Today I'm interviewing Steve Higgs, who writes the Blue Moon Investigation Agency series. It's a humorous take on the Paranormal and Urban Fantasy genres, so needless to say I love it. Read on for more about him.
Steve Higgs won his first award for writing when aged just ten. Of course, saying it was his first award suggests that there have been more since, which there haven't. However, years of writing stories to entertain himself eventually resulted in something worth publishing and the Blue Moon Investigation Agency came to life.
DR- How did you decide to write in your genre?
SH- The truth is that I didn’t decide to write in a particular genre. I wrote what I wanted to write, only hearing the term cozy mystery when I first published and started getting reviews. The stories aren’t strictly cozy either though, more a blend of crime thriller/comedy thriller/cozy mystery and paranormal investigation. The answer then is that I fell into it because I had an idea.
DR- What's the easiest or hardest thing about writing for you?
SH- The easiest part of writing is that the stories are already in my head forming an unruly queue to get out. My writing process is mostly about finding the time to sit at my laptop to let the words flow out of my fingers. The hardest part is that at this time I have yet to reach a point where I have enough work published to support myself. The net result being that I still have to work a full-time job as well and rise each morning at 0500 hours to fit in some writing.
DR- Tell us about something in real life that inspired a character, setting, or plot in one of your books.
SH- There are a lot of scenes in my books where the chaps get ‘em roiled in sexual exploits. All off screen of course and only referenced, but one central character, a six-foot seven-inch Adonis called Big Ben, annoys the other men and disgusts the ladies with tales of his latest conquest. Most of this is drawn either from my life or from anecdotes I have heard. In addition, the main character is a former soldier, drawing on his training continually to overcome challenges - I was a soldier for 25 years.
DR- What do you do when you're stuck on a scene?
SH- A typical writing day start blearily at 0500 hours as I quietly roll out of bed without disturbing wife or child or dogs. Two hours of writing leads to 30 minutes in the gym, breakfast and cycle ten miles to work. In my lunch break I will check and adjust ads and perhaps craft a newsletter. After my 3-year-old goes to bed, I will try to knock out a few more words. How involved I get at night really depends on where I am with a story. In the dying stages, as I reach the exciting conclusion it is common for me to just not go to bed.
DR- Is there a common theme or element in your work?
SH- The common theme is humour but also that the paranormal is not real. The MC investigates paranormal cases due to a typo in an advert. He has clients lining up with cases no one else can explain which makes it sound like the x-files, but it was perhaps best described by one reviewer as a Jack Reacher story trapped in a Scooby Doo episode.
DR- Where can we find your books? Which one should a new reader start with?
SH- My books are exclusively on Amazon and are chronological. There are two different series though and they both overlap and intertwine as the two main characters work at the same firm. The readings order can be found on my website, but I would direct every new reader to start at Paranormal Nonsense which stars Tempest Michaels. The star of the second series is Amanda Harper and she is the first character to appear in the very first book.
Today I'm interviewing Christy Mann, author of Fogoyle, some seriously scary stories. Here's a bit about her in her own words.
I’m Christy. I’m old enough to know better about most things but still young enough to do them anyway. I’m single as well, so I actually get to do them. I have 3 adult children, and I’m from Phoenix, Arizona originally. I currently reside in West Monroe, Louisiana with my daughter, her girlfriend, 2 dogs, 3 cats, a guinea pig, and about 20 fish.
I spend my days clickety-clacking on a keyboard, writing full-time. When I’m not writing, I spend my time meeting people and getting to know what they are about, working on my Life On Your Terms project, and hanging out with my family and friends.
DR: Coffee or tea?
CM: Coffee, and lot’s of it!
DR: Darts or billiards?
DR: Cake or pie?
DR: What is your favorite song and why?
CM: The Sound of Silence – Disturbed cover because it speaks volumes about how I feel as a writer and my life in general.
DR: What's your Patronus?
CM: A Unicorn.
DR: What is your favorite color?
DR: Where'd you get the idea for your stories?
CM: Journals, fears ,and phobias of my own and other people’s, mental illness.
DR: What genres do you like best?
CM: Horror, psychological thriller, sci-fi, erotica, urban fantasy.
DR: Where can we find your books on the Internet?
CM: On my website. I'm also on Patreon, Facebook, and Twitter.
