Follow-up on New Book and Katabasis

Hi all! I’m regretfully admitting that I have to push back my new release again. I’m still dealing with some things and, though I wanted to put out this book in the wintertime due to its setting, I’ll have to wait until I’m fully satisfied with it. I also need to rewrite its accompanying short story that I’ll be releasing for free download along with it. So, there’s still too much to do! And I’ll not beat myself up about the delay!

In the meantime, I’ve decided to post a series on my page here. It’s something written purely for fun with a Greek D&D feel and a little bit of silly romance, and it’s not quite up to my publishing standards, so you get it for free! I’ll be posting it in bits until I catch up to where I stopped it, and then if people like it I’ll write more. So here is: Katabasis (or its working title: SKELETONS!).

(Sorry, I don’t have anything drawn for this, so have a dinky AI cover.)

Whenever he left a town, he always let himself have a brief fantasy that he was leaving to return home, that he knew somehow where home was and was following the path there. That in just a few days’ time, he would be walking back in the gates, and would be greeted, and maybe the spell on him would be broken and he could respond to anyone who spoke to him.

He had a few spare minutes to let his imagination work this way as he left Kalfas. The road changed from stone to dirt as he left the bustle of the town behind and the temple of Athena on its little hill was lost behind the trees. The sun was rising, just peeking over the horizon, though that was hidden behind the foliage as well. He imagined that he had asked directions, and that he had requested transportation just up the road. A horse-driven cart passed by him and the fantasy dissolved. He couldn’t even ask the driver if he could ride in the cart. He wouldn’t risk just hopping in – sometimes the drivers beat him out of their carts. He had no directions, and he would have to walk. It wasn’t like he didn’t have the time for it, but there were other thieves in the woods, and he couldn’t outrun them on foot. He had been beaten that way, too.

Whatever. He was used to it.

Continue reading

What’s This?!?

Big news is on the way!

Stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s a prompt I wrote to a long time ago and never uploaded.

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc., which I got from the Scribbler box.

[Sometimes kids are the only ones willing to say what’s really on their minds, and our family needed a little dose of honesty. We almost never said something straight out. My mother was the worst. All she would do was] frown and purse her lips whenever the body was mentioned. We all saw it, hanging in the air and following one or another of us around. Nobody would say who killed it, though it had to be one of us, since it was haunting our family. Some of us mentioned the smell and tried to cover it up with flowers or candles, and some of us would complain about ‘the clutter’ if the body got in our way, but mom was silent on the matter. Any hint of discussion about the thing brought only a frown and disapproving glare from her.

Continue reading

I’m Back: Depression and Other Crap

Over two years ago, I self-published a series of novellas. At the beginning of 2021, I self-published my first full-length novel. I had big dreams going forward from there; I had more books I had already written, books ready to have the final touches be put on them and published. I had several short stories I just needed to polish up and submit out. I had finished the first draft of book one of the sci-fi/fantasy/horror epic I had been planning out for two decades. I had thoughts of book launches, submissions, maybe even an acceptance or two.

And then everything fell apart.

I’ve always had depression and anxiety. I was already on medication for it. But a combination of my day job and covid isolation sent me into a downward spiral that saw me paying attention to my writing less and less until I did none of it at all. I was in the emergency room several times, not for suicide attempts, but just for a feeling of hopelessness and despair. I entered a partial hospitalization program whose psychiatrists type-cast me into meds that made me feel even more horrible, until I wished that I was suicidal so that I could die. I asked to enter full psychiatric hospitalization.

It was the best thing I’ve ever done.

While in the hospital, my meds were fixed and I learned coping skills that even after two rounds of partial hospitalization a decade apart I hadn’t ever internalized. I began looking for a new job the instant I was home, and in the meantime I got a figurative punch to the gut that showed me once and for all that my workplace of eight years was toxic as hell. After a new job and a few hiccups, I’m writing again. I had to put together a list of writing tasks I need to get done, because I’d forgotten what I had been doing on each book or story: editing, formatting, typing, submitting… But I want to publish again.

My plans have been pushed back. Last year, I had made a declaration that this year I would have enough books published to have a booth at a spooky crafty fair that my town holds every Halloween. I had expected to build an audience through rapid releases, with plenty of social media announcements to match. I had wanted to build my Tik Tok audiences by reading off more of my drabbles. I had been planning a subscription-based series.

I don’t believe in platitudes. Everything does not happen for a reason. It’s sad that all these things are going to happen later than I planned, but it can all still happen. Soon to come, I’ll have a cover reveal for my next book. And maybe I’ll post some blogs about my weirdo journey too, who knows. All I can say right now is if you – you out there – need help, ask somebody for it. Share your problems with other people. That was the most difficult lesson for me to accept.

Mother’s Hands

This prompt (in brackets) is taken from Complete the Story by Piccadilly Inc.

[Even after a long day at work, my mother’s hands worked tirelessly: chopping vegetables for dinner, stitching our clothes, whatever needed doing. I loved her hands and admired them. I wanted to be strong like her. But at the time, I couldn’t be. I would have, and gladly, if I weren’t so] afraid of what I had to do to gain that strength. I didn’t dare. I could only watch those hands cook and clean and mend. I could feel them on my own hands, the muscles in them rippling over my flesh, the veins pumping strong blood through them, the fingers gripping mine as if to say, “You are not enough to have these.”

But I knew I would have them one day.

Back then, all I could do was take the sharpest knife from the kitchen and creep into her room late at night or early in the morning. I could stand by her bedside and watch those hands of hers twitch as she dreamed, see them clutch the covers as if to crush them, paw at the air as if to strangle something. I could grip the handle of the knife, but I couldn’t bring it to her wrists. I couldn’t cut off those hands for myself.

Continue reading

Free Prequel to Black Heart

My horror short story Black Flame is available for FREE. You can download it here, and you can enjoy it whether or not you’ve read Black Heart already.

In this prequel to the events of Black Heart, an agent of the Office of Demonic Defense finds that the new demon he’s captured on the streets of Berlin speaks. But he might not like what it says.

TW: Suicide. This one is DARK.

Black Heart is OUT today!

Black Heart is available today – on Kindle, KU, and IN PRINT! I can’t believe I actually have a copy of a book I wrote in my hand!

You might have already read this book, as it was posted on this site as I wrote it. This version is edited, and much better.

As for this site… I’ve completely forgotten about this place, haven’t I? Well, now that the madness of getting this book is done, I hope to post more articles, especially about all the self-publishing stuff I’ve learned along the way. In the meantime, check out my book.

Oh yeah! There’s a free preview available! Check it out here!