Friday, October 30, 2015

Through the Narrows - The Paperback is Available!

For those you who prefer paperbacks to ebooks, I have some great news. Book #2 in the Tomahawk & Saber series, Through the Narrows, is now available as a trade paperback.

Through the Narrows continues the story of Wolf Tongue and Pyke, once again thrown together by fate and called out for a dangerous mission. As good as I think the first book in the series is, it's this author's humble opinion that TTN is better in every regard...but hey, I'll let you be the judge of that if you want ;-)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Marketing Milestone - New Covers

Hey folks - Just a quick update. My paranormal thrillers have some slick, new covers. They're debuting here and will be up on Amazon as soon as they can process the change behind the scenes. Pretty cool.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's Been A Year?

It's been a little over a year since I hit publish on a book called The Unearthed, a paranormal thriller that has punched well above its weight. At the time I had the next two books in the series mostly written, had some ideas for a fourth, and was working with my buddy Nathanael Green on our historical series (and another top-super-secret, if I told you I'd have to kill you, project).

I didn't know what to expect. I'd read a lot of conflicting advice online:
  • exploit social media v. don't waste your time on blogs or on Facebook;
  • price your books cheap v. keep in mind the reader's perception of value;
  • make your book free v. make your book $0.99;
  • publish frequently v. leave them wanting for a little while to build anticipation;
  • exclusive on Amazon v. don't put all your eggs in one basket;
  • stick to one genre v. spread your wings and create a diverse portfolio of IP; and on and on...

My actions over the last year have been what I call quasi-purposeful. The goal was to release something once a month. When I set out on this crazy journey I didn't know what those somethings would be. Instead I just used momentum to write. Wherever my energy seemed to point me, I followed it and once I got rolling, I tried not to stop until I got to the end. Of course it didn't always work out like that but for the most part it's a good policy (and one of Heinlein's Rules!).

I didn't quite produce one novel per month but I can't be upset with my results so far. Right now I have 8 novels out and 3 more that I might sneak in this year. And the effort I put in to writing short stories cut in to my novel-writing time much more significantly than planned. I won't make that "mistake" again, though it's hard to consider it a mistake because I spent that time writing different kinds of stories so I'm hoping I learned a thing or two.

Over the year I've seen things change pretty dramatically. For the first eight months, I saw a steady rising trend in sales with The Unearthed series accounting for about 95% of my royalties. Then, for whatever reason, the trend reversed during the summer and sales have slowed on those books. I don't know why. My overly-simple theory is I haven't put a new one out in almost six months. In self-publishing time, that's like sixty-six months!

What I have learned in a year? First and foremost, that I have a lot more to learn. But if you're thinking about self-pubbing, here are some things to keep in mind. None of these will be earth-shattering:

  • Novels sell (MUCH) better than shorts;
  • Series sell (MUCH) better than standalones;
  • Genre sells better than literary fiction;
  • Genre series sell the best;
  • Readers start treating the books as a series (in terms of sales) once you release book four or five;
  • Publishing frequently, one novel per month, gives you the best shot at breaking out (I can say this not because I've done it but because I've seen others do it with success);
  • The hard part isn't coming up with ideas. The hard part is guessing which stories will work, then executing on the idea. Writers never run out of ideas; and
  • I cannot justify any time spent writing short stories.
Twelve months of doing this and that's all the advice I have? Yes, that's all the advice I have right now. This goes back to what I was saying earlier. I did everything this year quasi-purposefully. I had some general goals in mind but nothing that specific. Rather than chase every new fad or trend or marketing scheme or ebook fancy-schmantzy software, I focused on production. More books out meant more ways for readers to discover me.

I have bigger plans for year two ;-)

Here's what I hope to answer over the next twelve months:

  • Does marketing work? I spent zero time this past year marketing, outside of starting a mailing list and doing the occasional giveaway on Amazon. Could this be the missing link for me?
  • Do I need different book covers? I already know the answer here, actually. Yes, I do. Too many other people in the know have mentioned this for me to continue ignoring their advice. It's a shame because I love the covers I have (they're different than everything else in my genre). But it's time to switch them out and try something new. Get ready for the new ones. They'll be out soon ;-)
  • Can I grow different readerships across genres? By the end of 2016, I'd like to have four different series published. Right now I have two going strong, with a possible third starting soon (the top-super-secret project). When 2016 comes to a close, I want to take a long, hard look at sales to see where I'm succeeding and where I'm failing and make intelligent decisions about how to spend my writing time.

Here's what I WON'T try again:

  • One short story per month. This is much harder than it seems and folks, I'm telling you the God's honest truth, short stories just don't sell. They really don't. I've gotten great feedback on my shorts from readers, so quality isn't the issue. Now I know all of you are going to say "Well, what about SO AND SO" and I'm going to tell you every single example you can come up with is an outlier. You can hope to be an outlier, but you can't plan a business strategy around being one. Plus, if you're like me, you have limited time to write (DAY JOB!), which means short story writing cuts into your novel writing time.
  • Permafree. I tried this with The Unearthed and moved 40 - 50 copies per day. Good thing I didn't hold my breath waiting for all the other books in the series to take off. Everybody told me they would, but they sure as shit didn't. Don't know why.
  • Too Many Standalones. This will be difficult to stick to (I can already see myself breaking this rule). I have a bunch of standalones in flight right now, and plenty of ideas for more. But I really want to make sure I focus my efforts in 2016 on series. So I'd like to close out the few I have in progress ASAP and then get back on the series track.

So that's all to report on for now. Sorry that there weren't any great pearls of wisdom. Some indies will share their sales data publicly - I ain't that kind of guy. But I can tell you I've made much more than I expected and more than what I would have gotten from an NY publishing house. And the best part of that is, I've held onto my IP rights. This should come as no great shock to anyone that has been paying attention to the Author Earnings website, which very recently showed that authors just starting out today have a better shot at making a living writing over time by self-publishing as opposed to getting a contract with a house.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all my Year One readers. You folks got in early so you'll always hold a special place in this humble writer's heart. Now if you'll excuse me, I have like eighteen books to finish...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Author Showcase on Yours Truly

A big thank you to Mrs. Mommy Booknerd for doing an author showcase on yours truly in connection with my recent YA release, OtherWorld. As they used to say, it must have been a slow news night....


Now I'm off to read Mike Faricy's latest, Corridor Man, the first in a new series of books from the funniest guy in Minnesota.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Through the Narrows

Book 2 of the Tomahawk & Saber series, Through the Narrows, is available now!

Wolf Tongue and Pyke's adventures continue as they return a familiar, but not very friendly, place, prompted by reports of Indian raiding.