Don't forget to have a look at Christy's books on Amazon by clicking on the cover of Death of a Secret below!
Today, I'm interviewing Richard H. Stephens. He's from Canada and is the author of the Fantasy Series The Soul Forge Saga. Here's a bit about him in his own words.
I began writing circa 1974, a bored child looking for something to do. As my reading horizons broadened, so did my writing.
A trip to a local bookstore saw the proprietor introduce me to Stephen R. Donaldson and Terry Brooks. My writing life was forever changed.
I worked in a warehouse for 22 years, supporting my family, before I reattended school to complete my education. Graduating with honours, I joined our local Police Service.
In 2017, I resigned from the Police Service to pursue writing full-time. With the support of my family, I have finally realized my boyhood dream.
He's even got book trailers! Check this one out:
DR: How did you decide to write in your genre?
RS: I began writing Hardy Boys type stories when I was 9. In ’77, Star Wars came out, inspiring me to write a 600-page sci-fi. In my 17th year, I had recently finished reading The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks, and Lord Foul’s Bane, by Stephen R. Donaldson, and was listening to the heavy metal song, Run to the Hills, by Iron Maiden. A switch flipped inside my head and I sat down to write the opening scene of, The River Styx. As time went by, The River Styx sat on a shelf until a few years ago. Transposing the original text into my computer, the story underwent several name changes as I worked on completing the manuscript. In early 2016, The River Styx became Soul Forge, and the saga was born.
DR: What does a typical writing day look like for you?
RS: I’m usually in my home office before 8 am checking social media, researching writing engagements, engaging fans, and looking into different ways to market my books. This typically requires a couple hours. I then open up my WIP and edit everything I wrote the day before which generally consists of 2,000 to 3,500 words. This takes me until lunchtime. After eating and taking a walk with my better half, I spend a few minutes remaining current on social media before I sink my teeth into my story. I frequently come up for air to recharge my thinking process, but I keep writing until suppertime. After supper, I may go for another walk, or jump back into writing if I have nothing else going on. I follow this routine Monday to Friday. On the weekends I may or may not write, but I endeavour to edit Friday’s writing session before Monday morning in order to be more productive.
DR: What do you do when you're stuck on a scene?
RS: There are many days writing doesn’t come easily. Some scenes, though necessary to carry the story forward, are tough to write. On those days I force myself to write one word, and then the next word, and then the next word until the struggle eases and I slip back into the groove. Sometimes that take 100’s or words but that’s how I handle what many writers refer to a writer’s block. Just write something. If it’s crap, who cares? That’s what editing is all about. That’s where you can polish it, rewrite it, or cut it out and move on, but if you don’t write it, nothing else matters.
DR: Where can we find your books? Which one should a new reader start with?
RS: My books are listed on Amazon and are in the Kindle Unlimited program. Hardcover editions are listed with Lulu. I use a local printer for my paperback stock on hand that I take to Cons and other writing events. I also offer signed copies through the following link.
With regard to which book a new reader should start with, I would recommend Soul Forge, the first book in the Soul Forge Saga. I released two stand alone prequels almost a year before Soul Forge, namely: Of Trolls and Evil Things and The Royal Tournament. That being said, the prequels are loosely written accounts. I wrote them to help me better understand my characters. They weren’t meant to be published, but I realized that self publishing was going to be a huge learning curve, so I decided to learn to dos and don’ts with the prequels, hopefully ensuring a smooth transition for when Soul Forge released in August of 2018. To better appreciate vague references in the Soul Forge Saga, by reading Of Trolls and Evil Things, the final words of Into the Madness, the third book in the trilogy, will resonate with the reader.
I'm so glad I had the chance to introduce Richard to you. Click here to follow him on Facebook and visit his website right here.
I'm here today interviewing another author writing some romantic speculative fiction. Here's a bit about her.
Just a laid-back chick with eccentric tastes who loves writing, reading, graphic design, music, horror flicks, and unusual things. Melony lives in South Carolina with her wonderful husband and their lazy cat Gyzmo. She writes science fiction romance and paranormal fantasy that’s dark, steamy, and a little bit snarky.
DP: How did you decide to write in your genre?
MP: I’m a big fan of urban fantasy, and when I began writing seriously, I knew that was the genre for me, but that wasn’t the genre I first published in. My first novel, Broken, was actually science fiction romance. After many years of not writing, I woke up one day after a strange dream that felt like I might need to write down. Two days of thinking about that dream and putting all the pieces into something I could outline led to me finally fulfilling my lifelong dream of publishing a novel.
