Crazy Town: Now Available

My grisly Mercer tale "Back for Blood" greets a whole new batch of readers in this collection of fantastical crime noir. Here's the description:

There are no limits inside CRAZY TOWN. Here you can bet or buy the farm in the same breath. Ain't nobody believin' anyone here's playing with a full deck. If you stop in for a visit, you'll find 13 daring folks who step into the dark, then poke the dirtiest corner of it; 13 inquisitive minds who dig into the slime, then stir up whatever twitches; 13 cynical souls who may not be able to save themselves but just might redeem something outta their miserable lives. 13 authors deliver explosive, haunted action high on adrenaline. These are definitely not Mayberry's streets. Pray they aren't yours. You've been warned.

Intrigued? Read a free preview right here.

Three Audiobooks in the Works

A couple years ago, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started down the audiobook path. I'd enjoyed listening to books from the local library for years, but I didn't know how to go about getting my own work produced. Lucky for me, there's the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), and they've made the whole process not only easy but enjoyable. So far, I've had seven of my books transmuted into audio, and I've got three more now in the pipeline:

Hearing the final product is always a bit surreal — my words in a stranger's voice — but these are talented strangers, many of them with a background in acting both on stage and screen, and their vocal talents bring new life to my stories. I've heard them in my head a certain way for years, but now I get to hear them interpreted in a new way. Of course I criticize my wordsmithing: "Why did I write that like that?" But there are moments when I can't help but sit back and smile, pleased by a certain turn of phrase I created — and instantly chagrined by my own arrogance.

Receiving auditions is exciting, knowing someone out there in cyberspace is interested in producing my work. But it's also nerve-wracking. Despite the fact that I've had so many stories rejected hundreds of times prior to publication, I don't like being the guy who does the rejecting. I keep it to the point: "Thank you for your audition, but I've picked another producer for this project." (Always sent after I've actually picked the producer, honesty being the best policy and all.) Surprisingly, many send me a thank-you note for letting them know.

So, stay tuned for these upcoming releases. Alienated should be available later this month, with Deep Space and The Suprahuman Secret out in early 2019.

Two Reprints Sold This Week

My Mercer tale "Back for Blood" and Coyote Cal tale "El Diablo de Paseo Grande" will be greeting the world again, this time in the Crazy Town and Gunsmoke & Dragonfire anthologies, respectively, due to hit stores this December/January. 

Crazy Town is a collection of hardboiled noir with a fantastical twist—True Detective meets The Twilight Zone. Mercer should fit right in. Gunsmoke & Dragonfire is a collection of fantasy western stories that lean toward the dark side. Coyote Cal & Big Yap, denizens of the weird west, will be in their element.

In other news, I've got a dozen of my StoryADay flash-sized tales out making the rounds on the pro circuit. A couple have been shortlisted, so that's encouraging. You'll be the first to know when I make a sale. Until then, never give up, never surrender!

New Release: The Gifted Ones

The Suprahuman Secret is out. An assassin is targeting the gifted ones in Little Tokyo for extermination. At the same time, a dangerous yakuza clan has singled out private eye Charlie Madison, determined to squeeze him for information about superpowered individuals — that no one should know exist. 

With a fresh bounty on his head courtesy of the Russian bratva, it's in Madison's best interest to stay under the radar. But that doesn't keep him from trying to help a gifted young woman who shows up on his doorstep late one night claiming she's being hunted. 

And it doesn't stop Federal agents from rounding up Madison and probing his repressed memories from the war. Years ago, while stationed on the Eastern Front, he supposedly crossed paths with the enigmatic Dr. X, who created the world's first suprahumans. Problem is, Madison has no memory of ever meeting her. 

Charlie Madison's history has returned to haunt him. While underworld powers vie for territorial domination and the gifted ones struggle to survive, he'll have to do what he does best: put the pieces together and solve the mystery. But this time, he's fighting against ghosts from his past, and the stakes have never been higher.

Now Available:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   iBooks   Kobo

Renegade Release Day

Some renegades are born rebels, some are forced into it to survive, while others make the choice on principle. The Renegade (part of the Newcomer series of sci-fi anthologies) collects eleven science fiction short stories by writers from across the globe:

Conscience - Alasdair Shaw 
First - Nate Johnson 
Atonement - Rick Partlow 
The Stepford Florist - JT Lawrence 
Tyrant - Mark Gardner 
Live by the Ten, Die by the Gun - Milo James Fowler
S.A.D. - Jody Wenner 
Chameleon - C Gold 
Learning Curve - John Triptych 
A Pirate’s Life - Al Macy 
Needs of the Many - Troy McLaughlan

Summer Writing Plans

As per usual, I've got a few plates in the air this summer, writing-wise. Now that the school year is over (my 19th as a teacher, and holy tipping cow was it a doozy), I can focus on various projects in between catching up on my reading, mountain biking, surfing, traveling, and binge-watching. 