Readers that enjoyed the first in the series, Language of the Bear, are bound to like this one. If LOTB was Heart of Darkness meets Lethal Weapon, Through the Narrows is Zulu meets The Searchers.

Yes, really.

Though it's set in the Province of Pennsylvania in the mid 18th century, this book functions very much like a Western. When you read it, you'll see what I mean.

Things get pretty dark in this story. Wolf Tongue's tribe continues to dwindle. Pyke's career has stalled. And both are forced to defend a less-than-deserving town.

Will we see more of Wolf Tongue and Pyke?

I hope so...

Here's the blurb for Through the Narrows:

Wolf Tongue of the Susquehannock and Lieutenant Hugh Pyke of the British Army barely survived their first mission together. Now with the French and Indian War beginning to flame around them, the frontier of the Pennsylvania Colony is restless.

When they’re called back to protect Millers Town from Indian raiders, Pyke and Wolf Tongue discover the settlement is outnumbered and there is no militia to reinforce them. Even worse, Pyke and Wolf Tongue fear the townsfolk harbor secrets just as deadly as their attackers.

As Pyke tries to build a haphazard defense with a band of farmers and children against an almost inevitable slaughter, the mysteries of the town begin to unravel. Pyke realizes his life is in danger from the very people he is duty-bound to protect—perhaps, even from the beautiful French outcast who seems to know more than she should.

With a final, crushing attack imminent, Wolf Tongue hurries to rescue a kidnapped girl who might be the only hope for the town’s survival while Pyke struggles to protect the innocent. As they carve away layers of deceit, both men must confront the terrible truths behind Millers Town to survive the dangers to their lives, their peoples, and their honor.

Through the Narrows continues the historical adventure of the Tomahawk and Saber series, filled with suspense and action that captures the deadly brutality, danger, and strength of Colonial America.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The True Test....

So far the feedback on my YA fantasy adventure, OtherWorld, has been very positive. Thanks to everybody that's given the book a try, from beta readers, to editors, to early reviewers, and readers. While I'm very appreciative of the praise (and in true Evan Ronan fashion, already thinking it's undeserved), the warm and fuzzy feeling has come with a tiny, little, nagging asterisk:

*All feedback to date has come from adults.

It's one thing for an adult to be entertained by a story. When you write a suspense thriller, you have a very large, somewhat forgiving demographic to work with. All my other stories are, basically, intended for readers aged 18 to 118. If it doesn't work for 21 year olds, that's okay, because it could still work for 25 year olds, or 30 year olds, or 55 year olds...

YA is a whole different animal. Your target audience is much smaller. Sure, some adults will read YA but you can't count on them. No, YA books live and die with kids.

So I'm sure you can understand that I'm incredibly anxious to get feedback from the intended audience. Well, be careful what you wish for, as they say...

Olivia at The Kid Book Reviewers has been kind enough to give the book a try. (By the way, this is a very cool site. I'm totally stoked to see kids reviewing books!) So far she likes it, and I hope I make good on the promise of the first chapter in her eyes.

Every day I tell my daughters a new made-up story. They usually enjoy this part of our day, but if the story ain't working, they are sure to let me know...really quickly ;-) In many ways, I think a younger reader is harder to please than an adult.


Right now I'm running a special offer on OtherWorld: it's just $0.99. Or, if you'd like to get a FREE COPY, I'll happily send one along in exchange for an honest review (shoot me an email at

And stay tuned for another exciting announcement on Tuesday....

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Dream Machine Will Be Out This Year

Dear Loyal Readers / Eddie McCloskey Fanboys and Fangirls -

Just a friendly reminder that the sixth book in The Unearthed series, The Dream Machine, will be out this year.

I can't get any more specific timing-wise than that, but I promise you it will be out in 2015.

Many people have asked how long the series will be, and it's difficult to say. At this point I can see four or five more stories that will round out Eddie's character arc. Don't know if there'll be anything left in the creative tank after that for this universe, though I have toyed with the idea of doing Stan and Moira paranormal investigations. Those would be more cozy/humorous mysteries, a la Nick and Nora Charles.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and Eddie!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

OtherWorld - Special Offer Now Only $0.99

I'm running a special offer on OtherWorld. It's normally 3 bones, but I've marked it down to $0.99 so get it cheap while you can.

So far I've gotten a couple real nice early reviews. Here's what folks are saying:

"This would be an incredible TV show"
"Emotionally moving fantasy will remind you of 80s movies"
"Outside of the fantasy and adventure, the emotional guts of this thing are absolutely compelling and heart-wrenching"

Thanks to my early reviewers!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Happy 40th to My Favorite Rock Album of All Time!


I've listened to this album more than any other. Few bands can create a wall of sound as interesting and haunting and powerful as the E Street Band back in the day.

The tracks on here range from the youthfully optimistic to the utterly tragic, but all of them have a romantic, restless quality about them. The message here, if any, is this: life is worth living the s--t out of, even if doesn't go according to plan. (And it won't.)

Hard to argue with that sentiment.

Thank you, Bruce and co. for the endless hours of entertainment.

Monday, August 24, 2015

(Maybe) Vesuvius Day

In researching Ancient Rome for one of my works-in-progress, I came across an interesting tidbit that will probably be familiar to historians...

We typically mark August 24th as the day that Vesuvius erupted catastrophically, way back in 79 AD, and ravaging the nearby countryside and towns. That date comes to us from the writings of Pliny the Younger (not to be confused with his uncle, Pliny the Elder), who wrote of the ordeal several years after the fact.

However, there is plenty of historical evidence that the destruction of Pompeii, situated southeast of the volcano, actually occurred two or three months later. For instance (from Wikipedia)...

"People buried in the ash appear to be wearing heavier clothing than the light summer clothes that would be expected in August. The fresh fruit and vegetables in the shops are typical of October, and conversely the summer fruit that would have been typical of August was already being sold in dried, or conserved form. Wine fermenting jars had been sealed over, and this would have happened around the end of October. Coins found in the purse of a woman buried in the ash include one which features a fifteenth imperatorial acclamation among the emperor's titles. These cannot have been minted before the second week of September. So far there is no definitive theory as to why there should be such an apparent discrepancy."

I'll leave it to folks much smarter than me to argue over the discrepancy though it remains one of history's fascinating open questions.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum in high school (back when I actually knew Latin) and as an archaeological site, it's totally cool. (Side note: For whatever reason, the tourist site was known for its stray dogs, which I can attest to!)

All this research has been a fun little diversion as I work through this latest novel, set during the time of Vesuvius's eruption. The aftermath features in the story, but isn't the central part of the narrative. It's just a stop along the way for the characters...

Anyway, just wanted to say Happy Maybe Vesuvius Day. (Though "Happy" probably isn't the right word...)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Release Day and More Updates

OtherWorld is available for purchase or borrow now on Amazon!

