Monday, December 9, 2013

Dirty Magick LA - Now In Paperback

It's crammed with awesomeness, and you can get it in paperback now, as well as ebook.

That's all. Please resume your normal web-surfing activities.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Author Interview - Paul DeBlassie III and The Unholy

Today I bring you an interview with Dr. Paul DeBlassie III, author of a remarkable novel called The Unholy. It's a tense thriller, a story of a life-and-death struggle, a nail-biting suspense story, and also much more. The novel explores issues of religion, spirituality, the clash of cultures, and the clash of faiths. It's set in New Mexico, against the vivid cultural backdrop of mestizos and traditional healing. Paul DeBlassie III is uniquely qualified to write this story, but I'll let him explain why.

I get the impression that The Unholy is a book only you could write, because of the setting, and because of your own background. Let's start with the setting. Tell me about Aztlan.
Aztlan is the mythopoeic realm of the mestizos (mixed bloods of southwestern United States). I am mestizo. Aztlan is New Mexico, especially  the region of Albuquerque (southern Aztlan) and Santa Fe (northern Aztlan) and extends to the four corners area. Spirits, dreams, visions, and natural magic are woven seamlessly into everyday life.

Your protagonist, Claire Sanchez, is a curandera, a term which roughly translates as "Medicine Woman." What exactly is a curandera? What led you to choose this occupation for your heroine?
A curandera is a healer. She spoke to me as the story evolved, told me who she was and told me of her struggle to find herself. The path of a healer is fraught with danger. She dramatizes the life of so many women and men seeking to face their fears, find themselves, and walk the path of healing, natural magic, and life.
Faith and religion are central themes of The Unholy. You explore the abuse of religion and the conflict that can come from spirituality. What would you say is the central theme or message of The Unholy? What impact are you hoping to have on your readers?
The central message of The Unholy is Religion Kills. It is made explicit at the end of the tale. News media broadcast Religion Kills as they describe the battle between the evil Archbishop and the young curandera.

You live in New Mexico, in the general area where the novel is set. How has this affected the writing of The Unholy? How important was your knowledge of the places and people and culture? What kinds of personal knowledge did you draw on as you crafted your characters and setting?
New Mexico is Aztlan. My lineage reaches back for over three hundred years in Aztlan, a long line of medicine people, healers.  I live here, breathe its air, am sheltered under the canopy of its turquoise sky. The Unholy and the natural magic of the medicine women, forces of darkness and light, exist side by side in the daily, mythopoeic realm of Aztlan. I live here. It is my homeland.
How has your training and experience as a psychologist impacted your writing in general? 
For over thirty years I have treated survivors of the dark side of religion. I chose to write a novel about this human drama. Stories cut to the chase. I’ve written three other books in psychology and spirituality, but there is nothing like stirring the imagination via story to set the mind working and the heart healing.

I know you've had some specific experiences in your role as a psychologist that led to your decision to write this book. Tell me about that.
Religion can be both terrifying and damaging. I help people to heal from the dark side of religion. Decades of such experience led me to write this book and the ones that will follow. Each phantasmagoric story, much like The Unholy, plumbs the dark and light sides of human nature and spiritual experience. 

The cover image for The Unholy is striking and haunting, and it's not just some random stock photo. Tell me about that picture.
It is the Devil’s Throne, an actual site between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The evil archbishop performs atrocities there. The land has been contaminated by evil, women desecrated, the air itself befouled. It is the Devil’s Throne in the realm of Azltan!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dirty Magick Is Here

It's here! Lucky Mojo Press's Dirty Magick: Los Angeles is available for Kindle and Nook, with the paperback coming soon. 

It's a collection of hard-boiled crime stories with magic as an essential component, each story set in the City of Angels, where noir was born. It's the first in a projected series of anthologies, each to be set in a different city. Last I heard, New Orleans was next on the list. There are some fun, cool stories by some talented authors, including Yours Truly.

Buy it for the Nook here:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Here Be Monsters

I just got my contributor's copy of Here Be Monsters 8 - Widows, Orphans, Bastards, and it looks COOL! I should clarify that it's not actually about monsters in the traditional sense, though my story has a monster of sorts in it. Rather, it's a collection of really cool speculative fiction short stories. Kind of literary, while still being thoroughly entertaining. In all modesty I have to say it's high-quality stuff, and I am quite proud to be in the anthology. It's a fun read with some truly excellent stories, and I encourage you to check it out.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book Review - Dracula

I just finished reading Bram Stoker's original novel, Dracula, for the first time. I read some sort of kids' abridged version thirty years ago, but I quickly realized as I read that I didn't know squat about the story.