May's StoryADay challenge went well, and now my wife and I each have 31 tales to polish up and start submitting to publishers. We'll probably work on a few while we're unplugged (no WiFi, no TV) at our lake retreat in the backwoods of Maine: Camp Fowler. It'll be tough to tear ourselves away from all the swimming and kayaking and staring at the beauty of God's creation, but we should be able to carve out some time for story revisions.

My novel The Gifted Ones, sequel to The Suprahuman Secret, needs one last round of edits before it'll be ready for publication. The cover art is just about done (stay tuned for a sneak peek), but I still need to write the blurb. While summarizing has never been my forte, I know it'll be easier once I've gone through the manuscript one more time. 

I've also got a Captain Quasar novella in the works that may turn out to be a novel, not to mention a new idea that came to me in a very Kafkaesque/Lovecraftian dream. It may take place in the same world as my novel Madame Antic's Hotel Grotesque, or it could stand alone. Working title: Staring into the Abyss. So far it's the weirdest thing I've ever written, and yeah, that's saying a lot.

My agent is continuing to send BackTracker to various publishers, and now Those Who Wait is also out making the rounds. I can't wait to add both of them to my list of published books — patience, precious. I've got plenty to keep me busy in the interim, and believe it or not, I'm still enjoying this journey to become the best writer I can be. One step at a time, ever forward.

The Defective Detective: Now Available in Audio

Two murders. One detective. Half a brain. 

New York City, 1931: Detective Vic Boyo may not be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but that doesn't stop him from solving cases as only he can. With a little luck and a whole lot of gumption, Boyo sets out to find the murderer of a local cop. Problem is, Boyo's more interested in a gorgeous femme fatale accused of killing her husband. She's destined for the electric chair, but Boyo's got a hunch she might be innocent. And nobody gets in the way of Boyo's hunches, not even Vic Boyo himself.

Amazon     Audible     iTunes

Smoke and Holograms: Charlie Madison, P.I. Returns

Amazon      Barnes & Noble      iBooks      Kobo

Future noir P.I. Charlie Madison returns in a sordid case of spontaneous human combustion, now available everywhere eBooks are sold:

A life ended in flames
A detective sorting through the ashes

Charlie Madison saw plenty of bloodshed during the war, but he's never seen a billionaire burst into flames in his office. Until now. Searching for answers, Madison uncovers more than he bargained for: a bizarre mystery of human combustion that's smoking with jealousy, revenge, and murder. Add a pair of cops on his tail who are more interested in putting him out of business than seeking justice. It's just another action-packed day for the Charlie Madison Detective Agency. Now accepting . . . unusual clients.

31 Days, 31 Stories

I've spent most of my spare time on novel edits this year, and things are moving right along, but I miss those bursts of creativity that inspired the weird, Twilight Zoneish flash fiction I used to write regularly. I haven't worked on a single short story for far too long, and now I've definitely got the itch.

So I'm devoting the month of May to the StoryADay challenge. I've known about it for years but never thought I'd have the time or energy to try it. I probably still don't, but ready or not, I'll be setting a timer for 30 minutes every night, and I can't wait to see what sort of surreal stories I end up with.

Unlike Write1Sub1, the StoryADay goal isn't to craft a publishable piece as fast as possible but rather to write a complete story each day with a beginning, middle, and end. Something between 100-500 words will be my target range, and whether or not I'm happy with it, I'll set each one aside to be fleshed out later this summer. Some days, I may end up with more of an outline than a cohesive story, but that's okay as long as I'm writing something new every day.

How the heck will I find inspiration for 31 new stories? Good question. I've decided to use some of my haiku as starters. I went through Maikro and picked 31 of my favorites, and I'll be turning each of them into flash-sized tales — something I've wanted to attempt for a while.

Will I eventually submit these stories for publication? Share them with subscribers? Leave them to gather digital dust? We'll see. For now, it's all about giving myself a creative boost, and the best part will be having my wife by my side as we both write stories every night. You're welcome to join us!

Bounty Hunters Beware: New Audiobook Now Available this prequel novella, Captain Quasar and the crew of the Effervescent Magnitude are on their maiden voyage — and on the run from bounty hunters eager to collect a reward on the captain's head. Just when Quasar thinks he's escaped them, his ship is stranded in the middle of a heated civil war in an unknown corner of the galaxy. Quasar must rely on his wits, his charm, and his resilient crew in order to survive the ordeal that follows, culminating in an epic space battle where sworn enemies must join forces to repel an even greater threat.

Amazon     Audible     iTunes

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