I've blogged about this book a couple times now so I won't belabor any previous points. But I will take this opportunity to reiterate how excited I am!

Thrillers are my favorite genre so The Unearthed books are in my wheelhouse. I also love historical fiction, so again, the Tomahawk & Saber series is a genre I have a pretty good grasp of. (As a reader, and hopefully as a writer...)

But YA is a different animal. I didn't read much YA growing up, making the leap pretty early on to adult mysteries and thrillers when I began reading in earnest. Looking back now, I've read more YA books as an adult in the last few years than I did as a kid.

I love the genre and the "challenges" of writing in it. I'm looking forward to reader feedback on this book.


Hard at work on (too many) several projects, as always. Nate Green and I are wrapping up the edits on Through the Narrows, book 2 in the Tomahawk & Saber series.

Aside from that, also working on my crime fiction collaboration (The Board) with Jann Gott as well as an unplanned novel that pushed, elbowed, jostled all the other works in progress out of the way to cut in line in my subconscious. Love how that's going, more to come soon.

And last but not least, the Kwahlah series has snuck up on me again. For those of you that don't know about it, check out the prequel short story, E, I put out last year. It gives a good sense of what the serial will be like. I've been putting that off for awhile but for whatever reason (some would call it The Muse), it's back on my mind and now I'm chomping at the bit to get going there.

We shall see....

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


This post is for writers.

Everything we do is habit.


From getting up in the morning, to eating, to exercising, to going to work, to being good friends, to being good parents, to being good spouses.

Everything we do is habit.

Writing is part of "everything."

Ergo, writing is habit.

It's difficult to form a new habit, but once you've got it, it's also difficult to break a habit.

Even modest goals will go a long way. Tonight, try writing 1,000 words.

Not that hard, right? It's literally four double-spaced pages. Four pages. That's all.

Now make that 1,000 words into a daily habit.

In three months you have a 90,000 word rough draft. (80k - 100k is the range for most genre fiction, excluding high fantasy.)

In a year you have four 90,000 word manuscripts. By year's end, two or three of those should be polished enough to either query agents or self-publish.

One year's work, four books.

Think about it.

All it takes is 1k words a day.

Slow and steady wins the race.

You can go really far on just 1,000 words a day.

Do I always get 1k words? Nope.

But let's assume I only hit my goal half the time. At the end of a year, I've written two books. In a few short years, of only reaching my goal 50% of the time, I'll build a sizable backlist.

Shoot for Mars, land on the moon as they say.

Habit wins the race.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hyper Ashley Reviews The Traveler

Ashley is one of those brave (and I mean brave) early reviewers who agreed to take a
look at The Unearthed for me...since then she's been kind enough to review all the sequels.

Here's the link to her latest review. A BIG THANK YOU TO ASHLEY!

Ashley is also an author, hard at work on a novel. I hope to see it soon - and make sure to check out her book review site.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Living By Fear

Not too long ago (five months, actually) I blogged about the middle-grade/YA book I was dying to write for my daughters. In my head this story had to be perfect. It was for my girls and it was my way of empowering kids to think for themselves and harness their imagination to do great things. Very quickly, this story had become more than just a story. It had become a statement, it would serve as a lasting testament of my undying and fierce love for my daughters, it had a message and a point.

It had become important.

At the time I had an outline and half a draft and was chugging along. But because the story had gotten so big in my mind, that not-so-little voice of doubt started to poison my thinking. Who was I to write this book? I hadn't done anything like this before. At that point I'd written paranormal thrillers, comedy shorts, and a zombie short story series. The paranormal books were doing okay, but nothing else had taken off. This book, on the other hand, was for a completely different audience in a new genre and it had a message.

Fear crippled me. Fear made me rationalize putting the book aside "until I was a better writer."

After all, the story was important. And I was, by no means, an important writer. No way did I have the chops.

So I put it away.

I worked on other stories and kept putting out new material, but the book for my daughters was never far from my mind. Soon enough, impatience took over.

When would I be good enough to write this book?

Not yet, I told myself, thinking up more excuses, more rationalizations, and more reasons to do something else.


I was in the bookstore a couple months ago, just browsing the YA section for inspiration. Every book I picked up sounded great, all these authors had put out stories with fresh premises and interesting characters and...again, I couldn't write a book like that.

Could I?

I probably spent two hours in the store that day, wandering the aisles and reading the cover copy on literally dozens of books. I love to see what other authors are doing, not to copy them, but to get inspired to do my own thing.

I left the store with a bunch of books that day and many more ideas for stories, but one thing I noticed was that nobody else had written a book like the one that was floating around in my head.

But I wasn't good enough to write that book.


We've evolved to live by fear. I get why. For probably 98% of our existence as a species we had to worry about our literal survival on a daily basis. Compared to the rest of the animal kingdom, we're slow and not very strong. It's only natural that our evolution would be linked somewhat to fear.

I've lived by fear more than I care to admit. Fear is good when you're lost in a bad neighborhood and it tells you not to go down that dark alley. Fear isn't so good, though, in many other situations. It absolutely sucks when you have a passion to do something that few make a living at.

Like writing.

Fear made me go to graduate school so I could get a good job. You know, the kind of job that would lead to a well-paying career in a respected field. Didn't matter I had no interest in doing that kind of work. I let fear talk me right into doing the "sensible" thing.

Three months into the job, I was miserable.

But fear made me stay for another two years.


It's hard not to live by fear. We're wired to. The safe and the known and the comfortable all conspire to keep us in the status quo. Because it's easier and everything is under control. Right?


Control is a complete and utter illusion. That job you love? It might be gone in six months. Your company could merge with another organization and voila, you're redundant. Your boss, who you got along with so well for many years, could leave and be replaced by somebody that just doesn't like you. The laws governing the work you're doing might change, making your job unnecessary. New technology might be developed that makes your work obsolete.

And on and on.

Said another way, we're at risk no matter what we do so living by fear does not necessarily put us in a better place.


That's a lesson that I have relearn from time to time: living by fear does not insulate us from risk.

And I realized, after that day at the bookstore, that fear was keeping me from writing this book. All the other stories I'd written or were working on, I'd been thinking of those as safe. But like I said, there is no such thing as safe. Paranormal thrillers could fall out of fashion tomorrow and my modest sales on The Unearthed series could take a nosedive. And if that was the case, why the hell not try something new?

So I picked up where I left off on the book for my daughters.


Fast-forward two months and I'm stoked to say I finished it.

OtherWorld is available for PREORDER ON AMAZON right now. I'll continue to polish the manuscript up until the big release, but I can say that I'm really happy with how it turned out. If I had waited another few years so I could grow as a writer, would it have been better? Maybe. Or maybe I would have never written it. I'll never know ;-) Like they say, the best time to do anything is right now, so rather than wait around and see, I just said what the hell and got to writing.

