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Book Series Worth Checking Out

It's probably no surprise that I'm always in the middle of a good book. But something I didn't realize until I started drafting this post is that I'm currently making my way through seven different series. And they're all good! So consider this a recommended reading list for 2022:

Books of Babel by Josiah Bancroft - I'm about a hundred pages into the fourth and final installment, and I've been hooked since the first novel, Senlin Ascends: excellent writing, fantastic world-building, and characters worth rooting for. Never read anything quite like it.

Nyquist Mysteries by  Jeff Noon - Enjoyed the first two books, and I have the next two waiting in the wings. Very surreal, dream-like storytelling with interesting characters and weird, unpredictable scenarios. Fantasy noir at its best.

Firefly by James Lovegrove, et al. - I've read the first three, and the writing isn't spectacular, but who cares? Each novel is like a lost episode of the beloved TV series we never got to see. I can picture every actor in costume and hear their voices in my head when I read their dialogue.

The Expanse by James S. A. Corey - A nine-book series, and I've read the first eight. Tried watching the TV show, but the books are so much better. Solid characterization, realistic science and technology, high stakes conflict, and plenty of page-turning adventure. No idea how it'll end.

The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher - Never thought a modern-day wizard's adventures would interest me. On a whim, I tried the first installment (of seventeen) last month, and now I'm pretty sure I'll be reading the rest. Urban fantasy noir with plenty of humor, like the first season of Angel.

The Finder Chronicles by Suzanne Palmer - Ever met a protagonist you'd follow anywhere? Fergus Ferguson is an unlikely hero with a big heart who can seldom catch a break. I've read the first two adventures of this interstellar repo man, and I'm looking forward to the third.

The Nova Vita Protocol by Kristyn Merbeth - This space opera series isn't perfect, but I'm enjoying the dysfunctional family dynamics of the crew, and I'm curious how the final book will wrap things up. Flawed characters, desperate situations, and plenty of intrigue make for a wild ride.

Captain Quasar Boxed Set

Now available for the first time in recorded history: all 1,000 pages of Captain Bartholomew Quasar's daring novel-length misadventures aboard the Effervescent Magnitude!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Star Trek in this hilarious space opera series intended for fans of Galaxy Quest, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Star Wars Legends.

If you're looking for some good old-fashioned fun in space, look no further. Chuckles and facepalms guaranteed.

Get your Kindle copy today:

At a Bookstore Near Me

For a while now, I've wondered what it might be like to see one of my books for sale in an actual bookstore. While it's been great selling my stuff to readers all over the world via various online retailers, there's just something special about the prospect of walking down an aisle and seeing something I wrote sitting on a shelf. Of course, if you write for a major publisher, that's more than likely going to happen. But for somebody like me who fired his agent a while back and is content to work with small presses? Not so much.

Until I made it happen. And if I can do it, so can you! All it involved was contacting a couple of indie bookstores in town and asking if they offer consignment opportunities for local authors. Both confirmed they do, and they invited me to hand over a couple copies of my latest novel.


So, if you're ever in the southwest corner of the great state of Michigan, be sure to visit Kazoo Books or This is a Bookstore, where you'll find Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque sitting proudly in all its paper-and-glue glory. It's shelved in the horror section of Kazoo Books with a little write-up next to it, and it's wedged in between books by other local authors at This is a Bookstore. Only $14.95, and if you catch me wandering aimlessly out in the snow nearby, I'll be happy to sign it for you.

Year in Review: Adios, 2021

It was another weird year. In some ways, normalcy has been put on pause since the spring of 2020, and if certain people have their way, an end to the insanity will remain out of reach. I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future; so I try not to worry and instead focus on my corner of the world, filling it with all the joy I can find. Spending time with my beloved, reading, writing, watching, listening, thinking, praying. Being thankful.