The first thing that struck me about it is how effectively suspenseful and atmospheric it is. I mean, it's SPOOKY! Vampires aside, it's a classic of the gothic tradition, especially the first section when Johnathan Harker is trapped in Dracula's castle. It makes excellent use of the setting, and the Transylvanian wilderness, the superstitious locals, and the creepy old castle really come to life. 

The later section when Lucy is slowly being drained is excruciating and riveting. The endless succession of setbacks and minor victories had me constantly hoping she could be saved, but constantly fearing the worst. When Van Helsing breaks into her tomb and calmly discusses the necessity of cutting off her head, it made my skin crawl.

Overall I'd say Dracula stands up reasonably well for being more than a hundred years old. (I mean the book, not the dude, who also is in remarkably good shape despite his extreme age.) Certainly it's a bit dated, especially in its almost comical view of women. Some of the characterization is absurdly simplistic, and some of the prose gets a bit purple, but overall it wasn't a bad read at all.

I was surprised to find that Stoker's rules for vampires aren't the same as the general standard you see these days. Dracula could walk around in broad daylight, for instance. On the other hand, he had quite a long, arbitrary list of unexpected limitations. His invasion of London turned into a bizarre logistical exercise as he imported boxes of cursed Transylvanian dirt to which he had to return every day at dawn.

Another thing that struck me was how pervasive Christianity was in the story. I think atheism and skepticism would have been nearly-incomprehensible concepts to Stoker and his contemporaries. Christian faith permeates the book. When Stephen King revisited the topic of old-school vampires in 'Salem's Lot, he explained the impact of crucifixes and the like as deriving their power from the wielder's belief, not from God or Jesus directly. In Dracula, though, Christianity is utterly intrinsic to the story.

The epistolary structure of the novel - it's all diary entries, letters, and documents - felt a bit gimmicky to me, but it was fairly effective. It lets the author use first-person narration with all of the strengths of immediacy and close identification that it brings, while still telling the story from multiple points of view. There were problems. People wrote things in their journals that were cringingly personal, despite knowing that the others would be reading everything. Overall, though, the "diaries and letters" approach works reasonably well.

A big part of the plot hinges on a preposterous coincidence, that Johnathan Harker, the lawyer who encounters Dracula in Transylvania, is engaged to the best friend of the woman Dracula randomly selects as his first English victim, thus bringing all of Dracula's opponents together. I would say it's the novel's one significant structural flaw, and it's a humdinger, but on the other hand it's easy to ignore.

All in all I'd call Dracula far from perfect, but still solidly entertaining after all these years and well worth checking out if you haven't read it. There are annotated and illustrated versions out there, but you can get the basic novel from Amazon for free.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Dance of Cloaks

The Underworld rules the city of Veldaren. Thieves, smugglers, assassins… they fear only one man.

High on my to-be-read list is A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish, now re-released by Orbit Books. It's a dark, gritty, hard-edged tale of assassins and gangsters, magic and intrigue. Dalglish self-published the book a few years back, and it did very well. Now he's worked with Orbit to significantly improve a manuscript that was already quite solid.

The Shadowdance series continues in A Dance of Blades and A Dance of Mirrors.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Anthology Wins Aurora

Blood and Water, a fascinating anthology from Bundoran Press, just won itself an Aurora Award for "Best Related Work." Congratulations to all involved, including, I must add modestly, yours truly, who has a story in the anthology.

It's a collection of stories about the resource conflicts sure to arise in the next 50-100 years, and the roles Canadians might play in addressing those problems. There's some excellent stuff in there, and I recommend it. Get it at Amazon here or from Bundoran Press at

Friday, July 19, 2013

Steampunk Short Film - Airlords of Airia

Does your mind need a good boggling? No problem, I've got you covered. Airlords of Airia is... well, you just have to see it. I mean, you HAVE to.

