Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Company of the Damned - Cover Teaser

Isn't she lovely!?

“I doubt any of the elves are going to be willing to give up limb or life.” Del kept her voice flat, and let the others wonder if she was being sarcastic or not.

“No, no they’re not.” Freyja tapped her finger against her chin. “Well, perhaps. Perhaps if it meant a permanent peace with the Throne. Perhaps if it was placed to them as a choice to save all of us. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. But unless I was certain of it, I wouldn’t put it to any of them based on perhaps. Even then, I won’t ask it of them.”

“I suspect a want ad is right out?” Del said and smirked.

“That only leaves us mortals.” Jane shrugged inside her black leather jacket. “I have a feeling that Del, at least, isn’t going down that path.”

“I’m only half-mortal.” Del gave Jane a quick wink. “Even if I were to consider it, Ahadiel would be . . . let’s see, what’s more angry than furious?”

“Maddened?” Jane held up her hand and touched each finger in turn. “Infuriated? A raging, boiling train of wrath and destruction on corybantic tracks steaming toward explosive black vengeance?”

“Corybantic?” Del asked.

“It means unrestrained frenzy.” Jane’s smile was all warmth.

Del snapped her fingers and pointed at Jane.

“Yeah, that.” She pointed at Jane a second time for emphasis.

“Even for a little blood? Angels deal in death as much as life.” Freyja made her voice light, and teasing, as if she weren’t serious, but there was a current of desperation underneath her tone that said she was.

Del looked back at her.

“It’s sorta in his job description. It’s pretty much the first line. Mortals can kill themselves and each other all they want, but letting any demons, or half-mortals use their lives for illicit rites of power is right out. Only the Throne gets that option.”

Read TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER and Catch Up on all of Del’s Adventures!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Newsletters and New Covers

Why yes, I have a newsletter. You can have one too!

Johnathon, my super-awesome urban fantasy publisher, let me know today that if all goes well, the new cover art should be available Friday or Saturday. These things aren't a precise science, even after you push the "Go" button, but unless life gets in the way, the new covers will be available next week:

I don't have a definite date on COMPANY OF THE DAMNED, but soon. So, we'll tease the new cover TOMORROW!

Also, you probably didn’t know that I have a newsletter, but I do.

It’s very cool.

All the coolest people are talking about it and they’re saying the coolest things.

I paid good money for a reputable newsletter emailing service, so that you can get updates on the latest and greatest projects, insights into the workings behind the scenes, and announcements on events like book signings and conference attendance. There are also advance sneak peaks and opportunities for new and exciting stuff that won’t go out to the general public for days or weeks.

I don’t spam.

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Lovely Tea Party

Nope. Not creepy at all.

We had a pretty good weekend, in that I didn’t have to do a lot, and that’s what made it good.

Middle son up and decided he wanted to play baseball. I have no idea where this came from, but there we were, Saturday morning, waiting for his exhibition game to start. I found a spot under a tree right near third base, and we were in the shade the entire fifteen hours of the game.

After that, we hosted a dinner with a couple of my former speech/debate competitors who are about to graduate from college. It seems like just three years ago we were having the end of season banquet. We played Dominion and Betrayal at House on the Hill.

I dominated Dominion, although I suspect I cheated. Inadvertently! Inadvertently! They really should mark the cards abilities more clearly for the 40-something-nearly-senile set.

For Betrayal . . . I was the betrayer, and I was very, very bad at it. Crimson Jack was deeply disappointed with my failure. I again tried to “cheat” by going through a doorway that was actually a wall. That damned Mystic Elevator can be very confusing. 

Oddly, none of the heroes wanted to give my character a ride home.

But it was fine.  It was all fine.

Sunday, we played 5-Minute Dungeon with the boys.  That’s a stellar game. It’s a bit too fast-paced for me as well as my 7-year-old, but we both did our best and nearly beat “A Freakin’ Dragon”.

In case you can't tell, we really love cooperative games at my house. They're way more fun and everyone wins together or fails together.

More news on COMPANY OF THE DAMNED to follow sometime this week. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Company of the Damned - Coming Soon!

It's gonna be one of those days!


I submitted COMPANY OF THE DAMNED to my publisher yesterday. While we don’t have a release date yet “sooner than later” is not a bad estimate.

Way back in 1992, I was asked at a high school graduation party what I’d be doing in ten years.  “Signing copies of the third book in my trilogy,” was my response.

On the cosmic scale, 17 years is only a rounding error, which makes me technically right.  That’s my favorite kind of right.