OtherWorld is totally unlike anything else I've done and, since it's YA, there's none of the cynicism that's usually present in my other stuff. It made me feel like a kid again writing it. It was a joy to work on. And to think, fear had almost robbed me of that experience.

To be clear, I'm not saying I'm a courageous person for having written a book. There are many braver acts in this world and much more important things people do. The wider point is: we let fear infect our lives, sometimes without even realizing it. I'd done that with this book. Fear has a way of disguising itself and pretending to be your friend. Fear put on a smile and told me to wait, wait to write this one, wait till you're better, just wait...

Will readers like the book? I have no idea. I've talked before about how authors are the worst judges of their own work. What I think is my strong suit (dialogue), some readers have pointed to as my weakness.

C'est la vie.

I'm okay with not knowing what to expect in terms of sales for two reasons. First, I stopped letting fear get in the way and just wrote the d***ed book. Some might not see that as a victory, but to me that's a win. Because next time I stretch myself to write outside my usual genres, it'll be a little easier. And second, we always live with uncertainty whether we realize it or not. Living by fear doesn't protect you from risk, it only gives you an inflated sense of security. Like the man says, if you're not failing, you're not trying. I'll be okay with failing here.

I'll also be happy if I succeed too ;-)

OtherWorld will be released on August 14th.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Get Bundled Up For Summer

I'm excited to announce I just put out three new bundles!

The first two are for The Unearthed series. By buying a bundle, you're basically getting a free novel:

Bundle 1 ($9.99): The Lost, The Accused and the Damned, The Hysteria
Bundle 2 ($9.99): The Accused and the Damned, The Hysteria, The Traveler

The other bundle is for my zombie series, In The Blood. This series is (so far) four short stories that combined are equal to the length of a novel. I do have plans to extend this series, but probably not until next year (after I get through some more novels!). So for now, you can pick up the whole series as one title here:

In The Blood Omnibus (1 - 4) Zombie Series

Kindle Unlimited subscribers will be pleased to see I've made all these bundles available through KU, meaning you can read several stories for the price of one borrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Authors United Doesn't Understand Anti-Trust Law

Authors United (AU)'s latest bit of non-sequitur saber rattling is infuriating.

For those not keeping score: AU, an organization nominally designed to support authors, has made a habit over the last few years of bitching and moaning about Amazon's "unfair" practices. Nothing Amazon has done is illegal, nor unfair, to date. On the contrary, Amazon:

  • offers authors better royalties than traditional publishers
  • offers authors fairer contract terms than traditional publishers
  • permits authors to retain complete control over their IP and pricing
  • allows anybody to publish
All of which has led to:

  • MORE AUTHORS making money doing what they love
  • MORE BOOKS being published
Know what happens when you offer fairer terms and better royalties to writers, thus making more books available to readers?


AU, please do us indies a solid and stop going after Amazon. I personally like the higher royalties and better terms Amazon offers, and enjoy retaining control over my IP. I'm pretty sure my indie brothers and sisters do as well.

For the record, AU's arguments don't hold any water (I have a legal background) so I doubt the Attorney General takes their latest missive seriously. So then, you might ask, what's got me so pissed off?

It rankles me that AU spends its time and considerable resources picking these inane fights with Amazon, when it could be doing much more important things, you know, like challenging the Big 5 to get traditionally published authors better contract terms.

There's a reason why they don't and it doesn't take a cynic to figure it out.

For better insight: Joe Konrath fisks.
For laughs: Jen Rasmussen brings the funny.

Monday, July 13, 2015

July and August Releases!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This month and next are shaping up to be 60 days of non-stop releases from yours truly.

Last Night at the Video Store dropped 10 days ago and is available through Kindle Unlimited, meaning you can read it "for free" if you're enrolled. It's a funny little romp and the perfect read if you're got fifteen or twenty minutes to kill.

Next up is probably going to be Through the Narrows, the second book in the historical series I'm co-authoring with Nathanael Green. It's with our editors and cover artist right now. Beta feedback has been great so far. Our early readers are saying it's better than the first book.

After that comes Not Safe For Work, the third and probably final tale in my Close of Business series of wildly profane short stories about the absurdity of office life in corporate America. Since this is the last, I'm swinging for the fences in terms of offending any and all. And the mystery part features a classic locked room puzzle our hapless, witless, and mostly useless protagonist has to solve in order to maybe keep his job.

Following the release of NSFW, I'll bundle the Close of Business series into an Omnibus, which I'll make available through Kindle Unlimited as well. Subscribers can read the whole series "for free."

Hopefully rounding out July will be another short story set in the world of corporate America. It's a weird one (if I had an agent or worked with a traditional house they'd tell me not to put it out!), tentatively called The Boss. We'll see how it does. I like it but it's one of those hard-to-classify stories that readers will either enjoy or hate.

(In case you haven't noticed a theme with my work, it's this: I love writing stories that don't fit squarely within genres.)

Then comes August where I...wait for it...wait for it...hopefully release two novels.

OtherWorld, my YA fantasy adventure, is with my editors right now. I've gotten great feedback and hope to have that out in early August. I can't believe this one's close to publication. Not so long ago, I was writing a blog post about not having the chops to do this book...I'll follow-up about that in another post soon.

The Board, my collaboration with Jann Gott, might be out by the end of August. That's a stretch goal, though, but worst case scenario is it comes in early September. Really excited for this one.


Separate from all this, I'm repackaging The Unearthed series in two new bundles that will be available through Kindle Unlimited as well. That way, KU subscribers can check out "one book" but get multiple titles. Win-win for reader and author ;-)

Friday, July 3, 2015

New Short Story Out!

I just dropped a new short story on Amazon, Last Night at the Video Store.

It's a funny little romp and quick read about three college students slowly drifting apart that takes place during a twenty-minute trip to the video store. (Remember those?)

I usually don't talk about process because I'll bet most readers find it boring, but the development of this story might be of interest, so a quick digression from the normal blogging here...

I actually wrote this story years ago, when I was fresh out of college and looking back with ambivalence about my time as an undergraduate. Showing wisdom beyond my years, I put that draft away to let some time pass so I could come back to it with fresh eyes.

When I did read it again, I was disappointed. The story dripped with sentiment and the existential quarter-life crisis the protagonist faced was, for lack of a better term, little more than navel-gazing.

I came back to it recently and thought the premise was good enough but the execution was lacking. So I took it through a few more iterations, excising most of the protag's inner reflections and focusing more on telling a quick, funny, heartfelt slice of life story. The draft went from 10,000 words to 6,000 after several passes and eventually I got it to this point, where I felt comfortable hitting PUBLISH.

