#FreeAwfulNovel Part 9: A Return to Sanity

In the last post, I shared with you a, well, let’s face it–stupidly long chapter. This time around things are much shorter at a mere 26 pages. I’m guessing I was worn out back in the day when I first wrote it.

We’re a bit over halfway through Warhawks. I’m only re-reading as I post, but I’m fairly certain the action is right around the corner.

In other news, I’m making good progress on Z-Day book 3. I’m trying something a little new this time around and working on the next Paxton book at the same time. It’s not an equal distribution — I’ve written about eight times as many words in the Z-Day book as I have for Pax, but I feel like it’s been a solid tool so far.

Sometimes as a writer I tend to be a bit hyper, and I bounce around from scene to scene when I lose focus. The only issue that tends to crop up is in editing, where I find that the transitions in the middle of scenes I put on pause aren’t always smooth. So by working on another project at the same time, it turns my easy distraction into more of an asset.

So far, so good. I’m on track to get A Place for War out in the last three months of 2018, and Come, Seeling Night will be out in early 2019, depending on how my publisher’s schedule shakes out.

Hit the read more button for the next chapter of #FreeAwfulNovel!

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Cross post from urban-fantasy.com: Vampires Suck

Yesterday, I dropped a bit of my take on the use of vampires in modern horror and urban-fantasy. Cliff’s Notes: I’m all in for monsters. Not so much when it comes to suave European royalty a la Bela Lugosi and Anne Rice.

I outlined a few uses in the genre that I do like. Of course, I missed a few, and forehead-slapping ensued. Here’s a few of my faves that I overlooked:

The Keep, F. Paul Wilson. The antagonist isn’t really a vampire, but Wilson does a marvelous job laying out the backstory of an ancient being that inspired the legends. First book in an epic series. Wilson is, in my very humble opinion, one of the best storytellers of today. Skip the movie adaptation, though. Honorable F. Paul Wilson mentions: Midnight Mass and Draculas. Standalone, but still worthy of a read. The prior involves a literal vampire apocalypse, if that’s your sort of thing, and the other envisions a pandemic outbreak in a hospital.

The Necroscope series, Brian Lumley. British horror is a bit hit-and-miss for me, and the series goes a little off the rails as it progresses, but it makes cool use of vampires and ghosts early on.

The Strain, Guillermo Del Toro. This is kind of a weird series. It was initially developed as a TV project, scrapped, and then turned into a book trilogy. The first two books are really good,  but the third was a little disappointing. The FX series that (finally) aired the past few summers polished out some of the rough edges and tweaked the plot line a bit. A lot of people complained about the “annoying kid” trope used in the show, but it was spot-on to the portrayal in the books. The real stars of The Strain are its vampire-analogues, and man, are they terrifying.

If you like your vampires blown up or staked, that should be a good start for you. If you’d like a hint as to the possibility of vampires in my own Paxton Locke series, be sure to check out book 2, Night’s Black Agents, on June 19.

Oh, and conveniently enough, I’ll be on a Vampires vs. Zombies panel at LibertyCon next month. Hopefully I don’t get staked by fans of romantic vampires. 🙂 Be sure to check it out if you’ve got your tickets as the con is sold out.


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Fade IN

That’s right, folks. Book one of the Paxton Locke series is available for sale once more. Much appreciation to Russell and the rest of the crew at Silver Empire for giving Pax and the gang a home. We’ve got big things planned that would be huge spoilers for some world-building reveals in the upcoming sequel if I let the cat out of the bag. Suffice to say . . . there’s a lot in the pipeline.

Hit the picture in the sidebar to take advantage of the release week 99-cent sale if you haven’t already. If you bought Fade during its initial release, have no fear, nothing was added to change the story structure. The new version is a little prettier and features a taste of what’s to come with Night’s Black Agents, which launches next month.

If you’re more familiar with my Z-Day series and wondering what all the fuss is about, check out a dynamite (and spoiler-free) review from Jim McCoy’s blog here. Fade, and the larger ‘Paxtonverse’ were what I wanted to write for some time, but a little brainworm otherwise known as A Place Outside The Wild refused to be ignored.

Easter Egg warning – Paxton might be familiar to those of you who’ve read A Place Called Hope. I’m not planning any universe-hopping, but I’ve always gotten a kick out of subtle references.

Happy Tuesday, and I hope the rest of your week is awesome!

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#FreeAwfulNovel Part 8: The Revenge of the Doorstop

Okay, just to reiterate something I said in my last post: I want to travel back in time and smack myself. Chapter 10 clocked in at 71 pages. Chapter 11?


I’m trying to remember if I did that on purpose, or if I just didn’t like breaking up my Word documents into a bunch of different files. Before discovering Scrivener, I saved all of my works-in-progress under a title folder, with a single file for each chapter. It made page numbering a pain, but it made editing and revising much, much easier. Ah, the 90s.

Check back tomorrow for a big announcement. Until then, bring on the doorstop.

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A Place For War – Snippet

I hate cliffhanger endings. So obviously I had one at the end of “A Place Called Hope.” Sorry! Had to be done!

So you’ll be glad to know that the cliffhanger is resolved fairly early on in the follow-up. Spoilers ahead.

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Cover art tease: Night’s Black Agents

Night's Black Agents EBook

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Urban-fantasy.com cross-post: The House With a Clock in its Walls

Full review here.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure I first read this book when I was around the same age as my son when he read it. If nothing else, that’s a statement as to the endurance of a true classic. I read through the rest of the books in the Lewis Barnavelt series and moved onto the more YA-oriented Anthony Monday series after that. In a way, I guess you could say that Bellairs was a gateway drug into more mature thriller/horror such as Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

It’s funny to think about it, but I have a pretty significant stack of ‘milestone’ books from my childhood to share with my kids. It will be interesting to see if the things that meant so much to me impact my daughter and son in the same way.

How about you? Are there any works you read as a child that stuck with you?


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