As soon as I have a date for release, I’ll start teasing the cover reveal for COMPANY OF THE DAMNED.

In the meantime, how about a little bit of story to whet your appetite:

As silent as the rest of the plane, a large square hatch, like the giant cargo bay door of a C-17 Globemaster, dropped down from the body toward the ground. A yellow glow leaked from around the door, as if brilliant search lights shone behind it. As the door lowered to the ground, the golden glow diminished until it became a warm, soft light. Waiting in the cargo area, in two lines of three, were six giant, square cut statues. At ten feet at least, they looked like smaller versions of the moai—the blocky statues from Easter Island—but complete with distinct arms, legs and torsos. The cargo bay door touched the wet tarmac and as one, the six statues moved down the ramp.
“Rutting hell,” Del swore. “They’ve brought golems.”
“Like ‘my precious, my precious’ Gollums?” Jane asked.
“No, go-lem,” Del emphasized the sounds, “like a big chunk of granite brought to life to smash people into bloody smears.”
Have you heard the story about a boy named David.
“Bloody hell,” Freyja echoed.
“Ah, rock elemental,” Jane said. “Got it.”
“Close enough.” Del nodded.
She hadn’t seen a golem since Prague, and that had been only the one. The memory of the animated stone giant standing its ground in defense of its master and people had been awe-inspiring. Bullets and swords had whizzed and clanged off its body without giving it a moment of pause. That golem—that one golem—had broken every charge against it by simply standing in the way. When its handler had ordered it, willed it, to do damage, it had done so with impressive results. When its master had been killed, the golem went from awe-inspiring to a run-for-your-lives-we’re-all-going-to-die rampaging monster.
Del had been tasked with stopping its final rampage.
The job hadn’t been easy.

Catch up with Del in TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER today!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hell Becomes Her Re-Cover

We’re doing this a day early. We finished the re-cover for HELL BECOMES HER a few hours ago, and I just couldn’t wait to share it with everyone.

Here’s a brief teaser for the book, and then the new cover:

Del turned around and a cowboy, complete with boots and hat, carrying two longneck bottles of beer, stopped short in front of her and cut off her retreat. His blue eyes sparkled as he grinned a set of perfect teeth at her. He used one of the bottles to push the brim of his hat up a little higher, as if he’d made an important discovery and had to see it better.
“Well hello, little thing,” the cowboy said, “I’ve been looking for a pretty face to share one of these with.”
“Tried your horse?” Del asked. She didn’t wait for his response. She ducked around him and started to move to Marrin.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Miss Witty,” the cowboy said. One of the beer bottles fell to the floor next to Del’s foot, and he placed a heavy hand on Del’s shoulder. His grip was entirely too strong for a mortal.
“Marrin!” Del shouted. Marrin started to move toward her. “Time to go!”
Marrin nodded, reached inside his jacket, and produced a Mateba. Del grabbed the cowboy’s hand with both of hers, forced it from her shoulder, and spun at the same time. The other bottle of beer fell to the carpeted floor as Del forced the cowboy’s arm into a hammerlock behind his back. She shoved him into one of the electronic poker machines. With the cowboy dealt with, the second man headed directly toward her.
“Damn,” Del swore.
The cowboy moved in her grip. He pressed his free hand against the bank of computer poker games and shoved back against Del. He almost broke her hold. That would have meant nothing for a mortal woman, but for Del, a Nephilim with divine blood flowing through her, it should have been impossible. She took a slightly wider stance, grabbed the cowboy by the back of his head and slammed him face-first into the electronic game. The glass tube cracked and went dark. The cowboy dropped to the floor. There was a scream close by. Del turned toward what she thought was the exit and saw Marrin level his very big handgun in her direction.
“Hold it right there,” a voice said behind her.
“Put your gun away,” Marrin yelled as he advanced, his Mateba leading the way. “Put it away!”
Del turned to see the man, a triplet to the two front door bouncers, holding a handgun as if he knew how to use it. This was going to escalate quickly. She started to reach for her own weapon.

Say what again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Update on Hell Becomes Her Re-Cover

Who says artists and writers can't be friends!?

Today, we’re working on the cover for HELL BECOMES HER and I just love the process with my artist. Most of my responses to her are in all caps and end in exclamation points of extreme happiness.

Julie: Do you like this?
Me: YES!
Julie: What about this slight change?
Julie: Hmm . . .
Me: YES! YES! YES!!!!111111

Read out loud, it probably sounds like the diner scene from When Harry Met Sally.

I’m ok with this.