Who knows? It might still suck. Authors are usually the worst judges of their own work. I'm sure readers will let me know if it's horrible ;-)

But enough about process...

One thing I did want to mention. If you had signed up for my Newsletter, you would have gotten a free copy of this story last night before it was even available on Amazon.

Just saying.

And I'll probably do that from time-to-time, send my Mailing List random free stuff. It's just the kind of guy I am.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Let the insanity begin...or continue at an increased rate

I've made The Unearthed free. Its my best-selling book, but far from being a best-seller ;-)

You can download it here:

Barnes & Noble

This is all part of a little experiment. I'm going to leave it up for free for a little while (don't know how long) to see if this stirs up interest in the series.

Still not sure about The Unearthed series?

Well, I'm also extending my Free Book offer. Sign up for my Mailing List and you can read any one of my books of your choosing for free.

I'm not very good at math, but that means with a few clicks you can read TWO OF MY BOOKS FOR FREE, ONE OF THEM YOUR CHOOSING.

Sounds too good to be true, right? It's not, I swear.

But get in now, because like I said I don't know how long I'm going to run this special offer.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Introducing Jann Gott

One of the joys of indie publishing is all the options a writer has. I can write in any genre, I control my IP, I can tell off-center stories, I can write to a niche, I can mash up genres in ways a publishing house would scoff at. (Kind of like mashing the paranormal mystery with a legal thriller!)

And last, but certainly not least, is the option to collaborate. With anybody and everybody. In the traditional publishing world, collaborations come with so much red tape they're nearly impossible to make into a reality. But with indie publishing, it's incredibly easy.

And I've had such a blast writing the Tomahawk & Saber series with Nathanael Green, that I figured, why the hell not collaborate with another good friend?

Enter my buddy, Jann Gott. It's because of him I get to say I'm working on an Irish mob story right now. (Never thought I'd say that!)

Our novel is called The Board, and it's a cross between The Wolf of Wall Street, Rounders, and The Departed.

We can't wait to put this book out because in our not so humble opinions it kicks all f--king ass. But more on that in the near future, for now I want to introduce Jann Gott. He took time off from coming up with all these great ideas to answer my questions, which range from half-witted to ridiculous to piercing. (Okay, not piercing.) Here's the Q&A:

Q: Jann, where did you get your idea for The Board?

A: I have been in business management and consulting for decades now.  Moreover, I have been a fan of mob stories and mob movies ever since I was a teenager. Being a fan of both business and mob stories, I thought it would be interesting to put an intelligent and resourceful c-suite consultant in a situation where he has to help the mob or else. There are parallels in both business and the mob, family and business loyalty, hard work, spinning the truth to get your bottom-line, maximizing profit, and dealing with your competition. I readily admit that I can be cynical, but I have often thought that both the business and the mob attempt to crush their competition and the only difference between the two is corporations use mergers, acquisitions, and firings. The mob uses a gun.        

Q: Rumor has it there's a script for The Board floating around somewhere. True?

A: Very true, and you already know that! We started developing the script and outline first. We decided that this would also make a terrific book. I am big admirer of your work and have been for sometime now especially The Unearthed series and Close of Business books. So I jumped at the chance to collaborate and develop the book and the screenplay in parallel.   

Q: For the record, I did not pay you for the plug...but getting back to you, Jann. You're an idea factory. Not more than five minutes goes by where you're not pitching a new idea to me. So tell us about all the other stories you've got planned.

A: I appreciate the compliment. The problem with having so many ideas is staying focused on the one story you have in front of you and not having enough hours in the day to bring all the good ideas to fruition. Other stories we are developing are:

·       a popular Presidential candidate that may also be a sociopath

·       Myrtle Beach buddy story involving 3 high-school best friends that get together after 20 years for a wild weekend golf trip filled with non-stop drinking, partying, dirty words, stupidity, strippers, golf, and coming to terms with the death of one of the friend’s father

·       Curling – Executives that find themselves out of work, unable to land the next c-suite position, and decide to try out as a Curling team in the Winter Olympics       

Q: Boxers or briefs?

A: Boxers – keeps all my best ideas flowing


Q: List your favorite movies (you only get to pick 3).

A: Tough question but probably no surprise given my earlier comment on the Mob

1.  The Godfather

2.  Goodfellas

3.  Heat

Q: Did you ever think you'd be a published author?

A: Never in a million years. I think I read as many books as I have written.  


Q: After The Board, what's the next book going to be?

A: I want to start exploring the Presidential candidate story with you.

Q: Be careful what you wish for...The Board started out as a screenplay. I've struggled trying to translate what was supposed to be a film into a book. What challenges have you faced?

A: I understand that struggle very well. The blessing I have is that I am a very visual person (visual learner) and find myself able to translate the scene in my head as if it were playing right in front of me on screen. That is a curse however, since the meatier background story needs to find a home in the book.

In a screenplay or movie, you can write in flashbacks or cuts to quickly probe into the history of the character, what makes the characters tick, and how the characters may react to a situation based on the quick flashback. A book tends to be more chronological or linear to capture the inner workings of the characters. A movie like Pulp Fiction, which jumps backwards and forwards brilliantly on film, might lose the reader if the book was laid out along the same time line. I can imagine the reader saying, “Hey Vincent was shot two chapters ago. What is he doing in the diner during the robbery at the end of the book?” 

Q: Here's where it gets difficult. Pete Rose: in or out of the Hall of Fame?

A: Dude, Pete Rose was my hero growing up. Nobody played harder and nobody wanted to win more than Pete. My hometown Phillies would not have won the 1980 World Series without Pete Rose.

The problem: he is not likable any more. He was not a good manager for the Reds and clearly fell into a gambling problem and did bet on his own games. Gambling is an addiction and addiction is a disease so I have empathy – I do for my childhood hero. There are also a lot of Hall of Famers with probably worse personal problems however, Pete broke the rules and continues to be a dick about it so ultimately, I say no to the Hall of Fame.   


Well that's all the time we have for now. As we get closer to the launch of The Board, I'm hoping Jann will make a few more appearances on the blog here. It's awesome I've gotten this opportunity to work with him and can't wait to see how the book fares once we release it into the publishing wild.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Harm is currently free on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, Kobo, and Scribd.

I'm working on getting Frontier Justice free on Amazon and elsewhere too.

I plan to make In The Blood (maybe the first two installments) free as well, as soon as my period of exclusivity with Kindle Unlimited ends.

Why all the free stories?

Well, readers have enjoyed my shorts but they don't buy them. This is not surprising to me because as an avid reader myself, I'm the same way: I much prefer novels and rarely plunk cash down on a short. For me it's a no-brainer. I can spend a buck on story I'll read in twenty minutes, or I can spend five bucks on a story that will give me hours of entertainment.

