A Quick Update

Halloween has come and gone and I am pleased to say that I kept by promise (for a change) and got Land of the Beautiful Dead up on Amazon by my deadline. It should also now be live on CreateSpace for those who, like me, still like reading books on paper. Remember that when the zombie apocalypse happens, your e-readers will all be worthless and in thirty years, the undead lord’s mistress won’t be learning to read on a Kindle.

This is the only kindling we'll need then.

This is the only kindling we’ll need then.


I’d also like to take a moment to thank everyone who has left comments/reviews/criticisms on my book, here or on your own blogs/social media page/Amazon, wherever. Heck, even if you stood up on the table at Denny’s and announced to the world it sucked, as long as you mentioned the title and my name, thank you. The hardest hurdle for any indie author is just getting out there. I am sincerely grateful you took the time to tell someone what you thought, no matter what you thought. Of course, I’m even more grateful if you thought kindly of it, but that’s because I’m enormously insecure, which is the same reason I don’t read my reviews. I know, I know, authors are supposed to be above having their feelings hurt over a bad review. Anyone who throws their work out into the public eye is supposed to have thick skin and teflon feelings. Well, it’s fine for Liberace to laugh all the way to the bank, but I don’t have the man’s confidence.

Or his fashion sense. God DAMN, the man had style. R.I.P, you beautiful man.

Or his fashion sense. God DAMN, the man had style. R.I.P, you beautiful man.


The reality is, I’m not an author. I’m a person who works by writing. And when I work on something for two years and it isn’t universally loved by literally all who clap eyes on it, my ego is shattered and dumped in a bowl of lemon juice. Before I adopted my present policy, I must have read a hundred good reviews and I could not tell you today what any one of them said, but I can quote the four bad ones I read by heart. So I don’t read them and I’m much happier. I once heard it said that writing a book is like opening a vein and bleeding all over the paper. Let me tell you, it’s true and it’s nerve-wracking enough without thinking about how other people are going to interpret the stains.


Enough about that. I hear people are already asking about the next book, because HOLY SHIT, PEOPLE! IT’S ONLY BEEN TWO WEEKS!!!! I still haven’t done my LAUNDRY from the day the book came out! I haven’t done all the laundry from the time the last book came out either. Look, I don’t do a lot of laundry. Don’t judge me. My point is, I have just finished a project and I’m taking a break before I pull Pool out of the ol’ dustry trunk of unfinished books and see where I left off.

Oh. Right. I remember now.

Oh. Right. I remember now.


I plan to get back to work on New Year’s Day, since that seems like the perfect time to start fresh on a new project (and we’ll just not mention the long list of broken resolutions that could, you know, wrap twice around the Earth if they elected to manifest in a physical form). Between now and then, I’m relaxing with my fanfic, which is not considered writing because it will never be published. Ha ha! I have put two hundred pages on it in two weeks. How’s that for not writing? Here is a small sample of the book you will never read in its entirety:



Ana drove only half an hour that first day, straight to Rider’s house. He and she sat up until the small hours, smoking way too fucking much and watching horror movies that seemed to get progressively sillier until they were both lying on the fucking floor and hugging each other, just howling with the tears streaming down their faces, while severed heads went flying on his big-screen TV. Then Rider became convinced yet again that he could run across the swimming pool if he could just go fast enough, so they went out to give it a go, tossing in every inflatable what-the-fuck he had first, because physics were still a thing and Jesus Christ, he was not. Thor, maybe. Not the JC.

After she pulled him out of the pool, they lay together on the stones, looking at the stars while, in the house, his girl-for-not-too-much-longer-if-she-didn’t-calm-the-fuck-down slammed doors and flicked lights angrily on and off.

“You coming back?” Rider asked suddenly, when Ana was almost sleeping, her eyes open but insignificant.

“Don’t I always?”

“This feels different.”

“It always feels different,” said Ana, closing her eyes so she could see the stars better. “I always think this is the one and I always end up back in your stable.”

“You want out? I’ll let you out.”

“Never happen.”

“Save that gangsta cradle-to-da-grave shit for Hollywood,” Rider said. “If I say I’ll let you out, I’ll let you right the fuck out. You’ve served your time. S’not like you’re gonna turn around and become a cop or some shit. You’d be happy with a little…like, a little coffee shop or something. Little glass counter with muffins and cookies and shit. Have, like, a couple racks of used books and some comfy chairs and couches, and play that alternative crap on the radio all day while kids sit around texting about social justice and checking each other’s privilege.”