DP: What's the easiest or hardest thing about writing for you?
MP: The hardest thing about writing for me is sticking to a routine. I’m not very good at getting my words in every day. Usually, I write sporadically and in big chunks of time. This year I am trying to keep to a schedule.
DP: Tell us about something in real life that inspired a character, setting, or plot in one of your books.
MP: My sci-fi romance series, Discordant Earth, reflects a lot of the current state of our society, but with aliens. I didn’t intend for it to be that way, but that’s just how inspiration happens sometimes. My paranormal fantasy series, Vamp Tales, is inspired by all my favorite paranormal and urban fantasy books. I like to have fun with this series, and name many of my characters after family and friends. I enjoy creating a world where anything can happen.
DP: What do you do when you're stuck on a scene?
MP: When I get stuck, I refer to my outline, take a break, or go back and re-read what I have written so far. Usually, if I’m stuck, it’s because a scene got away from me and I need to reorient myself with where I initially wanted the story to go.
DP: What does a typical writing day look like for you?
MP: When I write, I need zero distractions. I put my headphones on, turn on a rain storm video on Youtube for white noise, and shut the world out to write until I’m too tired to think straight. It’s exhausting, hence the goal of establishing a routine. It’s an ongoing process.
DP: Is there a common theme or element in your work?
MP: I like to write intelligent women who grow with the story. I have one main character who is a bit naïve in the beginning, and another who is a lot like me, introverted with issues that reflect her not so pleasant past. Throughout both series, these women come out of their shells to view their worlds with open eyes and assert themselves in ways they never would have imagined.
DP: Where can we find your books? Which one should a new reader start with?
MP: All of my books are available at Amazon, and most can be found in Kindle Unlimited as well. Vamp Tales should be started with book one, Along for the Ride. This is a short story series with six books available in season one. Season two will be coming in the second half of 2019.
Discordant Earth should be started with Broken, then Unchained, but there are two freebie prequels, The Interview and New Enemies, that can be read anytime. Book three in the Discordant Earth series will be releasing at the end of January. For updates and new release notifications, readers can sign up for my newsletter at MelonyParadise.com
Today we have an interview with Deborah Wilde! Here's a bit about her:
A global wanderer, hopeless romantic, and total cynic with a broken edit button, Deborah writes urban fantasy to satisfy her love of smexy romances and tales of chicks who kick ass. This award-winning author is all about the happily-ever-after, with a huge dose of hilarity along the way.
Deborah writes the Nava Katz series, starting with The Unlikeable Demon Hunter. Naturally, I asked her a whole bunch of questions. Here's what she has to say.
DR: How did you decide to write in your genre?
DW: I write funny, sexy, urban fantasy which combines my love of magic, action-adventure, and romcom. Before becoming a novelist, I was a screenwriter for 12 years and I was fortunate enough to write for everything from demon hunting shows to takes on the Guinevere story in modern day times. I love putting magic and monsters in the everyday world, especially when I can reflect what the monsters represent in the turmoil and growth issues faced by my characters.
DR: Tell us about something in real life that inspired a character, setting, or plot in one of your books.
DW: I’m currently finishing up my first UF series, The Unlikeable Demon Hunter. At the time, I’d been reading a lot of articles about how female characters had to be “likeable” and thinking a lot about the double standard that even fictional women face when it comes to owning their sexuality. I wanted to write a complex, messy, “real” woman, who may not have been “likeable” according to some outdated archetype, but was definitely sympathetic and relatable. Things fell into place from there.
DR: What do you do when you’re stuck on a scene?
DW: Ha! I’m the worst person to ask this question to because my honest answer is “panic!” I am completely unable to write scenes out of order so if I’m stuck, that’s it, I’m not going any further. To be fair, there are degrees of stuck. Most of the time, I just need to walk away and either talk it through with someone or watch or read something else. It’s amazing how often a different form of storytelling with completely unrelated content sparks the answer to my scene.
However, there are those times when I’m just blank. That’s when I stare at my screen, my panic mounting, and my headphones with my playlist of choice on, until my brain snaps under the pressure and something comes to me. From there I can generally spitball ideas until I find the one that works. But yeah, panic is a great motivator. :P
DR: Is there a common theme or element in your work?
