Wednesday, October 30, 2013

And Then There Were Zombies!

It's Halloween week and that means the timing is perfect fort he release of my newest novel!
I'm happy to announce that CHICAGO FELL FIRST, my zombie horror novel from publisher Buzz Books is now available for Amazon Kindle and will soon be for sale in other places including the Barnes & Noble site.

I'm thrilled with the way this book turned out, thanks to the wonderful editing of Mari Farthing and the encouragement of publisher Malena Lott. CHICAGO FELL FIRST is being released at the low price of .99 for Kindle (so grab it now while it's a bargain).

Here's the official Amazon book description:

 After Brandon sees his mother save her water-logged cell phone in a bag of rice, he tries the same when he finds his little brother blue in the bathtub. At first he believes his brother is dead - no breath, bluish skin - but when his mother returns home and he opens his eyes, they rush him to the hospital where he stays overnight for observation.

A night nurse checks on the boy to find him sitting up in bed. Everything seems fine until that first bite...

Follow this harrowing horror tale as a city comes under siege by the Empty Ones. Told from alternating points of view between the main characters who end up converging in Chicago as the outbreak happens, this zombie novel has all the elements of a thrill fest: Pop science, gore, tension and a glimpse into what happens to humanity when humans transform into ravenous walking dead.

One medical student braves the chaos to search for a cure...

One former captain tries to right the wrongs of his past...

One serial killer in the making sees it as a chance to release his dark yearning...

One city battling for survival in CHICAGO FELL FIRST.

Here's the cover image:

And here's the link to buy the book on Amazon

I hope you'll all enjoy the book. I look forward to hearing what readers think of it! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Every year, I promise myself I’ll enjoy October. I’ll hold onto that magical month, cherish it, let it caress me, make love to it until its conspiracy succeeds in leading me into the spooky, sentimental, spectacular orgasm of the senses and the mind that October is meant to provide. 
            All my life, it’s been my favorite month. October: when the school year’s been in session just long enough for a boy to begin letting go of the pain brought on by having to relinquish the glorious freedom of summertime, when the chill of autumn truly begins to creep in and surround us after the few teasing frosts that might occur in September some years, when the shifting of the shades of leaves promises the coming of November’s feasts and December’s gifts, and when Halloween crawls into view in its slow, steady stride with pumpkins becoming prominent on the neighbors’ porches and wax fangs showing up in the grocery store displays.
            This month has always been magical to me, and as I drown more deeply in adulthood with each passing year, I often vow, right around the middle of September, that this will be the year I embrace October, when I find a moment now and then to stop and breathe in the cool air, when I take a day or two to sit in front of the TV with the right discs in the player and voluntarily deny the jadedness of older eyes so Lugosi and Karloff can crawl under my skin again and frighten me as they did when I was a child and those old black and white images seemed so, so real, like shadows out of humanity’s collective archetypal nightmares. 

            But my twenties happened and I worked and pursued women and tried to figure out what path to take in life. And I hit thirty and tried to be respectable and fell into predictable patterns of work, save, work, save, buy, then work and save some more, and a job became a career and went on like clockwork day after day and season after identical season and now forty isn’t too far beyond the horizon, and now and then I spot a gray strand in my stubble when I’m too lazy to shave for a few days.
            Each year, I vow to hold October close, but she always manages to slip away. The precious month speeds by and soon it snows and I know I’ll have to try to keep my promise the next year.    
            I almost missed again this year, but I’ve reached out in this final week of the best of all months and I think I’ve got it now!
            The chill is in the air. It’s too nippy to venture outside without at least a sweatshirt. The leaves crunch underfoot. The coffee tastes sweeter because I need the warmth and not just the caffeine. The night air seems filled with just enough danger to bring back the feeling I had as a kid when I thought that maybe, just maybe, the ghouls and vampires and other delights from beyond the veil that separates worlds were real and bumps in the night are more than just wind-blown fence gates. Maybe that feeling has something to do with the pack of coyotes that ate one of my neighbor’s dogs a week ago, or maybe I really have, for now at least, rediscovered the October that I’ve been trying to catch again for close to twenty years.
            I made time to watch an old horror movie the other day. The great Peter Cushing was hard at work making monsters again, stitching the pieces together, transferring brains from one body to another, and the insanity of it all was a joy to behold. I still have time to fit a few more in before Halloween. The Exorcist, maybe, or a little marathon of the Universal classics? I’ll decide when the time is right.  
            I have a horror novel coming out very soon too, so maybe that’s pushed me a little closer to the proper mood for the season. But it’s more than just that. It’s a combination of things, a perfect recipe for the right blend of sentiment and optimism and creepy delight!  
            Whatever the reasons, I can smile now when I drive past the plastic Draculas and inflated pumpkins and fake gravestones that stand on yards all across the suburbs. I can feel the autumn air filling my lungs and it doesn’t bother me to know that it will only get colder over the next few months. Winter will be all right this year, because it isn’t rushing in just yet. This time, I’ve caught October, and I intend to hold her tightly until she finally fades away.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Good Intentions, Unexpected Results

I've been very pleasantly surprised lately by some of the things people have been saying about my writing ... and I swear I didn't do most of it on purpose!

When I write a story, I have one goal in mind. That's to entertain.What form that entertainment takes varies depending on the genre, but all I ever really want to do is tell a good story in the best way I can. I'm the kind of writer who takes an idea for a plot and bashes the words out quickly and by following my instincts. I don't do detailed outlines or obsess over every word. I take an idea, follow my gut, and run with it. Eventually, if I'm lucky, I end up with a finished short story or novel and somebody wants to publish it. The the readers get it and I hope they enjoy it. That's all there is on my end of the process. I don't try to do anything more than make those readers happy and keep them interested for the time it takes to read from Page 1 to "The End." 

But my last few releases have been getting comments that have shocked me, in a good way.

I wrote my spy novel NOBODY DIES FOR FREE with the intention of telling a story that thrilled readers the way I've always been thrilled by things like James Bond movies or Tom Clancy books. Based on what readers have said in response to the book, I seem to have accomplished that and I'm glad I have. But there's been more than that. I've had people say they've been amazed by the depth of character I've given to the protagonist, Richard Monroe, or been surprised by the twists of the plot. A writer I greatly respect, Trent Zelazny, went so far as to say that the writing is "mind boggling, slick and with a high polish, yet dripping with humanity and often poetry." I literally had tears in my eyes as I read that review. Good tears, because I seem to have accomplished what I set out to do and then more.

I also recently released my second vampire novel, ACROSS THE MIDNIGHT SEA (sequel to 100,000 MIDNIGHTS). My goal there was the same as it always is, to entertain. Now those books contain an element of romance and some sex scenes. The sex is there because it's part of the story, not for any other reason. To be honest, I'm not very comfortable writing about sex. It feels clumsy to me, slightly embarrassing, maybe too personal to be sharing with the world, even if it's the characters having the sex and, obviously, not me. I don't get too graphic with my literary depictions of sex. I tend to use metaphors and hints. It's certainly not outright erotica. So imagine my surprise recently when a reader reported being aroused by those scenes! I'll take the compliment, gladly, but it's not what I expected to hear.

Getting comments like those from readers and reviewers has caught me off guard and I take it as a sign that I'm doing something right, becoming a better writer. I won't try to duplicate those successes, but will continue to do what I've always done, which is write by instinct, put down the words that seem to tell the story best. If those words have deeper effects than I anticipated, good!

The lesson I've learned: trust myself, write what feels right. Experience, guided by instinct, and a hell of a lot of practice seems to be paying off.

As I said earlier, I swear I didn't do it on purpose!