Ana snickered. “Stoned-you is a closet hipster. I love it.”

“Fuck you,” Rider said comfortably.

“But it’ll never happen, Rider. I don’t mean you’ll never let it happen. I mean it never will.” She gave it some serious thought and said, “I think I was supposed to die when I was a kid.”

“Check that depressing shit now, darlin’.”

“No, I mean it. I think I was supposed to, like in that dumbshit movie we just saw. I think it was all planned out. In Mammon, I mean. Only I got away. Mom got me away. Of all people, right?” she interjected and snorted. “She tried to take it back later, but she couldn’t and that’s why my life is all fucked up. I was never supposed to live this long.”


“No,” she insisted, warming to the idea now. “You know, it’s like those old myths you read about. There’s these three ladies who weave the universe and every single person’s life is one thread. They weave them all together, these ladies. One spins, one measures and one cuts. I was spun, you know? I was measured and woven in, and then I was supposed to be cut, but I wasn’t. My thread is just…just sticking out, getting more and more tangled up the longer it gets, because it doesn’t fit anywhere. I fucked up the universe, Rider. The whole universe. I should have died.”

“Never pegged you for a fatalist.”

“It’s all fatal,” she said, opening her eyes to see the stars staring down at her with their thousand, thousand blame-filled eyes. “Nobody gets out of this game alive. Right or wrong, guilty or innocent, young or old, everybody dies.”

“Not fatality, fatalism. You’re talking about Fate. Capital F. Like, predestination and shit.”

“I am?”

“You just said you were supposed to die. And because you didn’t, the grand tapestry of the universe got all snarled up. Right?”


“So that means you think there’s some big plan and it’s all already worked out. Every thread woven in, you said. Every life going back to the beginning and every life going on to the very end, all measured and cut according to its color, to make the picture the universe designed. This is what you believe?”

“I guess so?”

“Well, see, there’s a paradox in that, darlin’. If Fate exists and predestination is a thing, then everything that happens was meant to happen the way it happened. So if you’re alive, then by definition, you’re supposed to be alive, no matter how random it seems to your puny mortal eyes. Because it ain’t just your thread, even if it is all snarled up. Universe made your momma do what she did. Universe made you show up soaking wet in your socks on my doorstep. Universe made you come here tonight so you could move on tomorrow. There ain’t no holes in the tapestry,” he said, lifting one hand to point at the sky, where he surely saw the proof written out in runes only he could read. “Universe got you out of Mammon for a reason. Universe is sending you back.”

Ana propped herself up on her elbows, but getting that much closer didn’t show her anything new in the night sky. “You think so?”

“Me? Naw, I don’t believe in that stuff. This life is all there is and when we die, we rot in the ground. There ain’t no Fate and there ain’t no one watching to see how bad we fuck up or to care when we die. We are on a spinning rock running circles around a burning ball of gas, pulling us through space at millions of miles an hour. Them stars you think is guiding your life are just more pockets of nuclear fusion of decreasing stability in a vast vacuum, no more aware of you than you’re aware of the billions of microscopic bugs feeding on the shit in your intestines right now. Less aware, even, because them bugs are at least feeding directly on you and those stars don’t have dick to do with us or with each other. Hell, half of them have probably burned out by now and it’s just their ghost-lights we’re seeing. There could be a billion other planets out there with life on it, a billion other folks like you, looking up and wondering, but so what? We’re all alone together in a universe that’s constantly expanding, just getting further and further and further apart. And you know what?”


He turned his head on the poolside tiles and she turned hers, so that they were looking at each other from inches away, upside down, each of them whizzing through space at a million miles an hour, but still somehow able to touch.

“It’s all right,” he said.


from Everything Is All Right coming never

from Everything Is All Right, coming never



I’m Home! Did I Mention I Was Gone?