DW: I’m very interested in people who have sidelined themselves for some reason. So instead of being the hero of their own life when the story begins, they’re barely a supporting player. Then they get magic and go from a position of being powerless to having an extreme power. The interesting question for me becomes how they are going to use that power to find balance and ultimately happiness in their lives?
DR: Is there a sub-genre in Sci-Fi or Fantasy that you don’t like? Why?
DW: Short answer: nope. I love the depth of world-building that the various sub-genres allow for, not to mention how each one, whether its space opera or high fantasy provides a unique lens into the exploration of social, political, cultural, and gender issues facing us here in the real world.
DR: Where can we find your books? Which one should a new reader start with?
DW: My books are exclusive to Amazon and also available in Kindle Unlimited. The series should be read in order so start with The Unlikeable Demon Hunter. It’s a six-book series, and the final book is up for pre-order right now. There will also be a standalone adventure from the POV of the best friend coming out next year.
You can find Deborah Wilde's website here. You can get her first book, The Unlikeable Demon Hunter, here.
Check back next week to discover another awesome author.
I'm posting the 2018 ARIA Expo panels over the next couple of days. First, have a look at the panel I moderated, No Bad Romance. The lovely Romance authors here are Christine DePetrillo, Laurel Ostiguy, and Regina Andrews.
I've got no more events this year or really much of anything all winter. That's good because the doctor says I need a rest. Walking pneumonia is no joke so I'm staying home for the holidays.
I'll be writing as much as I can, too. So I'm either hibernating like a sleepy bear shifter or hiding out like a vampire at high noon. I'm not sure which of those I'm feeling more this year.
For folks who just got a Kindle Be Counted and the whole SVS series is on KU so read it if you got it!
Winter is a great time to read. Who doesn't want to curl up with a nice hot beverage and a stack of good books? Here are a whole bunch for $2.99 or less.
Today I'm posting a bit of poetry from my latest collection, Fruit of the Dead. See if you can catch the references and leave a comment if you do.
You won’t answer
Because you know
And you don’t want to go.
Even the timeless can’t
He knocks again.
You can’t answer
Because open doors
And you don’t fear leaving.
Even the brave can’t
You must answer
Because your master
And you scream protest.
Even the defiant can’t
Here's a sample from the first chapter of A Change In Crime, my Supernatural Suspense set in 1929. It's got monsters at odds with the Mafia on the streets of Depression-Era Fall River, Massachusetts.
It was just a piece of paper, dated November 27, 1929, but it felt heavier than an anvil. The red ink stamped across the carbon copy of his application to the United States Armed Forces looked greenish-black in the street light. Leo Riley thought it was a nice sickly color to match how useless he felt.
At least skipping dinner hadn’t done him in. The doctor who’d examined him declared him fifteen pounds underweight. There was no way he’d have packed that much on with a plate of Ma’s potatoes and cabbage. Military service was the only way to get them out of this town. He couldn’t afford medical training anywhere, not even with his grades. The Army was picky when there wasn’t a war on.
His feet traveled the street by rote, avoiding loose bricks and cracks in the pavement. That sidewalk would have tripped up anyone else trying to navigate the route at night while staring at a piece of paper. The November air was cool and dry, and there was a hint of smoke to it that was stronger than fireplaces or burning leaves. That ink-inspired greenish-black feeling dropped from his head to his gut. Leo slowed his steps and looked up.
The end of the street was full of smoke, too much smoke. Leo ran past the next two houses, stopping at the building next to his own. By then, he could see it was his house on fire. There was a car parked outside, with two men beside it. The brawniest one wore his suit like a soldier wore a uniform. Even with his back turned, Leo saw the revolver. The man held the gun like Ma held a wooden spoon. He’d never get past that guy.
“I had to set it on fire, Jimmy.” The big man wiped his gun with a handkerchief. “We can’t let the Boss think we did a half-assed job.”
“Jeez, Niccolo.” Jimmy fidgeted with the cap on a hip flask. “You couldn’t even do it, what else were we supposed to do? You think I don’t know how serious this is?”
“Yeah, that’s what I think. You’re making less on milk runs with that Jones Act malarkey. The Boss still thinks your mother is a mark against you. That kid missing is gonna be another one. You don’t want three strikes.”
