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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Facebook Author Page

Look what I went and did.

On my best days, I'm skeptical of the utility of social media for authors. When I'm in a good mood I can see that it probably helps, it connects readers with authors on a more personal, accessible level.

On my worst days, I think social media is a complete time-suck that leaves authors no time to attend to the MOST IMPORTANT MARKETNG we can do:

Write the next damned book.

Few writers can point to their efforts on social media and say: "For every Xth post, you will see an incremental opportunity of Y additional sales." Don't get me wrong, many indie authors have achieved unbelievable success by maintaining interesting blogs and by engaging their readership through Facebook and Twitter and Whatever The New Thing Is This Week, but these tools are only boosters. They can't prop up a "bad" book. And, like I said, it's impossible to quantify the impact of a social media presence on sales.


Up until now I've just been dipping my toes in occasionally. Now I'm going to wade in up to my knees. I don't want to go any further for fear of the dreaded blue balls.

How's that for extending a metaphor?

So I created a Facebook Author Page. If you like my books, please like it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My "latest" short story

Hey folks. Just re-released a short sci-fi story set on Mars in the near future, Frontier Justice. I wrote this a few years back and tidied it up recently. It's a fun, fast read in a universe I might expand at some point in a larger work.

I've always been fascinated with the notion of terraforming and it was actually the subject of my sixth-grade science project/presentation. Philosophically (I won't go too deep, I promise), I strongly believe the human race needs to expand and colonize other worlds for a number of reasons. I hope that I live long enough to see man set foot on Mars, it would be an amazing achievement.

Here's the blurb on Frontier Justice--

Smith races against time to get the murderer, Ganston, to Oz, the Joint Penal Colony whose location on the Martian frontier is a well-guarded secret. But there are men intent on rescuing Ganston and killing Smith.

Visit Evan Ronan at his website:

And they’re closing in.

But little do they know Smith has other plans for them, and for Ganston too…

Frontier Justice is a ~5,000 short story set on Mars in the near future.