So a couple weeks ago, my father got a burning desire to see his father halfway across the country and asked for company on the road. Now, I love road trips, so I grabbed my laptop and my dinosaur hat and we hit the open highway. My relatives are predominantly Mormon and I am not, so while I can’t say the trip was entirely without friction, we all got along without bringing torches and pitchforks into the situation. While I was there, I did some more editing and as soon as I’ve assembled my Beta Readers (coming soon from Marvel Pictures: The Beta Brigade. “Beta Readers, assemble!”), we will bust out the read-through. There will be tears and punches and a lot of scenes left on the cutting room floor, I’m sure. Then all that’s left to do is format and upload. I’m still planning on a Halloween release.


The cover artist and I are still working on the cover, taking some of the feedback I’ve received under advisement, but the broad strokes (the girl, the smoke) are unlikely to change much, on account of how I like them. Oh, and I have a blurb at last! I swear, I can’t wait until I’m a millionaire and can pay people to write these damn things for me. This took way too long.

* * *



He ascended from the darkness years ago—Azrael the Eternal, Azrael the Undying, Azrael Who Is Death—bringing with him the black rains, the fires, the souring of the sky, and the Eaters. Now he rules in the walled city of Haven with his favored Children and his dead court, while all that is left of the living struggles to survive in the ruins of a world that used to be their own. But even as extinction looms, humanity will never surrender to their monstrous conqueror.

For Lan, this brutal life has been the only one she’s ever known, but she still believes it can change. If the war can never truly end until the Eaters are ended, she will go to Haven, to Azrael himself, and demand he end them. To her surprise, she does not immediately die the hero’s death she expected. Instead, Azrael offers her a chance to convince him, and all she has to do is submit herself to the chill embrace of the lord of the Land of the Beautiful Dead.

From the author of The Scholomance and The Last Hour of Gann comes a new vision of erotic horror! This book contains explicit sex and gore and is intended for mature readers only.

Complicated Melodies

I really don’t know how interested anyone will be in this, but I really am trying very hard to blog, even when I don’t have anything to say, so here goes.

Working on The Land of the Beautiful Dead is not a happy experience. I don’t mean I hate the book or anything, but it’s the zombie apocalypse. The world I have to live in when I write is a deeply unpleasant one and it is necessary that I feel those emotions in order to project them onto the page. Unfortunately, the more I allow myself to sink into the bleakness of the landscape, the more my emotions tend to bleed out into the characters. It kind of becomes this vicious cycle after a while–the book affects my mood affects the writing affects the book affects my mood, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam.

I cope with this in a lot of ways. I listen to music while I write, for example. All of my books have a ‘soundtrack’ that is distinctly their own, and even though LoBD’s ‘album’ is still pretty dark, just being able to sing along, even with the sad songs, keeps me at least halfway grounded in the real world. If it’s a really bad scene, I may turn on a well-loved movie I’ve watched a bazillion times to act as white noise in the background and subconsciously lift my spirits. In emergencies, I may go get my hedgehog. It’s impossible to be depressed when there’s a hedgehog licking your thumb as you’re trying to type.

Seriously. Look at that face.

Seriously. Look at that face.


Having said all that, I have to admit even Posey Q. Pricklepants is not always able to combat the malaise that comes along with working on a book in which I scrag the entire human race. In fact, there are days when the only way I’ve found to deal with the book is to put it entirely aside and work on another one.

Yes, Land of the Beautiful Dead. I’ve been cheating on you. With fanfiction.

I find fanfiction to be extremely soothing to my soul. It’s just so comfortable and easy, writing a story where all the hard work is already done for you. The characters are there. The setting is there. The world is already built and peopled. All you need to do is provide a plotline and watch the story tell itself.

This is probably where I should stop and rant a little while on how wildly out of control fanfiction has gotten these days. In my day, when we wrote fanfiction, we used the characters and the setting of the actual original source and just made up new stories. If there was a new character–and let’s face it, there was always a new character–he or she was a plot device, like any you might see in a new episode, there to engage and be engaged by the canon characters. This business where so-called fans take…I’m going to use Star Trek as an example, because it’s one most people are going to recognize…take the crew of the Enterprise and make them teenagers who all go to the same high school, and also some of them are vampires and the biggest plotline is who vampire-Spock is going to ask to the dance (hint, it’s either Kirk or Picard) is NOT FANFICTION.