Niccolo turned to peer at his reflection in the car window, then put the gun in a holster under his arm. Leo had a better view of Jimmy now; he had bronze skin and stood more like a man in an Arrow shirt advert than a Mafioso. He thought about trying to get by them to the house, but Jimmy would see him.
“Bianco’s going to have us all out hunting that kid down, even that irregular, Fallon.” Jimmy jerked his chin in the direction of the park. “Someone’ll take him for a ride.”
“Yeah.” Niccolo wiped the latch on the front gate with the hankie. “But look. I gotta scram. I wasn’t here. They’re iced except for what we already talked about. The fire’s cover for that. That kid Leo’s only part Irish. He stands out, red all over instead of just in the face if you know what I mean. Spitting image of his grandpa. Anyone sees him, the Boss’ll find out he wasn’t here. Best if you tell him yourself.”
Leo’s hand curled around his rejection slip, crumpling paper with a crackling sound. Niccolo turned in his direction, but only to step around the front of the car and walk across the street. Jimmy was looking right at him.
Read more on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, or paperback.
Sometimes, I review the books I read. Here's one I read over the summer.
It's December and I read this book back in July. Well, book is sort of a misnomer here. It's actually a script for a stage production. The Cursed Child has gotten very mixed reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, in part because most frequent readers of prose have limited experience reading scripts.
I actually really liked this story. It made more sense to me than it might have if I wasn't a recovering performance artist. When I read stage plays, the scene direction and repetitions make sense in the context of my imagination as I visualize a live performance.
The one major flaw with this work is its title. While Harry Potter is a major character here, to my mind he's not the focus character. Harry himself has almost no direct impact on the events of this story. Instead, it's his youngest son, Albus Severus's, adventure.
That said, I love Albus and his best friend Scorpius as characters. They're believably written kids and their friendship feels real. Am I a bit disappointed in where the original book's characters ended up? In some ways yes. However, this makes them all the more human in my mind.
I'd love to see this live in the theater someday. More likely, I'll have to settle for a recording.
What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Did you read it? Have you seen it performed or read aloud? What do you think about the title?
Time for an excerpt from Body Count, book two of Supernatural Vigilante Society.
“Get him!” I raise my voice for the first time tonight because there’s no way any of us will catch the bastard if I don’t. Unfortunately, that means the prey Scott, Esther and I are stalking gets spooked.
“Aoooo!” Scott can’t use his words right now because he’s a six foot tall furry monster with giant clawed paws. He swings and misses. Yeah, my big scary pal is a teenage werewolf.
“Waffletwat!” Esther’s right leg goes out from under her in a shower of green sparks. She’s a magician with no four-letter word filter. And apparently a klutz.
“Fine.” I burn blood to turn on some speed.
Right now you’re wondering “burn blood? Is he a pyromaniac? What the hell does he mean by that? Who is this guy, anyway?”
I’m Valentino Cripso, PI. And also just happen to be the newest vampire in Rhode Island. So yeah, I’m using blood to boost my speed because that’s one of the things we can do with it. And it’s one of two vampiric abilities I actually have the hang of. So, I’m using my powers to finish my case. You got a problem with that? That’s what I thought. Keep reading.
Dashing past Esther and Scott is the easiest part. Pouncing on the bastard isn’t hard either. But getting a grip, man, that is damn near impossible. Because he’s one slippery customer.
But that shouldn’t have surprised me. I knew what we were getting into when we took the job. I’m speedy enough to get around and corner him so that’s what I do. He looks up at me, blinks, and starts climbing up the smooth sealed cement wall. I see my chance and take it.
Thanks for reading! If this book sounds like fun, you can find Body Count on Amazon in both ebook and paperback, on Barnes and Noble in paperback, or you can request it at your local bookshop or library. Here's a universal link: https://books2read.com/BodyCount
Give to charity. Get gifts. Everybody wins (except two lousy diseases).
Today I want to tell you about a couple of things. They're a bit personal. I'm talking about cancer and Alzheimer's and how they affected my life.
Back when I was a wee little reader, most of my time was spent with my grandmother. This woman had a huge impact on me because if it wasn't for her I'd have been raised by wolves.
Grandma Estelle was a mercurial woman with warm hazel eyes and a sense of humor as sudden and endearing as the dawn. She'd burst into song at the drop of a hat, but often rewrote the lyrics into something more fun than the original and always with a story. She bought me my first Weird Al album.