So why not just offer these stories for free and get more people reading my stuff? Win-win, if you ask me.

You can help make Frontier Justice free on Amazon by reporting a lower price. (There's a button on all book pages to do this).

And keep an eye out for more free offers in the near future. I'm toying with making The Unearthed free for awhile to see if it brings more readers into the series. We shall see.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Enter to win a FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPY of Language of the Bear!!!!!!

Nate and I are running a giveaways contest over on Goodreads right now. We will be sending out FIVE FREE AUTOGRAPHED COPIES of Language of the Bear, the first in our historical series set in Pennsylvania in the days of the French and Indian War.

This is all leading up to the release of the second book in the series, Through the Narrows. That one is with our editors now and will be out very soon (as in, this month). I haven't talked too much about Through the Narrows yet, so here's a teaser:

In the second book of the Tomahawk & Saber series, Wolf Tongue and Pyke find themselves defending a less-than-deserving small town on the Pennsylvania frontier against a vastly superior force of Mingos who are out for blood.

If you're a fan of history, adventure, and good old-fashioned character-driven action stories, then you should check these books out. They're fast, fun, violent, and at times brutal.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Get A Free Book When You Sign Up For My Mailing List

I try to keep my newletters short (you're busy), infrequent (is there anything more annoying than a daily group email?), and not salesy (you didn't sign up to constantly get pitched).

But if that doesn't get you clicking, that's okay, because I'm going to sweeten the pot.

Starting tonight, anyone that signs up for my Mailing List will get a free book.

I know what you're thinking. A free book? Surely Ronan is just going to pawn off his unpublished dreck on us while hording his good stuff.


For the next 30 days I'll give you the solo project of your choosing. (Sorry, this offer does not apply to the books I'm co-authoring.)

This is a great deal for anybody wanting to give my paranormal series a try. Or, if you read and enjoyed books 1-3 (all ghost stories) but are unsure of book 4 (NOT a ghost story), you just sign up and try The Hysteria for free.

Pretty cool, right?

As any regular follower of this blog knows, I'm hard at work on a number of projects, with more books in my paranormal thriller series coming out later this year and also standalones due out. So even if you've already churned through The Unearthed books, it's still worth signing up for the Mailing List because more new releases are on the way, and you can redeem your freebie on one of those.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

3 Early Reviews of LOTB

Nate and I have gotten three real good reviews so far on Language of the Bear. Each one does a nice job of giving a good feel for the characters and plot without giving anything away. Two reviewers (without prodding from us, I swear!) were gracious enough to compare the book to its spiritual predecessor, Last of the Mohicans. That's quite a compliment so I want to send a big thank you to our early reviewers so far.


I've made a habit in the past on my solo projects of offering free copies in exchange for honest reviews, a practice that has served both readers and myself well. People are more willing to try out a new author when the book is free, and the subsequent reviews help prospective readers make informed buying decisions.

So now I'd like to extend that offer on Language of the Bear.

If you'd like a free copy in exchange for writing an honest review of the book on Amazon, shoot me an email at

This is a limited time offer, however. First ten to email get a free copy. You really have nothing to lose: if historical fiction and old-school adventure are your thing, then this book is right up your alley. It will cost you nothing but a couple minutes of your time once you're finished the book to write up a review.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Unearthed Passes 50 Reviews on Amazon

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the readers who've left me reviews of The Unearthed on Amazon to date. When I first pushed the book out, I was hoping I'd one day just have fifty readers, never mind reviewers.

The series has come a long way since that day in September, 2014 when I hit publish. Since then I've finished three more books in the series and have the next two planned out. I don't know where the series will go from there. Every time I tell myself, "Okay, that's enough, I'm all out of ideas for Eddie" it isn't long before I'm thinking about him again and that's usually when 2 or 3 more stories come to mind.

I'd love to write a long series about Eddie, kind of in the way MacDonald did for McGee and Child is doing for Reacher right now. Don't know if my frustratingly limited imagination can conjure up enough plots for Eddie and keep him interesting enough to justify an extended series, but we'll see. After all that's part of the fun and challenge.

2015 is not even half over, but I can honestly say it will go down as one of the most interesting, challenging, and fun years ever for me. I'm looking forward to the second half of the year - right now the plan is to release two more Eddie books and also the next two in the historical series I'm writing with my buddy, Nathanael Green. Hopefully I'll put out a few standalones as well.

I'll never forget the first few reviews I got on Amazon. Those brave, early readers decided to give me a shot, and for that I'll be forever grateful.

go raibh maith agaibh, folks.

And no, I can't pronounce that properly.


I mentioned standalones above and it looks like I'll put out a couple middle-grade/YA books this year. Very excited about those, but not expecting a ton of sales. Both are standalones (which don't fare as well as series books) and, kind of like when I released The Unearthed, I'll be happy if I have fifty readers for both.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Love For The Road Warrior

I've often spoken of my unadulterated (and unapologetic) love for George Miller's cult classic, The Road Warrior. The sequel to his first film, Mad Max, was basically a bigger, better, more outlandish remake of the original, with the director essentially trying to one-up himself in every possible way.

The Road Warrior is one of the best pure action movies ever made. Miller and co. trimmed all the fat off the story: it's basically guns and cars. They borrowed their ideas pretty heavily from westerns here, Rio Bravo (good guys trapped in a small space and possess what the bad guys want) and the spaghetti westerns (man with no name and mysterious past rides into town and ends up saving the day) come to mind. To describe the movie in such easy terms though does it a disservice. It is also: a startlingly still relevant post-apocalyptic tale with an offbeat, quirky sense of humor and dim view of humanity. Everybody thinks of Mel as Max (and he is perfect in the role), but there is no shortage of great characters, or great character moments, in this movie either.

The practical special effects employed here STILL hold up today and in fact look a helluva lot better than almost all of the CGI being used for action flicks these days. But what I admire most about this film is Miller's ever-present why-the-hell-not attitude to filmmaking. It's low budget. It stars nobody. It's genre. It's one long car chase. But it's also extremely well-crafted, shot, and especially edited and the f--king score is brilliant. The opening montage captures the mood of the story perfectly, grim and foreboding and sets the stage for the relentlessness to follow. The film is capped off by wonderful narration as the camera pulls away from Max, the Road Warrior, a character the movie has turned into a mythical hero: enigmatic, scarred, conflicted, but ultimately good...and also badass.

Can't wait to see Mad Max: Fury Road this weekend

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015


The Unearthed, the first book in my paranormal thriller series, will be available for
$0.99 later today on Amazon. This is a limited time offer (might be over as early as tonight, we shall see) so grab your copy early.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Language of the Bear Available Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's here, folks.