Teaser Trailer

Full Film

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Creating a Plausible and Consistent Fantasy World - A guest post from Carole McDonnell

Today's guest post is from Carole McDonnell, author of The Constant Tower, a thought-provoking fantasy novel that sidesteps the expected in a lot of really fascinating ways. I asked her to write about her world-building process. Specifically, I asked her how to be original and plausible in creating a fantasy world. The Constant Tower isn't set in the generic post-Tolkien fantasy world we've seen so many times. How did you create it? What were the challenges? Here's Carole with her reply.

I had had a dream of a world where each morning the inhabitants of a city woke to find the landmarks and geography of their city changed as if someone had moved around a jigsaw puzzle. Except that, a tower was always constant. I didn't write that story but I started thinking. In the end, I wrote a story where the world stayed put but people were tossed around all over the planet.

After that, I began thinking about how would society develop on such a planet. I like walking around in the worlds I create. I like using and seeing every possibility and permutation of a particular system. It’s like a game to me. Given situation A, how would B, appear? And how would B appear if C is present? I do that in all my stories.  I’m always trying to see how all the organic possibilities of a possible situation.

For instance: there is the technological issue:
Technology is about controlling our life and making life livable.
What happens if there are degrees of control? What is the danger of this situation? The worst danger: being separated from those you love. How would people deal with that possibility of separation? Why, of course, they would live in longhouses. They would, of course, fear the night. How much warning would the inhabitants of this world have each night before the night did its separating work? Because it’s technology, we have to allow that not every clan has the same amount or kind of technology — in this case “tower science” or “tower lore.”  Because the towers have some control over the night.

Technology is connected with wealth. This means some cultures will be wealthier than others. Of course there are many technologies in the world. No one technology rules the world, but there are sciences that are more important than others. This makes some clans more powerful than others. In addition, there are poor folks in the world. Poor folks, and solitary folks, of whatever clans, are less in control of their fate than rich folks or folks who have a more advanced clan/culture.

Wouldn't the most knowledgeable clans have more linguistic knowledge? Wouldn't they have treaties? Humans being humans, people will want to protect what they own. But humans being humans, what do the haves owe the have-nots? What would ownership be like on such a planet?

The theological aspect: Why is the world like this? Is this problem of the night normal to this world? Or was it a theological curse of some kind? Can night be restored?  Of course, because it’s a theological question, there is the problem of belief. Some folks will believe some things, others will believe other doctrines, and some will not believe at all.  What about courtship rituals and marriage? What would the god of such a planet consider important?  Are animals affected by this particular situation?

There is also the communication aspect. How do strangers react to each other if they are equally tossed about by the night? What if there is disparity between the strangers?  How would family be defined? How would war be defined? How would culture be defined?

Of course all this seems like an analytical outline. I didn't really think analytically in the beginning. I simply walked into that world and wrote what I saw. I saw that some clans had power, some did not. Some clans liked being rooted to the same spot. (But what prevented them from continually staying in one spot?) Some clans liked being night-tossed. Their idea of a Permanent Home is the afterlife.

I saw the towers. Some of them quite powerful, some of them petulant, some of them failing, some of them angry at humans. Then I wondered…what would happen if the towers fail? All good fantasies need a looming disaster and heroes who can save the world or help the world move from one era to the next.

I think the only way to create a plausible world is to create plausible people who inhabit that world.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Creating a Plausible Future World

Earth lies in ruins, destroyed by an unknown enemy. Humanity flees their burning homeworld, seeking a safe place to hide before they can be hunted down and eradicated.

Today's guest post if from Andrew Saxsma, author of Lonely Moon, a gripping science fiction tale about a ship's captain taking charge of the tattered remnants of humanity as an implacable enemy tries to wipe them out. I asked Andrew to write about world creation. How do you create a consistent, plausible future world? What changes, and what stays the same? How do you give the reader enough information to understand this invented environment without turning it into a lecture on made-up science? Here's Andrew to tell you how it's done.

When Enough is...well, Enough.

Sci-fi writers have a challenge, right from the start.  This challenge, although not technically genre specific, keeps our belts a little tighter.  It’s that elephant in the corner, wagging his trunk at you while he eats his peanuts, nodding his head and saying, “It’s too much.  You’re gonna’ bore ‘em before ya’ hook ‘em!”  And, sadly, more often than not, he’s right.  Dammit Dumbo!