No matter how awkward, weird, or clumsy I was (and sometimes it seemed I was practically extraterrestrial), Grandma Estelle loved me anyway. At one point, she was the only person who said that out loud for an entire year. I learned familial affection from her example when everybody else just assumed I knew it already. I didn't. She saved my life this way, and in too many more for me to count.
Over the years, Grandma Estelle lost pieces of herself. "That one just fell off and I forgot to pick it up," she'd say, when asked to tell a story from a few years back. Well no. She didn't really lose them. The snippets and shards vanishing from my beloved grandmother's psyche were stolen. By Alzheimer's. I swear, that disease squatted in shadowy corners, snatching up scraps every time her back was turned.
But Grandma Estelle's heart was too big for that blasted disease to grasp. She remained touchingly devoted to Grandpa Ray who crossed the Atlantic to meet her, until he passed away. She continued losing her memory but not her heart. My grandmother cared too much so she carried on for ten more years, a star lighting the sunset days of all her neighbors at her assisted living apartment complex.
Until the other thief struck her in the gut. I got a call from my sister and her husband. Grandma Estelle had colon cancer. If I could have sprouted wings and fly to her side, I would have. But a ticket on Southwest had to suffice because she was right all along. I'm just plain human.
She passed just days after my visit. At her funeral, the Rabbi told us to remember Grandma Estelle by remembering her light and letting ours shine. Shortly after that was when I started writing again.
I contributed to the above anthologies in her memory, with dedications in her name. Each is like a sampling of work from other authors like me, who have lost loved ones to either or both of these diseases.
They're called Stardust, Always and The Longest Night Watch. Proceeds from both the ebook and paperback versions go to Saint Jude's Research and The Alzheimer's Association, respectively. They make great gifts and do some good.
Thank you for reading. Let your own light shine, too.
I'm unleashing the Dragon because it's drafty in here.
This post is a bit more for writers than readers. It's about working with Dragon dictation software by Nuance. I haven't been at it for too long but here's my take.
First of all, it's not natural at first. I know the name says "naturally speaking: but remembering to give commands like open quotes, period, and new paragraph along with the story takes practice.
I've talked to more than a few authors who gave up on it after a trial period. It's not the easiest software to work with. The settings aren't intuitive. But I had a little help from a friend. Or rather, a friend's book.
Mary Crawford is a Contemporary Romance author I've known online for a few years now. She's been using Dragon for decades so she's an expert. And she wrote this book to help other authors learn how to use it.
I think I just might meet my writing goals for 2019 because of Mary and her Dragon advice.
It's your friendly neighborhood Paranormal Author reminding you that funny isn't just for looking. It's for listening, too.
I've got audiobooks out right now on Audible. They're the first four in the Providence Paranormal College series, narrated by P.J. Morgan, whose comedic timing is impeccable.
Some girls wander by mistake. Sometimes it happens when they're responsible grown women driving sensible hybrid vehicles, too.
I had an interesting weekend. Saturday at the Rhode Island Author Expo was a good time. Toward the end, I got hit with a pretty heinous vertigo attack and had to get a ride home. After a Sunday spent resting, I finally got the big blue Prius out of the parking lot.
Many thanks to author Angelina Singer and her family, who checked to see if I was okay, the staff at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet for assuring me that they wouldn't tow my car, and of course, Jim. He's not just an amazing cover designer, he's the greatest and best husband in the world.
Click the links above or the images below to see Angelina's books and Jim's artwork.
It's time for an excerpt today. If you like what you read, click the picture to find the book.
I barely know anything about vampires, even after I got turned into one. Yeah, I know. That makes me sound like a walking stereotype. At least it didn't happen in High School or before I quit my job at Cranston PD to hang out my own shingle as a PI. But now everything's different in new and special ways. In other words, it sucks.
Pizza and beer are right out of my diet plan. So are long walks on the beach at sunrise. I can't tell anyone I'm a vamp, so it gives me no extra cool factor with friends or game in the dating department, either. Which is bad enough anyway for a twenty-seven-year-old dude like me.
Sunday dinner with the folks isn’t the same as it used to be, either. And that’s where I am, in my parent's downstairs bathroom glaring at an empty mirror while I try to figure out a fourth excuse about why I'm not at Mass every Sunday morning. Forgive me, Father for I have been vamped. It's been a whole month since my last confession because I can't set foot inside Church. I used to be an altar boy, too.