I’ve been writing fanfiction more than half my life. The first story I ever wrote was fanfiction–Disney fanfiction, no less. The day I knew I’d arrived as an author was the day someone sent me fanfiction of one of my own books. Fanfiction is great, but if you’re going to write it, for the love of God, write it for real. If you’re going to change every single goddamn element that made the story in the first place, go ahead and change the names of the characters too. You might be doing yourself a favor.

Obvious correlation is obvious.

Obvious correlation is obvious.


So I’ve been writing a fanfic in-between editing chapters of The Land of the Beautiful Dead. No one will ever read it. Like all GOOD fanfiction, it simply cannot work outside the parameters of someone else’s copywritten work. I won’t even tell you the name of the source material. It exists for my pleasure and for my pleasure alone. However, since it’s what I was working on today, and today is the day I set aside for blogging, you, the reader, get a snippet.

One of my characters is a musician. He is in the source material and so he is in my book (and THAT, kids, is how you write fanfiction!) He’s not obnoxious about it, but it is an important aspect of his character, so I’ve done what I can to keep it, and one of the things I found I had to do as the story progressed is have him write a song. So I woke up this morning and wrote a song he could write for the girl he is never going to get. Disclaimer: There is a reason I am not a professional songwriter.



Baby girl, when you talk, I hear such complicated melodies

But it’s a song and I could sing it if you let me.

All I need’s a little time to hear the tune and make it mine

I’d play it for you and maybe then you’d see

How beautiful your music is to me

Won’t you listen?

For a little while…just one night is all I need.

Oh me and this guitar are both as broken as they come

But even we can make some music if only I

Replace these broken strings and play it right

Put a lead guitar and a bass beside me and I’ll prove to you

There’s still some harmony.

It’s not too late

For you to learn the words….and sing along with me.

Girl, I’d need an orchestra to play the story of your life

But if only I could play piano, I would try.

Any song can be written down once you have the key

And if I could find the note to build upon, I know you’d sing along with me.

And if I could play the drums, maybe then I could set the time

That brings the shattered rhythm of your heart into beat with mine.

And I’d get horns to be your courage and violins to be your tears

And one by one, I would find instruments to take all your hopes and fears

Until there’s nothing left but you and me and one simple melody

That’s been there, baby girl, all along.

And I’ll teach it to you…and it can be our song.

Girl, when you talk, I hear such complicated melodies

And it’s a song I know that I can’t make you hear.

Because I’m not the man you want tonight but before you go, I’ve got to try

To make you understand that if you can’t

Play the tune

Or sing the words…still, we can dance.

So let me put this old guitar aside…and we can dance.

Fresh From the Cutting Room Floor

Welp, edits on The Land of the Beautiful Dead are continuing, and I have come to the first painful batch of deleted scenes. Normally, I keep everything that can’t go into a book for whatever reason (length being the biggest reason why a scene will be cut. You may not believe that’s ever a factor with me, but believe it or not, my books could easily be much, much longer) just in case I’m ever able to recycle a deleted scene for a later project. That hasn’t happened yet, but I’m hopeful.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? Partly just to post something before I blink and it’s December, but also because I have here in my metaphorical hand, a scene I have just trimmed out of my book and which I find myself loathe to toss in the old woodchipper. It is the perfect combination of “Too Good to Throw Out” and “Impossible to Reuse” and I can think of nothing better to do with it than post it here, as a teaser of sorts.

Now, keep in mind as you’re reading this, that IT WILL NOT APPEAR in the finished book and should not be considered canon. It’s just a deleted scene. Would have loved to use it, but just no place to put it. So here it is, serving strictly as character color and atmosphere and serving no other useful purpose. To set the scene, Lan, our heroine, has not been long in the city of Haven, where the beautiful dead reside in the service of Azrael, the immortal creature who has brought about the end of the world. Lan is new to the lights and noise of his court and not at all comfortable taking her first formal dinner with him or his Children–Lady Batuuli, Lord Solveig, and Tehya, who is…artistic.




Lady Tehya stood.

The movement caught the eyes of her brother and sister, who at once silenced the chatter at their own tables to fix their full attention on hers, but Tehya did not respond. The hush grew, rippling out from the east wall to the west and then down past the empty stage to those at the lesser tables, until the whole hall was silent and still. Even the servants were watching, Lan saw, and pikes glinted as the hands that held them shifted apprehensively. Only Azrael himself pretended not to notice.

Tehya only stood there, staring down at her.