The question we face, as we write, is when is enough, enough?  Lemme’ explain.

You’ve got a recipe for a cake in front of you.  Beside that are your ingredients; your eggs, your butter, sugar, milk, etc. etc.  
You throw them all into your bowl, blend ‘em up real nice, and slop it into your cake pan then toss it on into the oven.  Pay attention now, ‘cuz this is where it gets good.  You don’t cook the cake long enough, it’s runny and you can’t serve it up.  Bake it too long, you lose flavor and it’s hard to swallow.  But, if you bake it just right, you get the nice shape, the bouncy texture, and you get to bring a smile to someone’s face.   Get it?  Kind of?  Okay.

Let’s dig a little deeper then, eh?

Science Fiction allows us to travel from New York City to Alpha Centauri, from our homes, our bedrooms, to the stars and anywhere else we’ve bought a ticket for.  But how did we get there?  Did we take an orbital elevator for two from Cape Canaveral to an orbiting space station?  Or, perhaps, we’re riding aboard an intergalactic cruise-liner propelled through an ionized hyperspace gate?  Getting lost in the details, for sci-fi writers, is like seeing a $100 bill on the sidewalk; sometimes it’s too good to pass up.  As a writer, it becomes too easy, quite quickly, to lose yourself in the description, to really roll our sleeves up and pull out the blueprints to that warp engine, to tell you when and who invented it, to tell you how it links with other computer systems through an intricate array of pistons and flux capacitors, and it can, sometimes, make a good cup of coffee.  I’m only being half-serious.  Point is, kiddo’s, it becomes boring drivel.  We over-explain, over-elaborate, and over-extend our rudimentary belief that you care about the weight of an Iron molecule on Pluto when Bruno just kissed Jess.  Some may, and that’s A-Okay.  But, let’s get back to some basic fundamentals of story telling.  That is, after all, the purpose of fiction.

Alright, we’re getting closer.  Don’t let me lose you now, we’ve almost landed.

Brian Aldiss was on to something when he said, ‘Science Fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts.’  There is some truth to those words.  I know I’m not only speaking for myself when I say that as a sci-fi author, I’m more or less lying responsibly.  I don’t have a degree in Astrophysics.  I couldn’t tell you how to calculate how fast a meteor is moving, so why should I expect you to understand the formula?  If you can and you do, I apologize.

The Challenge:  How not to bore readers while we have to explain technologies that may or may not exist yet.

The answer then becomes this: Great stories always originate from wonderful characters who are as real as you or I, and these “Greats” effortlessly blend these characters with the scientific creations/innovations of the worlds and realities they inhabit, without tossing a wrench in the cog, without slowing down the machine, so to speak.  They don’t drown you in the details.  And that’s the moral of the story, isn’t it?  If it doesn’t move the story or create conflict, then give them no more than they need to know.  It’s that easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  

About the Author : Andrew Saxsma is the author of two novels, Lonely Moon and Redial.  His short stories have appeared everywhere from the Danse Macabre to Trembles Horror Magazine.  His style is eclectic and to the point, with some polished flowery imagery for flavoring.  His ideas are sharp and grisly, dealing with the fringes of reality, the things you hear on a dark stormy night, the things you dream about as you stare into the starry sky; the things with no names.  If the world of Literature was a full-bodied woman, his writing would be the hosiery, tight and fitting.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shifters Charity Horror Anthology

Hazardous Press has just released Shifters, an anthology of shape-shifting stories to benefit     the American Humane Association's Red Star Rescue Team, which provides disaster response services for pets and domestic animals. Here's the publisher's description:

Reimagined fairy tales, western skinwalker legends come to life, scorching erotica, And of course, werewolves!

There are 39 stories in this collection, including one by yours truly. The stories are entertaining and the cause is worthwhile. The anthology is available as an ebook and in paperback.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Blogger - Rose Wynters

Today I've got a guest post from urban fantasy author Rose Wynters, creator of the Endurers series, smoking hot novels about demon hunters and curvaceous ladies. I asked her if she could write about some of the challenges of writing a series, such as keeping things fresh across multiple books, and telling a satisfying story in one book while making it part of a larger story arc. Take it away, Rose:  

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Brent!

I love everything that falls into the paranormal or science fiction category. I guess I always have, I still have the Star Trek: The Next Generation VHS tapes to prove it. It seems like yesterday I was a teenager that used to live to record those episodes on my VCR.