“Tino?” Dad’s knocking at the door. I've got to answer him. He’s my father and we’re Italian Catholics. Honoring our parents is just what we do. It's the same way for my best friend, Maury even though he's Jewish.
“Yeah, okay.” I run the water and rinse my hands so Dad doesn't get grossed out. It's not like I need to because I don't actually use the john anymore. All the blood we drink goes to fuel spiffy vampiric powers I haven't learned yet.
It's been two years since I released A Change In Crime, so it's about time the cover and description got updated. To celebrate, the ebook is also on sale. Scroll down to see the new shinies!
Change comes with the strike of a match.
Leo Riley loses his whole family when mobsters burn his home to the ground. His only ally now is Oguina, a vengeful woman-turned-monster. If Leo walks her path, at least they're not alone.
As Leo plots his demise, Giacomo Bianco gazes into an abyss that stares back. His fall to madness is a one-way trip Leo aims to stop at all costs before Bianco orders another hit.
Monster and Mafioso fight for dominance over Fall River's streets. But powers change everything. Can Leo roll with the punches or will it all go up in flames?
Read this 2017 Dragon Award shortlisted book today!
I'm so excited! Book three in the Supernatural Vigilante Society is uploading today. When it's available on Amazon, I'll post on Facebook and to my mailing list. It's called Counting Costs. Have a look at the cover and description below.
There’s no fortune in favors owed.
After saving a king but losing a kingdom, Tino’s up to his fangs in debt. But he doesn’t owe money. A vampire’s word is his bond. When a rival, a witch, and a hunter all call in their markers at the same time, Tino’s suddenly got a metric ton promises to keep.
To keep his vows, Providence’s newest vampire must find missing memories, adopt an orphan, and cure a comatose fiance. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. The Mafia’s standing in his way at every turn. And the holes in his own recall are a total roadblock.
Meeting obligations is impossible if they’re forgotten. Can Tino pay his debts without cashing in his unlife?
I'm starting some fun posts to run at the end of the week. Here's the first, with a holiday theme.
Ah, Black Friday, the Capitalist's tantamount holiday. Some of its trappings lead to unexpected inspiration, like this:
Excuse me, sir?"
"Yes, what is it?"
"It's just that, uh, you've got, um something."
"Right there. And there. And--"
"Oh bother. Faeries in my beard? Again?"
"Yes, sir. I didn't want to say anything but, well, they're er--"
"The buggers are lighting up, aren't they?"
This is a writing prompt a friend posted from The Ugly Side of Tumblr on Facebook. I ran with it below the image.
Of course I bring the girl home. I’ve only got one last soft spot in my heart. This job already takes so much from me and I’m determined not to let it have my soul. And it goes well at first. The girl is smart, recognizes danger when she sees it and has good reflexes. And that’s no surprise. She survived long enough to try and hire me after all. But in a few weeks, I discover the unforeseen consequence of my kindness.
Because this girl I’ve adopted is far from the only abused kid trying to escape. And these small survivors are observant. They’re also desperate and bold enough to approach someone like me. Each of them look up, gaze into my soul with their wide, haunted eyes. And from a practical standpoint, I ought to refuse. But how can I?
I don’t. I can’t. I slay their demons, literally, and take them in. Every one.
Within a month, I’ve got three children to train. Within six, a dozen. And they don’t stop coming to me and asking the essential question. Unluckily, the world is a cruel place so I still have plenty of paying adult clients. The fees I charge them feed mouths and clothe bodies.
I can’t go on like this, though. Not in the small flat I’ve rented in the city. So I set up a shell corporation and buy a rambling old house in the middle of nowhere. The children live and train in that yard and sleep under that roof. They work a small garden and feed the cats in the barn.
I leave the first girl, the oldest, in charge when I’m out on a job. Her name is Erin, but she hates it. She follows instructions like lesson plans and recipes she finds on the internet. Erin makes a chore chart and includes my name on it along with the others. I come to understand that I love teaching. The kids all call me Uncle Hart. And every time I return with another orphaned kid, the place feels like home.
One night I’m stalking a drug kingpin. The bastard’s holed up, hiding behind his lieutenants. But I’ve had jobs like this before. More of them than I can count because the children need me. So of course, I dispatch the kingpin’s help easily.