A few months seemed interminable this past year while others flew by in a blur of speed. Even with a slew of crazy distractions (relocation from California to Michigan, new day job, nine-month house hunt, new house), I managed to revise and edit two of the novels I drafted last year: Dust Freaks & Demigods (Dome City Investigations, Book 1) and Monsieur Moule's Subterranean Casino (The Interdimensionals, Book 2). I'm pleased with how both books turned out, and I'm looking forward to working on the next installments. I also ventured into some new territory for me, getting my latest novel into a couple bookstores in town, as well as the local library. More on that in my next post. For now, here's this year's rundown:

Novels Revised & Edited: 4
Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque (The Interdimensionals, Book 1) — 60K
BackTracker — 150K
Dust Freaks & Demigods (Dome City Investigations, Book 1) — 90K
Monsieur Moule's Subterranean Casino (The Interdimensionals, Book 2) — 60K

Novel on Submission: 1
Monsieur Moule's Subterranean Casino currently with Montag Press

Novels Published: 6
The Space-Time Conundrum (Captain Quasar, Book 1)
The Mass-Exodus Reversal (Captain Quasar, Book 2)
The Phaze-Worlds Dilemma (Captain Quasar, Book 3)
Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque (The Interdimensionals, Book 1)
Dust Freaks & Demigods (Dome City Investigations, Book 1)

Audiobooks Produced: 4
The Space-Time Conundrum (Captain Quasar, Book 1)
The Mass-Exodus Reversal (Captain Quasar, Book 2)
The Phaze-Worlds Dilemma (Captain Quasar, Book 3)
Those Who Wait 

Audiobooks in Production: 2
Trouble on the Range
BackTracker

Blog Posts: 17

What Are We To Do With This Jesus?


"You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." 
- C.S. Lewis

Dust Freaks & Demigods — Kindle Vella Update

A little over six months ago, I started my Kindle Vella experiment, and it's high time I share an update. So far, I've gotten 24 chapters posted, and they've received 46 "thumbs up," which is something. Not a ton of readers, but I've earned more on this project than I have on others, so that's also something.

I had 70,000 words drafted at the end of last year, and I've been editing as I go, tightening things up and filling plot holes. I had a rough outline for how I thought the novel would end, but I scrapped that and drafted a 20,000-word ending last month that I really didn't see coming. And it's a whole lot better.

So now I'm in the home stretch. Just a couple more chapters to revisedit and post, and this novel will be a done deal—the first in a series I plan to continue next year. The cover art is ready for the eBook and paperback release, but I'll keep it in Vella until I have a sequel or two to quick-release one month after each other. Early 2023, perchance?

Inspiration

For Frank Herbert, it was mushrooms. For me, it's a good book or movie that energizes me to tell my own tale, one that's just as enthralling as a work by my favorite authors or directors. They did it, so why can't I? Anything is possible! That excitement I feel can carry me through the first round of notes or even an entire first draft, as I pour out all of my ideas in some semblance of order. (They'll make sense during the revision stage.)

Sure, part of me—that curmudgeonly internal editor—tries to halt me in my tracks every chance he gets. "Your stories are never as good as you want them to be," he'll say. Or "Enjoy those favorite books and movies, knowing you'll never write anything even close." Or "Be a reader, or a cinephile. Give up writing. The world has too many writers already."

The problem is, I can't help myself. Good stories inspire me to write good stories, whether or not I succeed. I do the absolute best I can, share them with readers, and then move on to the next. Because there's always another tale waiting to be told, just beneath the surface. And I never run dry, thanks to the authors and directors who continue to impress me with their gift of storytelling.

Lately I've been reading Jeff VanderMeer and Ben H. Winters; both have a strong grasp of characterization and the English language, as does Josiah Bancroft, an incredible writer. I can't wait to read the final installment in his Babel series, which has been a joy to experience. The Expanse series is also ending this year, and I'm very curious how James S. A. Corey will pull that off.

On the movie front, two of my favorite directors released films one week apart. I've been a fan of Denis Villeneuve since Arrival, and then Blade Runner 2049 made me an even bigger fan. But Dune: Part 1 might be his best work yet; I felt like I was watching the book on the big screen! Edgar Wright, whom I've followed since Shaun of the Dead, went a very cool direction with Last Night in Soho, and it was fun—though I might have laughed during a few of the "scary" scenes.