I'm also a huge fan of horror movies, especially when it comes to zombies, vampires, or werewolves. So I suppose it was only natural for me to one day write these. As a writer, I couldn't imagine trying to write a book with a setting that didn't genuinely appeal to me! 

When it comes to creating a series, you have to first create the setting. For some, this seems to come to them quickly, while others have to work at it. I've read interviews of authors such as Stephen King or  Stephanie Meyer actually basing their plots off of their dreams. Regardless of how a writer comes up with their world, it has to be something that works for them.

Personally, I prefer writing series. My characters are so real and multifaceted that I couldn't imagine trying to pack that into just one book! Keeping good notes about your characters and setting helps a lot. Sometimes you might even be driving along and think of something that fits perfectly with the world you created. It's a good idea to keep your notebook close, especially when you are working on a new book.

Currently I am actively working on two different series, but I have two more series sitting with publishers right now. The Endurers is a supernatural series set in a world that is headed straight into Armageddon. It centers around a group of men that were granted immortality to fight the demons that plague humanity. These men have seen the very worst that Hell has to offer, but they take their jobs very seriously. This series can get very graphic at times. When you are in the type of situations that they are in, you don't have time to wait. When opportunity strikes, you have to jump right on it because it might not be there the next day. Curvaceous Condemnation is the latest release in this series.

The other one is a young adult series called Territory of the Dead. Book one has just released, and it's called Phase One: Identify. It's the story of Tabitha Alexander, an eighteen year old that has just graduated from high school. She's working a dead-end job as a cashier, with no plans for the future. Tabitha really just wants to enjoy her freedom. She doesn't get that chance, though. One night her world falls apart when zombies invade her town of Pleasant.

These are two very different series, but they have been so much fun to write! I think that must be what every writer strives for. To actually have the series flowing and enjoy it. I would say that is the easiest way to manage creating a series. Live it, breath it, and just let it flow!

Thanks again for having me on your blog! It was a lot of fun. I've got a website too at and feel free to stop by and say hello, sometime. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Award-Nominated Anthologies

This week I get to bask in the reflected glory of no fewer than two different award nominations. The final ballot for the Aurora awards, the annual awards by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, was announced this week. While none of my humble tales were nominated directly, two different anthologies containing my stories are competing for Best Related Work - English.

Blood and Water from Bundoran Press is a collection of science fiction stories dealing with Canada's role in the conflicts that are sure to come in the near future as the world deals with the ramifications of global warming. It contains my story "The Great Divide," an adventure tale about an engineer who encounters some desperate people high in the Rocky Mountains, and a potential solution to a thorny problem. Check it out at

The other anthology to get the nod is Shanghai Steam, from Edge Press. Steampunk meets Kung Fu in a fun genre mashup that's just too cool to resist. "Meng Jie and the Coffee Maker of Doom" is a short, humorous tale of a bodyguard who can handle assassins and gangsters, but may have met his match when he has to brew coffee on the world's most advanced beverage maker. 

Both anthologies are maddeningly difficult to buy. There is talk of an ebook version of Shanghai Steam, but it hasn't yet appeared. The paperback is available from Amazon. Blood and Water can be had from the Bundoran websitein dead tree format or as an ebook.

Another Aurora nomination went to Goblins, quite possibly the coolest web comic on the Internet. I'm a huge fan, and I recommend you check it out. It's hilarious, exciting, touching, and full of over-the-top gleeful mayhem.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Dead Sea - Now Available!

On the open seas, nothing is more deadly than the cold and uncaring ocean...

...until the dead start to rise from beneath the waves and take their vengeance on the living.

Cruentus Libri Press brings you sixteen tales of horror and the macabre set upon the high seas, where vampires and zombies, werewolves and ghouls and every manner of undead fiend is ready to slake their thirst and where there is no escape, save for the cold, eternal embrace of the inky black water.

I'm excited to announce the release of The Dead Sea from Cruentus Libri, featuring my terrifying tale The Curse of the Cristobal, plus fifteen others. It's available as a paperback and as an ebook.

