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.

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.

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.

No Use for Magic

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

[I asked her if she was joking. Her frown told me she wasn’t. “Every last penny, gone,” she said. “And that’s not the worst of it,” she continued, leaning across the table.] “We haven’t made a dollar in weeks.”

“That’s impossible,” I said. “Hasn’t anyone been in to buy a book?”

“Why would they?” She threw up her hands. “All of these books are digitized online.”

“Well, you can’t digitize the dead. Someone must have come in to commune with the spirits.”

“Everyone has therapists now. There’s no reason to ask the dead for advice.”

“The invisibility cloaks were always a big seller.”

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Immortal Soul

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Birthday post!

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

[The desert is an unforgiving place. This one is called Death Valley for a reason. Every living thing there has to fight for survival. And we would have to fight, too, or else] we would no longer be dead.

Many souls come to Death Valley, me and Ricky just two of them. We come here to escape the cycle of life. In forests, a soul can be trapped in the body of a wolf or deer or mouse. In cities, they can be trapped in the worst of all: a human. Anything newly born is looking for a soul to pluck out of the air to fill it.

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Finding Lucifer

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

[We took turns guarding the door, neither of us sleeping very much. Ricky looked nervous, and suddenly I felt bad about getting him involved. I shouldn’t have] insisted we draw the door to Hell in his house, but I didn’t expect it to not go away. I had drawn it in chalk and salt and blood, just as the book said to. And the door had materialized just as the book said it would. We had ventured through the door into the flames and found Lucifer, as I knew we would.

Okay, here I should explain. By Lucifer, I mean my cat Lucifer, who was only in Hell because he got hit by a car last week. And, well, all cats go to Hell of course.

As I regarded Ricky, all heightened nerves from the demons that occasionally scratched at the other side of the door, Lucifer lay on an armchair, licking a paw and looking for all the world as if he had never been in the bowels of Hell just a couple days ago. The bastard barely even greeted me when I picked him up out of the fires. Oh well, I love him anyway.

But that damned door didn’t vanish when we all came back through it, as the book said it was supposed to. And I think the demons are mad that they lost Lucifer. Lucifer my cat, I mean, not… Anyway, the door looks pretty strong, right?