The kingpin’s laughing as I enter the closet-sized space. And I pause. This isn’t typical. The kingpin’s unarmed but that laugh is nastier than the actions of the abusive parents I rescue my children from. The kingpin lifts his foot, revealing an object. Small. Metallic. Deadly.
The explosion knocks me out of the room, into a world of immeasurable pain. I see his dead eyes in his grinning face. Fear grips my heart. My children are losing me. And I lose consciousness.
Vague echoes plague my psyche. Bustling doctors, beeping machines, antiseptic. When I regain all my senses, I’m surrounded by my children. They bring me the rest of the way back from life’s edge. But I’ve lost an arm and half a leg. I can’t continue the jobs that support us. I’m certain we’ll starve. The oldest child, the first one I rescued, changes her name. Eris goes out in my place.
And every week, she brings a new child back with her to join the family.
There's no creative talent who fits the above better than Stan Lee. So many of my friends and peers keep saying he saved their lives. My own experience was different.
I'm getting personal in this post to talk about the effect his work had on me. It's not what I expected when I started writing about it.
Stan Lee's work didn't save my life. I grew up in a community where "girls can't read comics" so his stories didn't reach me until I was an adult and had fled that swamp. I was taught to use everything and everyone to my own advantage, look for the next best person or thing and grab it, no matter who might get hurt. And I was starting to get worse.
I'd just gotten power over the direction of my own life. Where I'm from, you either stand up by stepping on people or take whatever you can grab and then run. I knew nothing at all of responsibility. And then I picked up a Marvel comic.
Stan Lee didn't save my life. He saved the people who walked into it. His work showed me another way to be. That there's always a choice, that people who grew up surrounded by cruelty, pain, and loss can choose to do good instead of harm.
Cycles can be broken. Anyone can be a hero. Kindness is a form of strength. We're stronger together. Keep going, even if the way seems impossible.
Those ideas come naturally to so many people. I wasn't one of them until I got help. That wouldn't have happened without Stan Lee's worlds and characters opening my mind to empathy. Even a kid raised to be cruel and indifferent can choose a different path later in life.
What impact did Marvel Comics have for you?
So I haven't been getting out as much as I'd like. It makes me a little batty. If only that looked as cute as the picture above. But it doesn't so I've got to do something. And that thing is for me to blog more, Blogdor.
Expect to see more posts here, probably every two weeks but possibly weekly instead. I'm aiming for Monday to get something up. You could see all sorts of posts, like pictures at past events, book recommendations, or bits of lore I've researched for works in progress.
I'll also be updating the site with more information on the worlds in my books. Like any good ex-DJ and recovering performance artist, I take requests. Just email me at email@example.com with ideas of what you'd like to see here. I'm happy to talk about, where ideas come from (not the stork), what a typical writing day is like, et cetera.
This is going to be a busy summer. Will I find time to breathe? Who knows? I'm working hard on Clerical Error. I hope to get it out by the end of this month. Kallisti: A Collection of Poetry will release next week. July 13th is the date I hope to have Body Count out in the world.
I'm not sure what comes later in July or in August but I will need to be ready to travel to Dragon Con on the 30th. Maybe I'll take a break and not publish anything that month. If Counting Stars is done, that will complete Valentino's 3-book arc in Supernatural Vigilante Society, so we'll see.
The book after Clerical Error focuses on a different character but likely won't be ready until September or maybe October. That's okay because I have a second book of poems slated for one of those months. And sometime in the fall, the third La Famiglia book will drop.
At least I can say I'll meet my goal of publishing nine works in 2018. Whew!
Anyway, thanks for being here. What are you up to? Tell me in the comments.
D.R. Perry's books on Goodreads
Bearly Awake (Providence Paranormal College, #1)
ratings: 117 (avg rating 4.16)
Fangs for the Memories (Providence Paranormal College, #2)
ratings: 41 (avg rating 4.20)
Of Wolf and Peace (Providence Paranormal College, #3)
ratings: 28 (avg rating 4.18)
Dragon My Heart Around (Providence Paranormal College, #4)
ratings: 25 (avg rating 4.16)
A Change In Crime: A Supernatural Depression-Era Thriller (La Famiglia di Mostri, #1)
ratings: 15 (avg rating 4.27)