The Dead Sea - Paperback
The Dead Sea - Kindle ebook

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Creating a Plausible, Consistent Supernatural World - A Guest Post from Shah Wharton

Today's guest blogger is Shah Wharton, who is here to talk about how you go about creating a plausible, consistent supernatural world. She knows a thing or two about the topic, being the author of Finding Esta, an urban fantasy novel about a fledgling journalist who discovers more than she ever bargained for. Take it away, Shah: 

Firstly, thank you Brent for having me on your lovely blog, today. 
* * * 
In essence, the surreal and the inconceivable are what fantasy stories are all about, so this is a difficult question to answer. Every fantasy story must possess a lush, dynamic story, which plays out within a magical world, constructed of characters who must travel beyond their normal, everyday world, for some kind of adventure. Even if they live in the same world we live in, other, possibly unseen, mystical elements must also be presented at some point.

With urban fantasy for example, the world in which the characters reside is usually our world. The only difference is that it’s another version of our world, but with layers. In my book, the Supes layer is where vampires, weres, witches, fey, and even the Mimicanes (an alien race who’ve cloned human appearance and supernatural powers for thousands of years) live.  And the paranormal layer consists of lost spirits who languish in the Shadow Lands for all eternity, unless they have power enough to walk beside you, unseen. All of whom seek refuge, or a one way ticket to move on.

Brent’s question is a difficult one to answer, not least of all because it’s subjective, but in keeping with a how-to post for story craft, I’d recommend you do the following:

1)      Choose the magical/supernatural characters with care. They must maintain not only your own interest, but your readers, too. Indeed, if this is a series, that could mean many months, even years of writing time spent with them. You don’t want to choose vampires if you are already bored of them (I doubt I’ll ever get bored of them). Research other stories about them before, then try to give the element/characteristics your own twist.
2)      Keep a log of all magical/supernatural elements, and keep detailed notes on the supernatural characters who possess them. Scrivener is a perfect storage place for all your notes.
3)      Devise a map of your world, even if it’s the world in which we live, because the supernatural elements should be added as a separate layer on top. It needs to feel as real as our own world, but different enough to be awesome!
4)      You must, above all else, believe in the world, and the characters you’re writing about. Otherwise, your readers certainly will not. I think the same can be said of any story or genre. If the author of a great romance doesn’t believe in her characters' love, the readers will sense that and put the book down.
Do you write fantasy stories? What can you add to this list? Do you read fantasy? If so which is your favourite fantasy genre?

Shah Wharton

Author of Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Fiction



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Quarter Share Podiobook

My treadmill entertainment for the past few weeks has been Nathan Lowell's Quarter Share, "a tale from the golden age of the solar clipper." I've blogged about the ebook before, but this is the first time I've listened to the podiobook.

The story is simple but compelling. 18-year-old Ishmael Wang loses his mother in a flitter crash and finds himself in a predicament. A corporation owns the planet he lives on. He has to get a job or get off of the planet, and he can't afford the fare. With few choices available, he signs on as crew on a passing trading ship.

From there we follow Ishmael as he tries to find his place in a strange new environment. Nothing really exciting happens. There are no battles, no mortal danger. The classic tropes of space opera are missing. And yet the stakes are extremely high. Ishmael has been thrust into a new life, and he has to find a way to make it work.

Overall I was quite impressed. The story pulled me in on the first page and never let me go, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. It's a coming-of-age story set in a fascinating and detailed environment. I felt as if I was peeking into the future and seeing what life on a real interstellar spaceship might be like.

A few parts were a bit slow, as I got more detail than I needed about the minutia of Ishmael's day. And there's a description of the economics of trading that becomes downright repetitive. But these are minor blips. Overall the quality of the storytelling is absolutely excellent.

You can read it as an ebook, but It's available in audio form as well. It's free from here:

The quality of the audiobook is quite high. Not every author should record their own reading of a book, but Lowell does an excellent job. Nothing about it sounds amateurish or home-made. It's excellent work.

I usually like a bit more excitement in my books, but Quarter Share is excellent and I'm glad I picked it up.

Series website:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Today I have a guest post from the talented Corinna Underwood, author of A Walk on the Darkside, an intriguing urban fantasy novel.  Her protagonist, Pearl Blackthorn, is an investigative reporter for Darkside Magazine. Pearl doesn't take the supernatural too seriously, until she sees a few things she can't quite explain.