An interesting side note about cover art, Amazon has a few restrictions, a few quid pro quos. They’re pretty basic, but I often forget about them. I’m generally looking for semi-realism from the way a character is standing, the clothes he or she is wearing, how they’re managing the weapon, etc.

Restrictions: Guns on cannot be pointed at a character, directed out toward the customer, or handled by a minor

Of course, the model I selected, and purchased, the one pointing her gun right at the viewer!

Fortunately, my artist is awesome, and while it’s some additional effort, it’s not so much that it can’t be managed.

So, we’re still on for re-releasing the recover for HELL BECOMES HER this week, hopefully Friday!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tears of Heaven - Newest Cover Reveal

Today, I’m editing COMPANY OF THE DAMNED which is a lot of fun. It’s like seeing a classic car going through the final process of an excellent paint job.

As promised, here is the new cover for TEARS OF HEAVEN. The cover IS NOT up for sale yet, but IT WILL go live in a few days. You're getting a preview, and I can't wait to have this one sitting on my shelf.

Next up will be the new cover for HELL BECOMES HER, which I’ll rush out to you ASAP. Then, as mentioned, I’ll start teasing the cover for the “final” book in the Del series.

Let me know what you think about the new cover in the comments below!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Recover Reveal - Teaser 1

Alright, so tomorrow, we’re going to do a cover reveal.

Really, it’s a recover reveal.  New cover art for TEARS OF HEAVEN.

This will align better with the look and feel of the third book, COMPANY OF THE DAMNED, which will release in a month or two. We’ll do a proper cover reveal with teases and prizes and whatnots to really sell that one.

Here’s your one-day tease for the new cover art:

Monday, July 15, 2019

Still No Day Spa at Camp

There are still no pictures of me.

On the homestretch of last week's camping trip, the Scoutmaster turned to me and noted, “I gotta say, Rob, I’m really impressed with your camping ability.”

I don’t camp.  I made this clear to him when he asked me to come on the trip six months ago.

I know how to camp, but I don’t.

One of my first camping experiences was “gold mining” with my father in the Toiyobe National Forest. Gold mining, in the McCandless dictionary, roughly translates as “fixing equipment that may or may not be used in the process of actual mining.” We didn’t use a tent. Instead, we had a sheet of Visqueen that we laid over a rope tied between two trees. It was open on either end, and I remember no end of bugs that came into the shelter. The first night, we slept in a down pour, in the dark, in what was apparently a creek bed that flooded.

So . . . yeah.

Since then, I’ve camped as a scout with Troop 220. We were a non-LDS troop in Bountiful. Including summers at Camp Steiner, we had a “woodcutting” camp, where we literally cut eight-foot logs, loaded them into the back of a tractor-trailer and brought them back to be cut into firewood. We sold the firewood as a fundraiser for our “snowmobile camp”.

Snowmobile camp was in West Yellowstone Montana and we stayed in a hotel.

If there were merit badges for either of these camps, I never got mine.

I’ve also camped with some excellent friends, hiking into the High Unitas and East Fork of the Bear. I didn't hate the camping, but what I learned is that I was there for the friendship. Camping is not a thing I actually enjoy. It's course, and rough, and irritating.  I also learned that pop-up tents are best for car camping, and that a blow-up mattress is your friend. 

I will patently refuse to do any camping where these two items are impractical.

Size matters.
Thus, this past week was rendered only mostly inconvenient by the requisite camping. I forgot my iPad, where I’d downloaded several hours of movies and television to watch, but I did have my Kindle with three or four novels. I’m still not certain what to make of the lady who commented, “All this beautiful nature surrounding us, and you’re reading a digital book?”

I'm not clear why reading was ok, but doing so on a modern convenience that didn't cost any trees to sacrifice their lives was not.

Perhaps she forgot her blow up mattress.

Food was served in a mess hall type commissary, and while it was hit or miss, the saving grace was that I didn’t have to cook it AND I didn’t have to watch the boys attempt to cook it. Each morning, I went on a run, looping around the camp twice, for a nice 3.5 miler. I’d grab a shower—so-called by the camp staff—then sit in my chair, read, and chase the shade to try to stay cool. During this time, my son was off at his climbing merit badge class, which took up the whole morning. After lunch, he and I would figure out an extra merit badge to work on before his Chess class.

Yep, he has his Chess merit badge now.  That’s a thing!

I ended up with a lot of stories, most of them of the “shaking my head” variety, but that didn’t make the trip any less enjoyable. I adopted the attitude that this was not my monkeys and not my circus. So long as there weren’t bugs in my tent, and the air mattress stayed reasonably full, I was in good shape.

