book—were more time-sensitive to get out there.)

Indie Writers’ Workshop Comes to a Close

I’m tapping this out quickly while waiting to board my flight in Portland. This week I attended the Masters Class from WMG Publishing, namely Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  A fantastic week of learning about the modern and future indie writing world. I have a notebook full of notes, carpel tunnel, and my head is still too overwhelmed to start sorting through it all. But it was a great week with a lot of great, like-minded people.

And as nice as it is to get away, it’s nice to be headed home too. One funny thing… I’ve been eating out for a week, 2 or 3 meals a day, and just had the best meal of the week here in the airport! It was a breakfast bowl at the “Beach Shack” — eggs, potatoes, onions, peppers, spinach, bacon and gravy on top.  Holy shit was that good! Closest thing to home cooking I’ve had all week. (Other than a nice spaghetti dinner that Kip hosted for our group; too much to explain there.)

Anyway, made some great connections with fellow writers, including a few other names you’d likely recognize, and got way too much of a to-do list for the future. As well as a better understanding of this business (and the out-moded old publishing structure that’s sagging into old age now).

For those interested in my work, stand by for some changes in how I do business and some experiments with new digital delivery methods and promotional freebies.

Also learned an slight appreciation for the technology I have thus far shunned… I don’t own a smart phone, which I deeply regretted when I wanted to take pictures of the awesome Oregon scenery and had no means of doing so. Maybe it’s time I get with the times after all…  (Maybe…)

Okay, gotta get my passport and boarding papers ready…