For this guest post I asked Corinna a simple question, and got a pretty interesting answer. Check it out below:

What are some of the challenges and rewards of creating a character who is a skeptic, in a story where the supernatural is real? 

Pearl Blackthorn would call herself a diehard skeptic when it comes to the paranormal. While this is an accurate description of her character, she can’t deny that she has a fascination for it, even if it’s only because she wants to explain it rationally and neatly.

One of the most difficult challenges of creating the character of Pearl Blackthorn was to make her skepticism convincing while at the same time allowing room for a sliver of doubt. Gradually, this crack in her skepticism is pried a little wider as she begins to have experiences that she has difficulty explaining rationally.

The task of developing her character was made somewhat easier by her friend and fellow investigator Harry Raymond, who at the time of his wife’s death had a paranormal experience of his own. Harry is a firm believer in ghosts, poltergeists and demons and wants nothing more than to prove to Pearl that they exist. His enthusiasm for the supernatural makes an interesting and often humorous contrast to Pearl’s disbelief.

The rewarding part for me is the fact that I got to explore my own views on the paranormal, some of which are conflicting. I had a lot of fun creating scenarios which seemed at the outset to be supernatural events and then turning them into something quite rational, while leaving a sprinkling of doubt.

In the sequel Darkside and Back Pearl not only finds her skepticism for the paranormal challenged, but also her understanding of who she is and where she came from.

Corinna Underwood

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Got Steampunk?

I've been browsing my copy of the January edition of eSteampunk, and it gets going with a bang.  Justice Like Clockwork by Andrew Knighton had me guessing right up to the end.  It's a neat adventure story about a young woman escaping from a fantastically complex prison, with the aid of a mysterious old man who happens to be one of the most brilliant engineers in the Empire.  It's too bad he's a bit mad...

There's an episode of my serial in there too, of course.  It's four bucks from eFiction Magazine, or you can subscribe for two bucks a month.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: The New Death and Others

My rating: 5 / 5

This collection really impressed me.  I'll admit, it took me a while to come around.  It's not my usual thing, but when I started to get what was going on, I was completely hooked.  The New Death and Others is a collection of poems and very short stories.  It's difficult stuff to summarize.  The stories tend to be allegorical, in an ironic and sarcastic way.  The characters are often Death, Destiny, Fate, or Fame.  They make comments on the foibles of modern society, or offer an explanation of what makes cats so smug.

All of it is clever and thought-provoking.  These aren't stories to race through, or stories to divert you on the beach.  It's intelligent, quirky, offbeat, and endlessly unexpected.  It's got some goofy humour, too.  A few stories have footnotes, which direct you to some terrible puns.

I'm not particularly a fan of poetry, but the poetry here worked for me.  I found it accessible but still impactful.  

Above all, this collection is meticulously crafted.  I didn't see a typo in the entire thing, or a single clumsy line.  You quickly realize you're in the hands of a writer who knows exactly what he's doing.  

It's not the same old thing.  Hutchings has an unconventional approach to storytelling, and it won't be for everyone.  But if you are willing to go along, you'll find it's a thoroughly worthwhile ride.

How to buy it:

Barnes and Noble

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Win a Kindle Fire HD

Jerry Hanel, talented creator of Brodie Wade, is giving away a Kindle Fire HD to some lucky reader who joins his mailing list.  The Fire comes preloaded with books by Jerry, me, and several other notable authors.  Here's the official scoop from Jerry:

That's right. You could win a brand new, fresh out of the box, Kindle Fire HD. And I know what you're thinking: "WOW! Hey, how can I win this lovely item?"
See? I'm a mind reader.

The Kindle Fire HD!

To win the Kindle Fire HD, simply sign up for my newsletter. You will get emails from me on advance copies of my books, free ebooks from other authors and much more. I don't send many newsletters (maybe four or five a year), so I promise not to flood your inbox with junk.

When you sign up, make SURE that you check the "Giveaway" box. That's how I'll know that you want to sign up for the giveaway promotion (and future giveaways, too!)
That's it! If you have already signed up for the newsletter in the past, check to make sure that you have entered yourself in the "Giveaway" list. If so, you are ALREADY in this drawing!! If you're not sure, just sign-up again. It will say "Error: This email already exists" if you've signed up before under any other newsletter list, but that's okay. It will still take your entry. I've tested it to make sure.