They're weren't.  It did. I was.

Camping trip successful.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Updates and a Brief Hiatus

Stay angry, my friends!

A quick rundown of a lot of things that are going on in the coming months.

First, I’m taking a vacation. Not a real vacation. My oldest son is going to Scout camp, and I’ve been asked to be a parent volunteer. I’ve camped before, and I’m not bad at it, but I definitely don’t like it.

My idea of roughing it is no day spa.

This means I’m out for a week. Starting Thursday, July 4th, you’ll likely still see tweets from me if you follow my twitter but they’re mostly auto-tweets I set up ahead of time for this vacation.

Yes, even the funny ones.

Next up is the release of COMPANY OF THE DAMNED. The final version is with the copy editor now, and we have a tentative completion date for this month. That means if all goes well, I can hand it to my publisher and have a tentative release date either late August or early September. That means you should probably buy TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER now so you can be all caught up!

Company of the Damned? Yes, I'm interested.
Once I have a tentative release date, all the fun stuff starts for that book. Stay tuned for the cover release—it is SPECTACULAR.

If you run out of things to read, there's always THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE.

Speaking of which, I'm working with a wonderful artist on a piece of art that we will also be turning into some sweet, sweet swag available in August. So fans of Aubrey, Kerrigan or Nessus, you'll have a chance to own a picture of them!

The Riverside library reading was a smashing success, so I’m definitely going to do more of that stuff. Right now, I’ve lined up to attend the Book Fiend Readers Fest in Connecticut. This will happen November 9th, and YEP, I'm flying out to the east coast thingy . . . provided I'm not detained by ICE agents.

As soon as Facebook sorts out all their issues, I’ll create an event with details on my author page which will give you updates and reminders and such.

So that leaves September pretty open, but I’m working with some marketing people to make things happen. Hopefully, by the time I’m back from my little vacation, I’ll have more things lined up to share with people.

I’m also taking requests for conventions, places to do readings, etc. I’m not picky and I’m not proud.

If you’re people who know people, tell me in the comments and we’ll make something happen!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Library Reading Wins and Lessons

Surrounded by books and readers!

Author readings are a fun thing. I’ve attended a few in my time, and they’re generally enjoyable. Some deviation is always bound to creep into the system, so I thought I’d share my recent experience in the hopes that if you attend one, or are invited to read at one, you can be a bit better prepared. This isn’t a comprehensive list, by all means, but these are the major learning points for me:

People Will Buy the Book(s)
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who attended whether in person or online! I really appreciated the support and the comments were fantastic. I was floored by how many books we sold. Not just THE CLOCKWORK DETECTIVE, but for those at the library we offered a deal on TEARS OF HEAVEN and HELL BECOMES HER and sold copies of those too. Definitely bring your current release, but also have other releases that you’d like to share.

Lockdown the Library Early
There are a couple of points on this one. The where and when of the thing are important, and the earlier you know, the better, so you can announce and advertise. Also, some libraries are willing to manage the sales so that the author can focus on the reading. Originally, that was the case for me, but at the last minute, the library decided they couldn’t handle it. We had to scramble to get cash and electronic payment in place.

Have Your Streaming Services Ready
It's like he hears us, but doesn't.
A lot of support came in for attending the event from folk who would gladly have been in the audience. Distance prevented that. It wasn’t until a couple of days before that I realized Facebook is set up to stream quite easily. You can stream for up to 4 hours on a single event, which should easily cover the entire reading and Q&A. You can also stream on YouTube, but I wasn’t set up for that, so we missed an opportunity to tap another potential audience.

Have an external power source for your camera, phone, pad for the streaming. They’re not expensive. We used an old Anker external battery that I picked up about six years ago.

Also, a tripod is necessary. My wife’s arm gave out about half-way through, and when she tried to switch, the stream was cut. We got it back up and running, but a steady tripod would have solved all those issues.

Be Prepared to Take Questions
While I was certainly fired up to talk to those in attendance, the thing we overlooked was allowing online viewers to ask question and make comments. If we’d thought about it at all, we could have had a computer running, where the online folk could interact directly with me. This would have been a really great thing to offer, and we’ll definitely make it available next time.

Thank you again, so much, to everyone who attended, both in-person and online. Your support was felt throughout the entire event, and we had such a great time. We’ll definitely do this again as soon as possible and keep you posted on the details!

What suggestions do you have for future readings? Tell me in the comments below!