Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Poetry: Witch-Wife

"Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes." ~Joseph Roux

Edna St. Vincent Millay

SHE is neither pink nor pale,
And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
And her mouth on a valentine.

She has more hair than she needs;
In the sun 'tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
Or steps leading into the sea.

She loves me all that she can,
And her ways to my ways resign;
But she was not made for any man,
And she never will be all mine.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Introducing The Shades Below Shorts

Occasionally when I'm writing, certain characters just grab me by the throat.

This happened in a big way while I was writing A World Apart. Well, sort of.  Technically, it was two characters. And once they grabbed me, they wouldn't let go.

Their names are Emil and Puzzle. They exist mainly in the background, doing their own thing and minding their own business. Here's the rub:
Rev. Emil Stone is a curator of knowledge. He's part of a secret organization called The Ministers, whose mandate is to collect, catalog, and study objects of magical origin. 
Misha "Puzzle" Kaslov is a Peer, part of an underground order of knights assigned to protect the Ministers while they jet around the globe hunting down esoteric artifacts.
From the jump, I knew there was more to Emil and Puzzle than what I could show in the Shades Below novels. They wouldn't leave me alone (especially Misha), so...
I gave them their own series.

The Shades Below Shorts are a series of companion novellas all about Emil and Puzzle...and their "more-than-business" relationship.
This is a snippet from the first short, Ptolemy's Tablet:
Misha's face was so close he could taste him.  Emil struggled in his grasp.  Sweat beaded on his forehead as Misha twisted his arm still further.  The other man's face was cool, contemplative, but his eyes blazed hot.  "Do you know how easy it would be to break you right now?"
Emil didn't answer.  Misha tweaked his arm again, and he grimaced.  "So do it, then."
Misha's eyes burned into his.  "What?" His voice was quiet.
Emil didn't look away.  "Do it.  See if you feel better."
It shocked him how much he suddenly wanted Misha to hurt him.  When had he gotten so fucked up?  He didn't know.  Didn't care.  He'd made a mistake.  They both had.  The least Misha could do was punish him for it.
Emil leaned forward without breaking eye contact.  Tendons wrenched in his elbow.  "Do.  It."
He barely registered when Misha released his other wrist.  Then a warm, rough hand clasped the back of his neck.  Emil caught his breath, suspended between agony and bliss.  Misha's eyes dropped to his lips.  "Rasputnitsa," he whispered, "what are we doing to each other?"
Just one other thing. THEY'RE FREE.
Each Shades Below Short will be available via Smashwords for $0.99, but if you subscribe to my newsletter, I'll send you a coupon that will drop the price to exactly 0 pennies.
If you're a fan of m/m romance (that's boy + boy, for the uninitiated), I hope you'll check it out!

Find out more:

UPDATE (3.30.15):

You know how some things take on a life of their own?

Emil and Puzzle did that.

I initially threw Ptolemy's Tablet up on Smashwords with little pomp and no circumstance, and what happened? The boys ended up being popular! Who knew?

Thus, while my original offer of a freebie coupon when you sign up for my newsletter remains valid, I am expanding distribution. You can now buy Ptolemy's Tablet on Amazon in both ebook and print form, as well as on the usual Smashwords outlets (Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, iTunes, etc.).

Thank you for this overwhelmingly positive response!

Ptolemy's Tablet Links
Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

TEASER: Season Of The Witch (Shades Below, #1.5)

The next book in Shades Below is officially underway! Here's a peek, then off to the writing cave for me...

It was not accustomed to being summoned.

The night began like any other, not that it normally had much use for mundane notions of time. All nights bled together in the dark wasteland where it preferred to hunt. It was hot on some hapless creature's trail when it first felt the pull.


A gust of unearthly wind carried the unmistakable scent of its prey. Fear was a potent stench; addictive, impossible to mistake. It lifted its nose and drank it in.

Another pull, stronger this time. It snarled. No one, not even The Lady, had ever attempted anything so blatant, so invasive. Invisible coils wrapped around its insides and tightened painfully. Confusion. This was a magic it did not recognize.

But then, no one in its long memory had ever tried to bind it before.

Another gust of wind. Another whiff of fear. It shook itself and continued on, tried to ignore the increasingly sharp bite of this new magic. Surely no one in their right mind could actually be trying to capture it. The very idea was so foreign it barely registered; a distant, amusing flicker on the far horizon of its mindscape.

But there it was again, not a tug this time but a yank. It dropped to its knees mid-stride with a yelp that echoed across the barren terrain. An unfamiliar voice filled its head.

You belong to me.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Shades Below!

Shades Below, Book #1: A World Apart is now live!