This book is the start of the series Nate and I have planned out set around the time of the French & Indian War. It features not one, but TWO main characters who are brought together by circumstance to undertake a secret, dangerous mission on the frontier of Colonial Pennsylvania.

Fair warning, this book is not for the faint of heart. Murder, betrayal, scalping, hanging, and a blood-soaked finale caps it all off. This is James Fenimore Cooper on steroids.

Check out the free sample over on Amazon, and if you like the book, please leave us a review.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Can I get a "Hell, Yeah!"?

Language of the Bear will be available on Friday, May 8th! And here's the cover art which looks effing great.

All my books are labors of love, and this one is no exception. It's filled with action, danger, suspense, thrills, romance, and some "oh crap" reversals of fortune.

But what makes this book really special to me is I got to write it with one of my best friends, fellow author Nate Green. Collaborating on a story was such an enlightening process--with Nate's feedback I was able to see a few of my many artistic blind spots--and the end product is a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. I could not have written this good a book without Nate.

Look for it May 8th on Amazon. We're hard at work on the sequel, Through the Narrows, and will have that out soon as well.

Monday, April 27, 2015

My Middle Grade WIP...

No title yet, but this one's about a ten year old girl named Nina who likes to ask that most daunting question: why.

As a matter of fact, she asks it so many times she actually exhausts her limited supply of whys. When that happens, time freezes and her fantastic journey begins. She meets Badger, one of the Askers that no longer exists in reality, who prepares her for the ominous Measurers...a strange race of half-men that keep an accounting of everything to ensure people do enough. To them she must answer. From them she must take back humanity's sense of wonder.


Right now the plan is to write this middle grade fantasy and my other one, OtherWorld, under my name. But I've been toying with the idea of a pen name to avoid brand confusion. I don't want my paranormal thriller readers buying this book thinking it's going to be like the other ones. I also don't want potential middle-grade readers to avoid this book because I write what sound like horror stories (they aren't, not really, but that's another story). When I finish we shall see. Like so many other things, it will probably be a so-called game-time decision ;-)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Favorite Historical Novels

With our historical novel coming out real soon (hopefully this week!), this genre has been on my mind of late. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

  • Bernard Cornwell's Warlord Chronicles (My favorite trilogy of all time, this series is about King Arthur)
  • Fatherland by Robert Harris (little bit of a cheat here, since this is alternative history)
  • The Three Musketeers by Dumas (That's right, folks, it's a historical novel. Dumas wrote in the 19th century and Porthos, Athos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan had their adventures in the 17th century.)
  • Shogun by James Clavell (This is a book you live, not so much as read.)
  • I, Claudius by Robert Graves
  • Imperium by Robert Harris
  • Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales (These take place in the 9th/10th centuries during a pivotal time in English history.)
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (Okay, only half this book is a historical, but what an awesome book!)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mad Max!

I am eagerly awaiting the release of the new Mad Max flick, Fury Road. Tom Hardy is one of my favorite actors working these days (Warrior, anybody?) and in terms of laconic intensity, just what you want for the character of Max, he's the perfect choice for the role (again, Warrior, anybody?).

The Mad Max films were a staple of my youth. Simple stories, but well-executed simple stories. The Road Warrior, my favorite, is basically a future western that combines elements of Rio Bravo and one of Eastwood's spaghetti westerns, with Max obviously serving as The Man With No Name. The action is great, the stunts are real, and the music soars and gives the films the epic feel they deserve.

This new film has been a looooonnnnng time coming. Trying not to get my hopes up too high, but...oh whatever. I'm basically eight years old again when I watch the trailer. I hope it effing rocks.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Hard Sci-Fi

Hard sci-fi is hit or miss for me. I tend to enjoy stories set in the near future where the universe still at least resembles the one I currently inhabit - find it much easier to relate to the characters. Perhaps that's a failure of imagination on my part but hey, there's only so many hours in the day and so many other things I want to read also, so I try to stick to something I know I'll enjoy when it comes to a genre that's otherwise spotty for me.

The one I'm reading now is going to be a hit for me. The Martian by Andy Weir is about a NASA mission to Mars that goes horribly wrong, stranding our hero on the surface with limited food, water, and air, and no hope of a rescue. The next manned mission to Mars won't reach the red planet for another four years and our hero's resources are going to run out long before that.

I'm not that deep into the story but the "realism" and science impresses and sucks you into the plot immediately. After surviving a disastrous storm, our wise-cracking hero then moves on to solve both long-term and short-term problems as they arise, using his considerable resourcefulness and knowledge of engineering and botany. It's basically Robinson Crusoe on Mars (which they did about fifty years ago - very weird movie).

Great book so far and can't wait to see what Ridley Scott does with the movie.


This book is another example of the strange, new world of publishing. Weir initially put this story on his website for free. The readers lined up and word of mouth went to work, and next thing he knew, he was working out the details of a publishing deal. Very cool and makes me think anything is possible in today's publishing environment.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

2015 Production Schedule

They say it's good to have goals. So here are mine. I hope to release these books in 2015:

Solo Projects:
  • OtherWorld
  • MG Fantasy (have an idea but no title)
  • The Skim (noir)
  • The Dream Machine (Unearthed #6)
  • The Missing (Unearthed #7)
  • The 8th Man (new sci-fi, mystery series)
Tomahawk & Saber series with Nate Green:
  • Language of the Bear
  • Through the Narrows
  • #3
Looking this over, I realize this production schedule is totally unrealistic. But I'd rather try to do too much instead of not enough. Better to always be pushing.

It's going to be an interesting 2015...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Want to See Chapter 2 of Language of the Bear Before We Release It?

You can by signing up for my Newsletter before Thursday.

What's that you say? You also want to read Chapter 1 before the book is out?

Then go sign up for my buddy Nate Green's Newsletter. As fast as you can!

Wary about signing up for two different Newsletters? Don't be. We're not spamming asshats who email any time a random thought enters our minds. We email sparingly, only when it's important, like to impart information about new releases or special deals.

Still wary? That's okay. You can just buy the book when it comes out ;-)

Why did we do it this way?

Language of the Bear is told from two points of view. And I don't mean hero and villain. I mean two heroes. That's right. You get two protagonists for the price of one. The story alternates, chapter-by-chapter, from their points of view. In Chapter 1 we're introduced to Wolf Tongue, a brash Susquehannock warrior with a wicked sense of humor, and not-so-small chip on his shoulder out to prove himself. In Chapter 2, Lieutenant Hugh Pyke, a redcoat still new to the Pennsylvania Colony, takes the stage. In the short span of these intro chapters there are: double-crosses, blood challenges, a duel, a possible murder, romantic entanglements, backroom machinations...and other general awesomeness.