The initial surprise faded into bewilderment, which began a gradual slide towards boredom. At what point should she just start eating again?

“Are you all right?” Lan asked finally.

Without a word, Tehya reached into her sleeve and drew out a long, long knife. She did it slow, knowing just how the light hit the blade, dazzling the eye and making the whole thing seem so eerily beautiful that Lan did not immediately think to be afraid. Oddly, it was not until Tehya looked away from her that Lan suddenly realized she was at the perfect height, reach and angle for a good head-lopping. She pushed her chair back belatedly, but Tehya paid her no more mind than the rest of the room. Tipping her head to an unnatural, doll-like angle, she reached out her hand toward her father’s table.

Azrael sighed and set down his cup. “My beloved child,” he said, so softly, but the silence was such that his voice carried all the same. “How many times must we do this?”

Tehya’s head tipped the other way, bobbing just a little, as of a puppet on strings. She raised the knife high.

Azrael sighed again and covered his eyes.

The knife came down, plunging deep into Tehya’s belly. Fabric tore. The skin beneath opened up, releasing a terrible rotten stench and a sudden, shocking billow of color that sprayed directly into Lan’s face. She threw up her arms with a hoarse cry, expecting the heat and sticky slap of blood, but met only a small, dry storm of what her brain, in panic and confusion, could only identify as flower petals. They flew past her, tumbling against her hands and face and hair, then funneled up into the air and…and stayed there.

Butterflies, a cloud of butterflies. Red and yellow and orange and black. They swept up toward the ceiling and down again, dispersing lighting on people’s hair and the flowers on the tables and on the tips of the guards’ pikes.

Lan’s gasp was lost in the needless gasps of the dead. Batuuli began the applause, slow and admiring, and soon the hall was riotous with cheers and clapping, but Tehya ignored it all. Reaching into the cavity that was her own body, she drew out a blackened, reeking handful of what appeared to be rotten meat, on which dozens of butterflies delicately fed. She extended her arm again to her father, offering, imploring, and watched without expression as Azrael rose and came for her.

A few last butterflies were crawling out of her belly onto her dress, fanning their wings in a slow, shimmering display. They all scattered before Azrael, all but one, whose wings were presumably too wet to allow it to fly, and that one dropped dead, fluttering to the floor in lazy circles to be crushed underfoot when Azrael finally reached her. He cupped her painted face between his hands and she reached up to lightly grip his wrists. Her eyes closed; his dimmed.

“Oh, my precious one, have no fear,” he said. “I’ll mend it.”

Tearing away with a silent cry, Tehya ran from the hall. Azrael reached out one hand, but did not follow or attempt to call her back.

“A promising start, but a predictable ending,” Solveig said, pinching a butterfly off his collar and flicking its body to the floor. “I give it three stars of five. What do you think, sister?”

“I think the butterfly garden is empty,” Batuuli replied with a pout. “And I think I rather enjoyed visiting the butterfly garden on sunny days. And what do you think?” she asked, turning to Lan.

“I think you’re all horrible.” Lan shoved her chair back to a gale of laughter and ran after her.


Back From the Grave

Lord, I don’t even know how to start this. After a while, apologizing for not blogging becomes meaningless, especially when it’s followed by six months of radio silence.


So here’s the deal. I had to take a break from essentially everything to deal with some things. Some of it was health-related, some of it family-related, all of it personal. I will say no more, except to say it’s dealt with now and I’m back on track and so far behind schedule it’s almost inspiring.


Thank you to everyone who took the time to write and ask where I was and why I was gone and if I was okay and if I was dead. That last one tickled a little. Sorry if I scared you. Blogging may come naturally to some people and goodness knows, there are plenty of people out there who keep the whole world posted whenever they stub their toe, but I am not one of those people and never will be. My desire to sell books is constantly at war with my desire to brick myself in a basement and never come out. Any basement. Your basement. Have you checked your basement lately? Am I there? Tell me to come home and work on my damn book.


The Land of the Beautiful Dead is done with its first draft and going through its first set of revisions. As you may or may not know, I do one round of edits, then a read-through with my betas, and then a final edit. When will the book be complete? Hell, your guess is as good as mine these days.  I really thought I’d have this book out last Halloween. Then life happened. And it’s still happening, so…we’ll see. Hang in there with me.