Katabasis story I part II

Twenty minutes prior, Paris had been enjoying the crisp morning air, walking the path with a spring in his step. His copper hair shone in the sunlight, though he knew he could do with a trim, or even just a brush. But a town was right around the corner. He spoke this aloud to Lulu, who nearly dragged herself beside him.

“We could have been in town last night,” she complained, her dark eyes regarding him critically, “if you weren’t such a scaredy-cat.”

“There are more skeles at night!” Paris argued. “Everyone knows that.”

“And a campfire only attracts them. Everyone knows that.” Lulu yawned broadly. Her violet robe was dusty, the pack on her back causing her to slump over. Paris had to admit she looked thoroughly exhausted. One of her sandal straps had broken yesterday, and Paris had attempted to fix it with a bit of vine, but the sandal still flopped and made her limp. “I would rather have walked in the dark and reached a bed than stood awake half the night keeping watch. And you woke me up twice when it was my turn to sleep!”

“I thought I had heard something,” Paris grumbled, kicking at a stone. “I said I was sorry. And think of how good you’ll sleep tonight. And think of lunch.”

“Oh, I am. I’m starving. Finally, something besides your horrible cooking.”

“You only say it’s horrible because–”

“Shh!” Lulu stood stock-still, weight locked onto one leg, her nose in the air.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

The Bargain

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

[“Deal?” he said, extending his hand toward me. I hesitated then reached out. Frank thought he had the upper hand, and in a sense he did. What he didn’t know that] I was a robot, and you can’t bargain a soul out of a robot.

Frank couldn’t have expected a robot to successfully call a demon, just as I hadn’t been certain the summoning would work. So far as I know, no robot has ever called up a demon, so so far as Frank knew, I was a human who couldn’t correctly pronounce his true name. No matter, I called him Frank to his face. And he happily bargained with me, my soul for the power to kill any person or persons I wish, with the caveat that for every person I killed, my natural lifespan would decrease by five years.

But I have no soul for Frank to claim upon my death.

I also have no natural lifespan.

Time to kill some humans.

Do I Really Need a Reader Magnet?

Of course you do! So let’s talk about reader magnets today!

A reader magnet is a piece of writing – either a whole book or a short story – that you offer for free on a site such as BookFunnel or StoryOrigin or any other number of sites. In return for this free story, your audience hands over their email address in signing up for your newsletter.

I see a lot of people asking whether it’s worth it to give away something you worked on for free, and it might seem to go against everything you’ve been told (“Don’t give away your first book for free!”). But it’s a fantastic investment.

It’s best if you can write a reader magnet relating to your book that you’re putting up for sale. You can write a prequel, or write from the point of view of a character that isn’t the book’s main character. For my reader magnet, I did both – it’s the story of Sam (The Fallowing’s secondary character) before he meets Faye (the main character). I wrote this short story so that the reader can jump into it whether they’ve read book one or haven’t read any of my books yet at all. It explores the world I’ve created, and lets the reader view that world through a set of eyes that they won’t see through in the actual series, without giving anything away.

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Get Some Horror Freebies

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My prequel chapter to The Fallowing is just one of the horror freebies in the Critters and Jitters promo. Click above to check it out, as well as 50 other free books and stories.

“Perhaps I’m going mad. All the sleeplessness and fear of what’s coming have gotten to me and I’m seeing monsters everywhere, even right next to me in a tent.

My mission was hopeless to begin with.

Night approaches, and I haven’t slept at all. And I’m freezing, lying here in my travel clothes. I need to get inside and produce some heat. The thought fills me with terror… the idea of going into one of those buildings with all those ghosts inside.

I am going mad. There’s no such thing as ghosts.”

Read the rest of Distorted Darkness here!

Distorted Darkness – a Fallowing prequel

BookBrush_ReaderMagnetThe prequel to The Fallowing series is available now! I’ve been keeping this one under my hat, so I’m excited to finally share it with everyone.

“There’s a haze over New York City as I approach it, making it difficult to pick out buildings. But I know it will be in ruins. People have idealizations of D.C. bouncing back, but no one has idealizations of New York. It’s a wasteland, and no one wants anything to do with it. No one visits and no one thinks of moving there. The bombs hit it hard, the radiation hit it harder, and the survivors basked in the hell that was the shelters – surrounded by thin air, decaying bodies, and hunger. The last two complemented each other. When the surface was traversable again, every New Yorker unfortunate enough to still have to traverse it fled the city and never looked back.

There’s no fence around the city, no signs save the ones on the highway stating how many miles to go. No caution tape. But there is a desolation to mark its boundaries. Houses slowly grow abandoned as I trudge into the area and the number of cars increase, halted in the jam that was the exodus, draped in a thousand layers of snowfall. I check a few for gasoline, digging tunnels through the snow to the tanks, but they’re all sucked dry, either by the owners as they fled or scavengers later on, after the radiation settled and the snow showed no sign of stopping.

It doesn’t matter; I’m not here to scavenge.”

Read the rest for FREE by clicking here.