If that sounds like your bag, get in on the action early by signing up for our Newsletters. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Literature v. Genre

Hi. My name is Evan, and I was an English major.

(Hi, Evan!)

It's been one thousand, four hundred, sixty days (give or take) since I stopped giving a shit about whether my stories qualified as high art, great literature, or worthy of being included in some tenuous, oft-shifting canon as judged by the so-called defenders of culture: college professors, editors, agents, literary journals, award committees, etc.


Thank you, thank you. It took me a long time to get to that point. Much longer than it should have. But hindsight is always twenty-twenty as they say.

(More applause)

You see, I love stories. All kinds of stories. High-brow, low-brow, middle-brow, uni-brow, there's a good chance I've read it, am in the middle of reading, have it on my TBR list, or will at least consider reading it. I'm not a snob that won't read so-called "genre" fiction, nor am an anti-snob who won't pick up one of the so-called "great" books.

I studied English literature in college, thinking (wrongly) that I'd learn how to tell stories. Mistake number one. A bachelor's degree in English does not give you the tools to write novels. It gives you the tools to critique a story and intentionally or unintentionally, basically teaches you how to teach English at the college level.

While an undergrad, I soaked up all the not-so-hidden biases of my teachers, taking their word as gospel that only books unpleasant and difficult to read and slow, where nothing much happened, qualified as art while books that merely entertained were dirty, low, and basically "brain candy." Impressionable youth that I was, I bought it hook, line, and sinker, and the image of the starving writer suffering for his art was some romantic ideal to aspire to. Mistake number two.

(A lot of ooohhhhs and aaahhhhs)

Give me a break--I was young.

But still, I should have known. Because early on I recognized the whole concept of "canon" was complete and utter bullshit. Don't get me wrong, my professors introduced me to a lot of wonderful stories, but consider these books below. All of them have had a lasting cultural impact. All of them I read on my own initiative. All of them I enjoyed more than anything that was ever assigned to me:

  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • The Three Musketeers / The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  • Noble House by James Clavell (what an effing story!)
  • Anything by John D. MacDonald or Robert B. Parker
  • Anything by Michael Crichton
The list goes on and on. Not a single professor ever assigned any of these books to me to read. All great books, all of them conspicuously absent from college syllabi.

(Sounds of outrage from the audience)

You see, I knew these were all great books. They made an impact on me. I can still remember my age, what I was doing generally at the time, how I was feeling, what I thought, when I read these books. I have re-read all of them multiple times. When I asked for The Big Sleep to be included in my course work, I was told that Chandler's contemporaries, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, were "more important" than what were just a bunch of "detective stories."

I should have known then.


Thank you, thank you. When I began writing in earnest, I wasn't very far removed from my college days and all this stinking thinking was still in my head. I got an idea for a haunted house horror story and I liked the characters and I had what I thought was a great idea for a twist.

But I couldn't write genre. That wasn't important enough to give my time and attention to. I could hear my professors and the ghosts of all those writers in the canon whispering (shouting) in my ears: don't do it, don't do it, you want to write great art that may or may not get read and will likely never be appreciated in your lifetime, if it's ever appreciated at all.

I struggled with just the thought of writing a horror story. But at the same time, I couldn't get the idea out of my head. Cognitive dissonance at its finest. I had to write the book, but I also wasn't allowed to write the book.

(A hush falls over the English Majors Anonymous group)

Know what saved me? All those great books I'd read on my own. You know, the ones that weren't worthy of inclusion in any of my courses because they were "genre." The ones that made an impression on me. If Crichton wasn't good enough for the professors, then it was okay for me to not be good enough either. Because these authors were "failures," I could fail too.

So I wrote The Unearthed. And then I (gasp!) wrote sequels.

These books will probably never win any awards. But I don't give a shit. Because I get emails from readers every week, telling me how much they enjoy the stories. And that beats worrying about the canon, high art, and literary intelligentsia.

A big thank you to all these great authors that inspired me to write. And an even bigger thank you to all my readers.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Plot Twists

I love plot twists. No coincidence then that once I was introduced to Robert Ludlum at a young age, I quickly worked my way through most of his books.

I try to incorporate twists into The Unearthed books as Eddie's big ah-ha moments that usually propel the story into the final act. But I don't force twists into stories (at least I hope I don't). For example, I wouldn't call the revelations coming near the end of The Hysteria or The Traveler plot twists per se. They're more plot developments.

Plot twists in film are really effective when done well. Of course there's the monumental oh shit moment at the end of Planet of the Apes, where it feels like the story has just sucker-punched you. And when you say plot twist, it's hard not to think of The Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects, both fantastic films.

But I clearly remember the first really great turn I ever saw in a movie. I was probably ten or eleven, way too young for this movie, but I was watching Marathon Man, SPOILER ALERT - STOP READING NOW, and got to the part where William Devane "rescues" Dustin Hoffman from the evil, sadistic Nazi dentist. Of course Devane is working with the baddies here and just trying to get info out of Hoffman, and when he steers the car right back to the same safe house where Hoffman has just been tortured, it's a great, horrifying moment.

Nothing beats a great plot twist. What are your favorites?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Two New Releases in One Month?!

I write a lot. Much of what I write is not fit for public consumption, but over time the "crap percentage" has slowly decreased.

I enjoy writing a lot. Many so-called "writers" spend their time justifying why they couldn't get any words down in a day, in a week, in a month. Life got in the way. Family got in the way. Work got in the way.

Truth is, everything will get in the way. If you let it.

So I try not to let it. I produce a lot of words and sometimes they're crap and sometimes they're good. But I put the time in. Nothing is more important than A-I-C.

Ass in chair.

So that's why I get to say this: in April, I will release not one, but TWO new titles.

Now in all fairness, the second book out this month was a collaboration with my fellow author, Nate Green. So I only did half the work on that. But still, I'm counting this as two books in one month.


Language of the Bear, our historical novel, is the best story I've ever been part of. I think it's the strongest in terms of character, dizzying with its reversal of fortune every few minutes plot, and broad in scope. It's an adventure story, it's a BIG story, where both main characters (that's right, there are TWO heroes) leave the comfort of their usual surroundings and journey out into the often harsh world and grow. There's plenty of action and turns and witty hero banter and it all culminates with one kick-ass finale. I can't wait to hit PUBLISH on this one.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Freebies today and tomorrow!

Grab a copy and tell your friends!


COVER REVEAL - The Dream Machine (#6 in The Unearthed series)

No idea when this book will be out.

But I'm considering an experiment on this one. If I focused solely on this project, could I publish in three months? In two? I have no idea, but it would be interesting to find out...

Anyway, here's the kick-ass cover. It really sets an eerie mood and has a dreamlike quality about it. Which is perfect for the book.