Keep reading. Keep watching. Keep writing. Ray Bradbury warned us about the mindless consumption of mass media interfering with our ability to think deeply. So I do what I can to avoid social media and the idiot box, yet I also want to stay informed about what's going on in the world. It's a balancing act. But I know where I find my inspiration, and too much pablum doesn't do anything for my writing. Instead, I'll find those good stories and dive deep.

Now, where'd I put that book...

New Release — The Interdimensionals, Book 1


In an alternate Victorian era, factory worker Anthony Reynolds seeks to improve his station in life for the sake of his young bride-to-be. Against his better judgment, he joins Richard, a gregarious coworker with social connections, for a night on the town after their late shift. Richard leads them deep into the city’s underworld to a brothel of sorts specializing in the illegal art of mutilation. There Anthony witnesses victims skinned, broken, and mangled without lasting damage due to a special drug that returns them to their original state. Anthony immediately wants to leave, but before he can, Constables raid the establishment. 

While trying to flee the scene, Anthony runs into a giant tumor of a man who spills a viscous fluid on him. Anthony is disfigured by the strange substance, and when the authorities capture him, he is unable to identify himself, let alone speak. What follows is a mind-bending adventure of mistaken identity, multiple realities, and paranoia as Anthony fights to reclaim a simple life he never truly appreciated but now wants more than anything else. Once he learns the truth of his world, nothing will ever be the same again. 

"This brilliant genre mashup brings the gore and mystery in equal measure. Total Recall meets Hellraiser. Just when you’ve figured it out, Fowler dashes your reality with a new twist." 
- Anthony J. Rapino, author of Soundtrack to the End of the World 

"An intriguing novel, a twisting labyrinth of shifting realities, a fast-moving adventure merging the ideas of Philip K. Dick and David Cronenberg. Highly Recommended." 
- Deborah Walker, author of Future Tales 2101

Update: Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque

The original cover art is complete for my next novel, Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque, and the final stage prior to publication will be layout and design. This is my first experience working with Montag Press, and while a small outfit, they're a professional bunch. Here's a sneak peek at Pierluigi Abbondanza's cool artwork, which really captures the atmosphere of this weird book:


Can't wait to see what the finished product looks like. Madame Antic's is the first installment in The Interdimensionals trilogy, with the next two books drafted and undergoing edits. Victorian surrealism or alt-Victorian horror with a sci-fi angle is a blast to write, and I hope you enjoy reading this crazy yarn as much as I enjoyed spinning it. Unlike anything I've done before, it should appeal to fans of China Mieville, Jeff Vandermeer, and Josiah Bancroft. Stay tuned for a release date...

Attending My First Con

I'll be at the inaugural BasedCon later this month, speaking on a few panels about writing, publishing, humorous sci-fi, and the future of science fiction & fantasy. Author Robert Kroese is spearheading the event as an alternative for authors and SFF fans with conservative, libertarian, and/or Judeo-Christian beliefs. As cancel culture quickly becomes the fascist rule of law, it's tough to be heard if you don't subscribe to the mob's groupthink and newspeak. I've always been a free thinker with rebellious tendencies, so I like the idea of a con for outsiders who enjoy good stories over message fiction.

For the past decade, I've worked with numerous editors and publishers who haven't shared my particular belief system, and it's worked out quite well — because we've respected each other. But times have changed. The world isn't as inclusive as it used to be, and differences of opinion are seldom tolerated. We're divided with ever-increasing tribal tendencies. Unfortunately, there are many venues now where a straight white Christian male such as myself no longer has a voice.

I'm not joining a refurbished tribe of sad puppies. I'm not looking for an echo chamber where we can beat our drums of discontent. The truth is, I'm often too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals. I've never really fit in with any group. But this is an opportunity to speak about something I love: writing a good story. I'm looking forward to venturing into unknown territory and hopefully learning a few things along the way. I'll let you know how it goes.
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