A billion thank-you's to everyone who helped make this release day special. So many of you had nothing to gain from helping me out, yet you stepped up and stepped forward, and offered advice, reviews, spotlights, and support. It has been truly humbling, and not a second goes by that I don't appreciate it.

On that note, here's where you can find the finished product:

"There are things that go bump in the night, Mr. MacMillian.  It's my job to bump back."

Private investigator Jesper MacMillian was sure he'd seen it all.  After all, in a city like San Francisco, strange is what's for breakfast.  Following a long  recovery after a horrific accident, his life is finally the way he wants it- or at least, close enough.  The only monsters on his radar are the ones that keep him awake at night.

All that changes the day he meets Lena Alan.

Before MacMillian has a chance to brace for impact, Lena drags him into a world where monsters aren't just real, they're hiding in plain sight.  Suddenly, everything he knows is suspect, starting with his current case.  For Lena, a psychic medium since childhood, it's just another day at the office.  

For MacMillian, it's the beginning of the end of everything he thinks he knows.


March 21st through March 24th, get your copy for
just $0.99!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Cover Reveal: Sled Dogs, by Kendall Bailey

Since I started this game, I've been fortunate to meet some really amazing, friendly, and supportive authors. Kendall Bailey is one of those folks. We hit it off right away.

It's a tough reality that we can't always do everything for our fellow writers that we would like. Happily, Kendall's and my stars aligned, and today he's stopping by to share a little bit about his new novelette, Sled Dogs, as well as his journey into writing a female protagonist.
Without further ado, I give you Kendall Bailey.


I'm a little ashamed to say that I spent the first thirty years of my life not being interested in books with female protagonists. Only three stand out: Diary & Invisible Monster, both by Chuck Palahniuk and Carrie by Stephen King. Then I wrote a novel.

Writer's hear, far too often, how important it is to build a solid writing platform. In my effort to do that I found many indie authors, all women, who wrote stories with incredible ladies leading the way. In my search for an agent I discovered Red sofa Literary Agency, specifically Laura Zats. It was Ms. Zats who introduced me to the Mako Mori and Bechdel tests (if you don't know what they are, Google 'em!) which changed the way I approached writing characters.

I wanted to write a story with a strong female lead. Sled Dogs was an exercise, or warm up, for my 2nd novel which involves a woman investigating an attack on her daughter. I liked the result so much I decided to publish it.



The furry mass appeared on the opposite river bank. They sped down one side, straight through the water, and up the other without breaking pace.

"Come on boy! Come on!"

When the dogs were about fifty yards away Alia noticed the red stains around their mouths. Each dog's white underbelly was tinted pink, from this distance it looked like they'd done a sloppy job applying lipstick. Alia stifled a laugh at the image.

They were moving too fast and frantically to tell who was who. As they approached Alia squinted with concentration, trying to tell them apart. The dog at the head of the pack made a desperate full-speed grab at Alia’s left ankle. The dog lost its footing and went tumbling past.

The next one made the same attempt and succeeded in tearing out a small chunk of skin. Alia gasped and fell backwards into the kennel. The rest of the pack was moving too fast to adjust course and ran right past.

It felt like someone had poured molten iron over her leg. She scrambled to her feet and slammed the kennel gate closed, locking herself inside.

The pack came back to the gate. Dogs pressed their noses through the holes and sniffed loudly, lapping their tongues at nothing but air. Others stood back and bared their fangs; the fur on their necks bristling. Low, guttural, growls rumbled in their throats. Their eyes weren't the same, Alia saw; there was madness in them.

I need to keep them here. They can’t get to me and if I keep them here they won’t get Dad or those nice people.

Alia stood as best she could, being careful to keep weight off her left leg. The view wasn’t great from inside the kennel but there was no sign of her dad or the tourists. She did notice Chicago, however. He was going berserk. Throwing his weight from side to side, jumping around, doing anything he could to get free of the harness.

Alia wasn’t sure if he meant to help her or hurt her. He'd been friendly with the tourists.

If he tries to help me the others will…

It was like the dogs had followed her gaze. The pack noticed the commotion behind them and turned as a group. They headed for Chicago at a trot.


Want to stalk Kendall and Sled Dogs on the Web?

Sled Dogs on Amazon

Kendall's blog:

Kendall's Facebook Author Page:

Kendall's Goodreads Author Page:


Monday, February 16, 2015

Release Date: A World Apart (Shades Below, #1)

Buckle your butts, people! A World Apart now has an *official* release date!

A few links to whet your appetite...

Add A World Apart to your TBR list (and make my day)!

Listen to A World Apart's playlist for FREE on Spotify!

Meet The Characters
Get the stats on the cast of A World Apart and the Shades Below series!

Cover Reveal
Check out A World Apart's bitchin' cover, then hop on the blog train and read excerpts up through Chapter 2!